Fallout 5 is not coming out anytime soon. Bethesda’s Todd Howard announced the game in 2021, but confirmed last year that it wasn’t coming until after Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6. While Starfield should arrive on September 6th, The Elder Scrolls 6 still didn’t have a release date and likely isn’t in full production yet. The next Fallout game might not even come out this decade.

Still, if there is one upside to the massive gap in releases, it’s that Bethesda has more time to figure out what Fallout 5 will be about. However, the quality of the base game isn’t the only thing developers need to keep in mind. Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4 offered a fantastic set of DLC expansions, and Fallout 5 will need to bring its A-game in that regard when the time comes.

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Fallout: New Vegas DLC

Fallout New Vegas Dr Klein and Joshua Graham

Fallout: New Vegas arguably has the franchise’s best DLC. The first, Honest Hearts, brought players to Utah’s Zion National Park. There, they become embroiled in a war between the local tribes and the invading White Legs. In addition to the new items and a change in scenery, Honest Hearts introduced players to Joshua Graham, the legendary Burned Man who helped Caesar build his empire. While rushed production resulted in Honest Hearts being the weakest of the four, it’s still a great piece of DLC.

The Dead Money expansion for Fallout: New Vegas saw players attempting to rob the Sierra Madre hotel and casino beneath a toxic red sky. The DLC is memorable for its moody environment, unique characters, and a fantastic plot that ties directly into Veronica’s and the Brotherhood of Steel’s stories in the base game. The next DLC, Old World Blues, drew inspiration from 1950s pulp sci-fi and horror movies and saw the Courier exploring the mad science playground of the Big MT. Both expansions also reference each other multiple times, making New Vegas’ DLC feel more interconnected.

Obsidian capped Fallout: New Vegas’ post-release content off with Lonesome Road, which sent players on a quest through the deadly sandstorms and forgotten bunkers of The Divide. While the antagonist Ulysses became an unintended meme, Lonesome Road does a great job of capping off the game’s DLC. This is partly because of how interconnected they all feel, with Ulysses and The Divide being foreshadowed at the start of Fallout New Vegas and reinforced in the other three expansions.

Fallout 4 DLC

Fallout 4 Mechanist and Nuka World raider

Fallout 4’s add-ons didn’t all live up to the standards of Fallout: New Vegas, but they still brought a lot to the table. Putting aside the Workshop DLC, the game featured three main expansions. The first and smallest of these was Automatron, which gave players an interesting new questline revolving around a robot invasion. It also added a new robot companion and let players build and modify their own robots.

Far Harbor was Fallout 4’s most popular DLC. It brought players to a foggy island off the coast of Maine. The island’s home to a community of independent fishermen called the Harbormen, the Synths refugees of Acadia, and a branch of the Children of Atom. An unsteady peace exists between the three factions, and players have many options for deciding the island’s fate. Finally, Fallout 4: Nuka World lets players lead a raider gang in the ruins of a pre-war theme park. Each region of the park was unique and offered new enemies alongside some of Fallout 4’s most memorable quests.

Ultimately, the point is that Fallout 5’s DLC will have big shoes to fill, and players will likely compare them to those from earlier games. The good news is that developers could examine the earlier games to improve Fallout 5’s DLC. This isn’t to say that Fallout 5 should have a Dead Money 2, but Bethesda can take inspiration from their structure and pay attention to what fans liked and what they didn’t.

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