How You'll Access 'Fallout 3' Broken Steel DLC

The new "Fallout 3" downloadable content was detailed in London this week, so MTV Multiplayer set up a trans-Atlantic phone call to clear up some important things.


You can read about the next "Fallout 3" downloadable expansion, "Broken Steel" in previews around Internet today, but you may have some lingering questions. I did. So I got on the phone with Bethesda's vice president of marketing, Pete Hines, for some trans-Atlantic clarifications about his company's new add-on.

Via phone from London, Hines educated me on the following topics:

You need to finish the game to access most of "Broken Steel": Unlike previous "Fallout" DLC expansions "The Pitt" and "Operation Anchorage," "Broken Steel" is meant to mostly be experienced after the moment when "Fallout 3" originally concluded. A player could access the missions from the first two DLC offerings activated as soon as their character was outside the game's opening area, the first Vault. "Broken Steel" keeps its quests from you until you've reached that original endpoint.

But you can enjoy the raised level cap well before ending the game: There is positive news for those "Fallout 3" players like me who maxed out the game's level cap at 20 long before downloading "Operation Anchorage" and "The Pitt." Players like us have waited to play any of the new DLC until we could use whatever experience points we might gain in them to grow into the new "Broken Steel" level 30 cap. Our patience will be rewarded. Even though the main events of "Broken Steel" don't kick in until you've passed that original ending moment of the game, the raising of the level cap kicks in as soon as a player starts a "Broken Steel"-supplemented "Fallout 3." No matter how far away the player might be from the game's original ending, they can start taking advantage of the boosted cap. They'll also see some other changes prior to reaching the events of "Broken Steel." Hines said that "Broken Steel"'s new enemies will begin appearing as soon as the player is at level 18, and that new perks and weapons will be available as well, before the post-ending "Broken Steel" content is accessed.

You'd best hang on to an autosave: Because "Broken Steel" re-writes the ending to "Fallout 3," players who don't want to start their "Fallout 3" game from scratch will want to access a save file near the end of the game and play from there. Hines recommended that players take advantage of a save file they may not known about, one that anyone who has finished the game should still have -- unless they are weird about how they manage save files. Anyone who has already finished "Fallout 3," Hines said, should find that their last autosave file puts them minutes before the game's original ending, deep into what was the game's final mission. Picking up from there will enable players to play the new non-ending and go beyond.

Old quests won't vanish: The "Broken Steel" DLC may bring the player's character to a timeframe two weeks past the game's original ending. And it may change the look of some of the game's key locations. But it won't, Hines told me, block any of the game's quests. None is time-sensitive. Any quests that a player could have accessed before "Broken Steel" will still be available during the events of "Broken Steel."

That's all I could think of, and Hines was calling me long distance. So I wrapped up our chat. Hope that helps.

"Broken Steel" will be available to download for PC and Xbox 360 "Fallout 3" owners on May 5 for 800 Microsoft Points.

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