With Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda this past week, one of the first orders of business was to throw a ton of great Bethesda games onto Xbox Game Pass. However, while there are now 20 Bethesda games available on Xbox Game Pass, there’s also a lot of notable omissions from the list. Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, The Evil Within 2 and Fallout 3 are ones that will be missed by fans, so where are they?
What Bethesda games are missing on Xbox Game Pass?
Looking back at all the games Bethesda have released on Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, there are 37 titles that (with no obstacles) could theoretically feature in Xbox Game Pass. As of Friday 12th March 2021, there are now 20 Bethesda games on Game Pass, thanks to twelve games joining or re-joining the subscription service. That leaves 17 games that could, in theory, come to Game Pass for Xbox.
Weeding out the particularly unlikely games, here’s the most probable games we’ll see coming to Xbox Game Pass:
- Dishonored: Death of the Outsider
- Doom (2016)
- Fallout 3
- The Evil Within 2
- Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
However, that’s not the whole story. Other games like Hunted: The Demon’s Forge (a game developed by inXile Entertainment) and cult classic WET are also missing, while there’s classics like Quake II and Quake III Arena that could also be resurrected. Quake II has been enhanced as a ray tracing showcase on PC, and it could be a great showcase for the Series X as well.
Why aren’t these games on Xbox Game Pass?
There could be any number of reasons why these games aren’t on Game Pass, even through some have been on the service in the past. There could be technical hurdles, expired licenses, and potential exclusivity contracts to a certain rival game subscription service.
Let’s look at each issue in turn:
Exclusivity to PlayStation Now
One of the possible factors in games missing from Xbox Game Pass could be existing contracts with PlayStation Now – contractual obligations are why we’ll see Bethesda’s Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo release as PS5 console exclusives in 2021.
An exclusivity clause could potentially be a reason why Rage, The Evil Within 2 and Fallout 3 are not on Xbox Game Pass during their stay on PlayStation Now – some games only playable via PS3 game streaming. However, that’s not necessarily a factor across the board as games like Dishonored 2, Prey, Fallout: New Vegas and Wolfenstein: The Old Blood are available on both services at the same time. It makes a convenient narrative and it’s a possibility that we can’t rule out, but we don’t anticipate this being a reason for all the missing games as different deals are signed at different times.
Back in the early-2000s, Bethesda published several licensed games. These included titles like Star Trek: Legacy, Pirates of the Caribbean and IHRA Professional Drag Racing: Sportsman Edition. A decade and a half later, these game licenses have almost certainly expired, meaning that Bethesda can no longer sell or distribute the games. In fairness, these aren’t exactly games that are going to be missed…
No backward compatibility support
To put it plainly, if a game is going to end up in Xbox Game Pass it’s got to actually be playable! Though older games could be added to PC Game Pass quite easily, home console support is still the main factor for Game Pass and there’s a surprising number of Bethesda Xbox and Xbox 360 games that just don’t have backward compatibility support on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.
This is the prime reason why Wet cannot currently be added, and the same is true of Quake 4 (which Bethesda has the rights to after re-releasing it in 2012), Hunted: The Demon’s Forge (developed by inXile, who are also part of Xbox Game Studios), and Brink (which is still playable with AI bots, even without online gaming). There’s also a chance that they could dig further back to Quake II’s Xbox 360 release and add support.
There’s a few games where there’s really no reason why they couldn’t be added to Game Pass right now. Dishonored: Death of the Outsider is a native Xbox One game and it’s not on a rival subscription service, Wolfenstein 3D’s Xbox 360 port is supported via backward compatibility and available to buy, and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus was previously on Xbox Game Pass until May 2020 – it was actually part of PS Now until it was removed without warning last week.
There’s actually some sense in Microsoft actually holding onto a few games and adding Bethesda’s library to the service in a couple of waves, but that’s a plan is a bit muddled by already having more recent Bethesda games like Wolfenstein: Youngblood and Doom Eternal in the Game Pass library.
All the games Bethesda released on Xbox consoles
To round things out, here’s the big breakdown of all the games Bethesda has released on Xbox consoles, whether they’re Game Pass and PS Now, and some additional notes.
|Game||Platforms||Xbox Game Pass||PS Now||Notes|
|Brink||PS3, X360, PC||No||Yes||No backward compatibility support|
|Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth||Xbox||No||No||No backward compatibility support|
|Dishonored 2||PS4, XBO, PC||Yes||Yes|
|Dishonored: Definitive Edition||PS4, XBO||Yes||Yes (PS3)||FPS Boost incoming|
|Dishonored: Death of the Outsider||PS4, XBO, PC||No||No|
|Doom (2016)||PS4, XBO, NSW, PC||No||Yes||Left XGP May 2020, joined PS Now July 2019|
|Doom II||PS4, XBO, NSW||Yes||No|
|Doom 3||PS4, XBO, NSW, PC||Yes||No|
|Doom 64||PS4, XBO, NSW, PC||Yes||No|
|Doom Eternal||PS4, XBO, NSW, PC||Yes||No|
|Fallout 3||PS3, X360, PC||No||Yes||Left XGP March 2020|
|Fallout 4||PS4, XBO, PC||Yes||Yes||FPS Boost incoming|
|Fallout 76||PS4, XBO, PC||Yes||No||FPS Boost incoming|
|Fallout: New Vegas||PS3, X360, PC||Yes||Yes|
|Hunted: The Demon’s Forge||PS3, X360, PC||No||Yes||No backward compatibility support|
|IHRA Drag Racing: Sportman Edition||X360, PS2, PC||No||No||No backward compatibility support|
|IHRA Professional Drag Racing 2005||Xbox, PS2||No||No||No backward compatibility support|
|Pirates of the Caribbean||Xbox, PC||No||No||No backward compatibility support|
|Prey||PS4, XBO, PC||Yes||Yes||FPS Boost incoming|
|Quake II||X360||No||No||No backward compatibility support|
|Quake III Arena Arcade||X360||No||No||No backward compatibility support|
|Quake 4||X360, PC||No||No||No backward compatibility support|
|Rage||PS3, X360, PC||No||Yes||Left XGP February 2020|
|Rage 2||PS4, XBO, PC||Yes||Yes|
|Star Trek: Legacy||X360, PC||No||No||No backward compatibility support|
|The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind||Xbox, PC||Yes||No|
|The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion||PS3, X360, PC||Yes||Yes||Previously left XGP March 2020|
|The Elder Scrolls Online||PS4, XBO, PC||Yes||Yes|
|The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition||PS4, XBO, PC||Yes||No||FPS Boost incoming|
|The Evil Within||PS4, XBO, PS3, X360, PC||Yes||No|
|The Evil Within 2||PS4, XBO, PC||No||Yes||Joined PS Now May 2020|
|Wet||PS3, X360||No||Yes||No backward compatibility support|
|Wolfenstein 3D||PS3, X360||No||No||Has BC support|
|Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus||PS4, XBO, NSW, PC||No||No||Left XGP May 2020, left PS Now March 2021|
|Wolfenstein: The New Order||PS4, XBO, PC||Yes||Yes|
|Wolfenstein: The Old Blood||PS4, XBO, PC||Yes||No|
|Wolfenstein: Youngblood||PS4, XBO, NSW, PC||Yes||No|