If last week's surprise Fallout 3 update broke your mods, here's a fix

Butch from the Tunnel Snakes
(Image credit: Bethesda)

Last week, Fallout 3 was finally freed from the scourge of Games for Windows Live. But as is so often the way of things, that freedom came at a price—specifically, that the Fallout Script Extender (FOSE) no longer works, and so all of the many mods that rely on it have also stopped working. Oops. That's a pretty big problem, made worse by the fact that the creators "do not have a timeframe for when FOSE can be updated to this new version" of the game.

Enter the Fallout Anniversary Patcher, by mod maker lStewieAl, which restores FOSE functionality by downgrading Fallout 3 to the pre-update version, while maintaining the removal of Games for Windows Live dependences. It also automatically loads FOSE when Fallout 3 is started (if it's installed) and enables the game to use 4GB of RAM: Some older Bethesda games, including Fallout 3, have a 2GB limit on RAM usage, and patching that up to 4GB can have a very positive impact on performance.

The patch will work with both the standard and Game of the Year editions of Fallout 3 on Steam or GOG. Once it's installed you can boot the game however you like—through Steam or GOG, the launcher, or any mod manager—but if you want FOSE to auto-load you'll need to do it with the Fallout3.exe directly, so you'll probably want to create a shortcut. The patcher doesn't include any copyrighted files so you'll need a legitimate copy of Fallout 3 to use it, and it should not be used to install Tale of Two Wastelands 3.2—use this downgrader instead.

It's a bit odd that Fallout 3 would shed GFWL at this very late juncture, although as Shaun speculated when it happened last week, Microsoft's still-relatively-new ownership of Bethesda may have had something to do with it. Whatever the reason, it's good news for fans, who are still playing Fallout 3 in surprising numbers: The average concurrent player count over the past 30 days is 347, which is awfully impressive for a 13-year-old singleplayer RPG with several sequels in the intervening decade-plus.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.