Well, I guess we’re going back to Boston again, folks. Bethesda announced this week that its post-apocalyptic open-world RPG, Fallout 4, will be refreshed on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S/X, and PC next year with a bunch of enhancements and improvements.
The news comes via the company’s blog, which has been posting about the Fallout series’ 25th anniversary all month long. Buried in the most recent post from today, Bethesda confirmed that a “free next-gen update” for Fallout 4 will drop in 2023. While there isn’t an exact date, you can expect the usual “next-gen” polish pass on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. You know, things like a performance mode for “high framerates” as well as 4K resolution support. The PC version already had both of those, while Xbox Series X players previously got a 60fps “FPS Boost” patch from Microsoft, but this update will also include some much-needed bug fixes and additional Creation Club content. In other words, players on every platform will get at least some benefit from this update when it launches.
Two additional questions come to mind on the PC front. First, will this new patch break a majority of the game’s existing mods, much like Skyrim Anniversary Edition did for Skyrim a few years ago? The Skyrim community recovered, but Fallout 4’s is much smaller, so that seems a concern. Second, will Fallout 4 VR users be left high and dry? That version of the game relies on mods to be, well, good, so hopefully it won’t get left behind here.
Kotaku has reached out to Bethesda for comment.
Of course, Fallout 4 has received enhanced versions before. If you remember during the last-generation console cycle, Bethesda released an upgraded version of the game for the Xbox One X in 2017. That Fallout 4 ran at 4K but dropped frames a little more often than its similarly patched PlayStation 4 Pro counterpart, which only ran at 1440p.
Anyway, this new update will have to tide everyone over until Fallout 5 comes out. There’s no firm date. Bethesda has only confirmed the next Fallout isn’t launching until after Elder Scrolls 6, which is currently in pre-production and doesn’t have a release date. That might be a bummer, but a bigger blow is the real possibility that Fallout 5—and future Bethesda games after Starfield—just won’t hit PlayStation 5 at all following Microsoft’s $7.5 billion acquisition of the company in September 2020.
Consider Microsoft scooping up the forever-in-the-headlines publisher Activision Blizzard for an eye-bursting $70 billion back in January. While Xbox boss Phil Spencer seemingly loves to give vague statements about the nature of game exclusivity, he did tell The Verge that Call of Duty would stay on PlayStation consoles for “several more years” after the buyout is complete. Whatever happens after that time elapses is anyone’s guess, though it seems Microsoft is trying hard to bolster its exclusive offerings.