Fallout 3 finally ditches Games For Windows Live after 13 years

Fallout 3's Steam edition no longer contains any traces of Microsoft's now-defunct online gaming service

A figure in power armour looms in the foreground in front of the ruins of Washington, DC in Fallout 3.

The Capital Wasteland is finally free of its longest-lasting scourge: in a surprise update to Fallout 3, Bethesda has removed all traces of Microsoft’s now-defunct Games For Windows Live online service. This is good news, because it should resolve most issues for players running operating systems newer than Windows 7 – which we reckon is probably most of you.

Fallout 3 is the entry that moved the RPG game series into 3D, after several isometric 2D entries (four in total, if you count Fallout Tactics and the console exclusive Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel). It also marked the beginning of Bethesda’s stewardship of the franchise, and gave players a first-person look at the ruins of Washington D.C. in its expansive Capital Wasteland.

The trouble was, it used Microsoft’s Games For Windows Live service, which was meant to allow PC players to connect to Xbox Live to earn achievements and gamerscore, which was a thing that mattered a lot in 2008. It didn’t work all that well, and Microsoft shuttered the service in 2014. But the client remained in Fallout 3, and wound up making Fallout 3 unplayable for many players who returned to the game years later, using newer versions of Windows.

The good news is that Games For Windows Live has been completely stripped out of Fallout 3. The bad news is that, if you had figured out a way to make Fallout 3 work using mods, many of those mods are likely non-functional now. This includes Fallout Script Extender for Fallout 3, which is the foundation for a huge number of Fallout 3’s other mods.

The FOSE developers say they don’t yet have a timeline for when the script extender’s updated version will be available, so we’ll have to stay tuned. In the meantime, it may be worth reinstalling Fallout 3 for a trip down memory lane and/or the bombed-out National Mall.

If you’ve had your copy of Fallout 3 installed all this time, you’ll probably want to uninstall and reinstall it – users report that simply applying the latest patch has in many cases resulted in the game not launching properly at all, but a fresh install should fix that right up.