The commercials for Fallout 4 are memorable in part for their use of “The Wanderer,” a classic pop song from the 1960s. But its singer, Dion DiMucci, wasn’t a fan of the dystopian role-playing game using his work, and now he’s asking publisher ZeniMax Media to take them down — and pay him a million dollars in damages.
In California state district court documents obtained by Polygon, DiMucci calls out ZeniMax Media, parent company of Fallout makers Bethesda Game Studios, for neglecting to abide by his terms when using the song in the ads, which he called “repugnant and morally indefensible.”
A contract agreed to by both parties stipulated that DiMucci had right of refusal on the commercials, giving him the authority to bar ZeniMax from using “The Wanderer” if he didn’t approve of their content. He was also entitled to bargaining with the company about a licensing fee. ZeniMax failed to participate in either part of these terms, according to DiMucci, resulting in his decision to file suit.
Its the content of the ads that DiMucci sounds most frustrated by. The court documents detail his extreme displeasure with how “The Wanderer” was used to underscore Fallout 4’s violent, mutant-filled landscape. This is how the complaint describes the ads:
Defendant’s Commercials were objectionable because they featured repeated homicides in a dark, dystopian landscape, where violence is glorified as sport. The killings and physical violence were not to protect innocent life, but instead were repugnant and morally indefensible images designed to appeal to young consumers.
In The Wanderer, Dion gives life to the story of a sad young man who wanders from town to town, not having found himself or the capacity for an enduring relationship. The song describes isolation during coming of age. Without Plaintiff’s consent, Defendants dubbed The Wanderer into commercials in which the protagonist, a wanderer, roams from one location to the next, armed and hunting for victims to slaughter. Defendant’s Commercials have no redeeming value, they simply entice young people to buy a videogame [sic] by glorifying homicide, making the infliction of harm appear appealing, if not also satisfying.
The document goes on to note that, had DiMucci been able to look over the commercials before they aired, he would have requested them to focus on the “post-apocalyptic struggle for survival without craven violence.” Since DiMucci wasn’t given the chance to reject the ads, according to the complaint, he’s now owed both financial damages and the opportunity to take them offline.
We’ve contacted ZeniMax Media about the pending lawsuit and will update with its response.