Which Bethesda games aren’t on Xbox Game Pass and why?

When can we expect Fallout 3 and The Evil Within 2?

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:

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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.

The Evil Within 2 is currently on PlayStation Now, but not on Xbox Game Pass.

Expired licenses

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…

Even if they still have the license, do we need IHSA Professional Drag Racing on Xbox Game Pass?

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.

We don’t expect Bethesda to suddenly greenlight Wet 2, but can we at least have backward compatibility support for Wet, please?

Just because…

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.

Wolfenstein II will surely return to Xbox Game Pass soon.

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 (1993) Everything Yes 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
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1 Comment

  1. I really appreciate the effort and thought put into this article!

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