Update - May 20: In a brief Twitter update regarding Fallout 76's newly announced seasons, Bethesda reaffirmed that seasonal content will be free to all players. It will not be sold individually as a season pass, nor will it require a subscription to Fallout 1st, the game's premium track designed around private servers.
"We may add extra Fallout 1st bonus rewards in the future, but want to focus on getting Season 1 in game first and seeing your thoughts," the studio says. "Sorry for confusion on this."
To Bethesda's credit, the initial announcement for seasons never implied any sort of added cost. I'm assuming that the confusion surrounding them stems from general apprehension regarding season passes, which have become explosively popular in recent years, in no small part because they're often quite successful. Coupled with the monetization concerns that Fallout 76 has faced over the years, it seems some players just assumed the worst when seasons were announced. But again, Fallout 76 seasons will come at no additional cost to anyone.
Fallout 76 is getting seasons full of new rewards to earn, a revised combat system to make it easier to play with friends, and a new Brotherhood of Steel questline.
Bethesda revealed its plans for the rest of the year with a new and improved Fallout 76 roadmap. At this point, the studio is only sharing details on how seasons will work, but that's plenty to chew on by itself.
Starting with Update 20, which is planned to arrive this summer, Fallout 76 will have four ten-week seasons per year with brief breaks between each. During the season you'll be able to make your way through 100 ranks by accruing S.C.O.R.E. Each rank comes with its own rewards, ranging from caps to consumables to special cosmetic and C.A.M.P. items.
The most reliable way to get S.C.O.R.E. is the revised challenge system. Unlike the current version that requires you to go out of your way to complete special tasks, the new daily and weekly challenges will reward you for the kind of stuff you'd normally do while playing the game: leveling up, completing a public event, killing a legendary creature, and so on.
Bethesda says each seasonal rank should take between 1 and 2 hours to earn, with less time required at the start and more toward the end. You'll also be able to buy your way up at the cost of 150 Atoms per rank, though this option will only be unlocked two weeks into each season.
We don't know any more specifics about when Fallout 76 Update 20 and the first season will arrive in summer, but you can check out the roadmap post on the game's official site for teasers about what else is on the way.
You can check out the game and get extra rewards with the Fallout 76 free weekend starting today.