Through some miraculous accident, that we may never fully understand, Bethesda put the latest expansion for Fallout 76, Steel Dawn, live one week early. The update released on Xbox last week, even though it’s meant to be releasing tomorrow. Bethesda commented on the situation and decided that since the update was good to go, they just pushed it live for all platforms. It’s a wonderful mistake and a very advantageous situation for everyone involved, but why did this happen? There are a few theories I have, and I’m going to take you through them now.
Original Release Date
This is what I suspect is the most accurate reason that Steel Dawn went live early. Bethesda, live any developer for a game-as-a-service, has been working on this update for a while now. They’ve known for ages when they wanted it to come out. I think that the original release date was the end of November, not the start of December. There must have been something that they needed some extra time to finish off, but since they told no one, nobody noticed. However, now that the update has launched early, it appears as though someone forgot to change the date in the back end of the Xbox store. I couldn’t say if this was on Bethesda’s end or Microsoft’s, but one of them certainly messed up.
Fallout 76 hasn’t exactly had a smooth run since it launched. Many players have complained about various things in the game, including progression, glitches, and a bunch of PvP issues. However, it has started to claw back the fan base with these more recent updates. The seasonal model also hasn’t harmed the game. I think that there’s a slight possibility that someone at Bethesda thought it would be a good idea to put a fake release date out there. I don’t think this is highly likely, but it would certainly make them look very good if they launched an update one week early unannounced, which they effectively have.
Those are the two core theories I have around the Steel Dawn release. It could be that a bug in the Microsoft store is even responsible, but I suspect that we’ll never know. Maybe someone at Bethesda just pushed the wrong button.