Pre-order bonus is the base game
Yesterday, Fallout 4 went up for pre-order on Xbox.com. Generally, this just means people can plop down money for a game that will release later. But, this circumstance is somewhat unique because Bethesda’s offering a digital copy of Fallout 3 with Fallout 4 pre-orders.
According to Xbox, a code for Fallout 3 will be delivered seven to ten days after the pre-order is made. For now, Fallout 3 can only be played on Xbox 360, but “[it] will be included in backwards compatibility access when made available.”
It’s definitely planned, but no one’s quite sure when it’s happening. Even Bethesda doesn’t know. When asked for a window that we could expect, a Bethesda representative told us “In terms of timing, we don’t know what the time frame is as to when backwards compatibility will happen.” They went on to suggest that maybe Microsoft could elaborate when Fallout 3 would be included in the program.
The Bethesda rep did clear up one tidbit about the pre-order bonus, though. The version people will get is the base game, not the Game of the Year edition. They commented “It is the intention that the DLC will also be made backwards compatible, but it is not part of the pre-order program.”
As of now, Microsoft’s plans for backwards compatibility are somewhat nebulous. Currently, Xbox Preview members can access a limited number of games, and it seems as if that library will be expanded over time. Microsoft’s said that sometime this fall it’ll be made available to everyone with over 100 titles at roll-out and “hundreds more added every month.”
Fallout 3 is the first example of this type of situation which explains the confusion around it. Once the program’s running, things should go much smoother in the future. At E3 last month, Xbox told us that it expects publishers will jump on these kind of pre-order offers as a way to grow their IPs.
But, that isn’t much consolation to people who just want to play Fallout 3 on their current console. Given Microsoft’s uncertain window, there’s an off-chance backwards compatibility won’t come about by the time of Fallout 4‘s launch. You just might be stuck experiencing the Capital Wasteland on the last-gen system it was originally made for.