Bethesda has a very simple explanation for a retcon in Fallout 76 regarding the Brotherhood of Steel as reported by Eurogamer: satellites.
Most large IPs rarely can avoid the issue of retcons and Bethesda is certainly no stranger to them. In this particular case, the existence of a Brotherhood of Steel chapter in Fallout 76 has hit a bit of a temporal snafu - the organization shouldn't have been out and about in the wasteland for another 50 years or so.
The Brotherhood of Steel was originally founded just a few short days before the bombs fell. Roger Maxson had discovered that West Tek was testing the Forced Evolutionary Virus on military prisoners. He eventually executed many of the personnel who ran the experiments and declared that he and his men were deserting the United States military. Much to his consternation, he received no reply as the government was currently in the process of dealing with an escalating conflict with China - a problem that eventually resulted in nukes devastating the entire world. After a short stint at Mariposa Military Base, the newly-formed Brotherhood of Steel made their way to the Lost Hills military bunker and stayed there until 2150 or so. They subsequently exited the bunker and began exerting their influence in the surrounding area.
Fallout 76 is set in the year 2102. Now, I've never been the greatest math student, but I'm pretty sure that 2150 and 2102 are far apart. This timeline conflict was explained by Bethesda in a post on the official Fallout Instagram:
Apparently, the Californian Brotherhood was able to connect to a functioning satellite. They presumably used this to get in touch with other military survivors across the nation and establish their own chapters.
While this is a neat solution to the problem, it also spawns a heck of a lot more questions - why were there no chapters already established in other densely populated areas like Boston, Las Vegas, and Washington D.C.? Surely a satellite connection to military survivors would have resulted in chapters being set up in at least some of those places. Instead, the core Brotherhood group had to physically make their way across the country to many of these locations.
You might want to read about everything we know about the game so far. Numskull recently debuted a line of officially-licensed merchandise prior to the launch of the game. If you're keen on getting Fallout 76, you can grab it on Bethesda.net for the PC for $59.99 or your regional equivalent. Console players can pick up a physical copy at Amazon and other retailers or they can buy it digitally at the Microsoft Store for the Xbox One and the PlayStation Store for the PlayStation 4.
Disclosure: Amazon works with TechRaptor for affiliate partnership, and TechRaptor earns a small commission off purchases made from links in this article.
What do you think of the explanation for the Brotherhood of Steel existing in Fallout 76? What's your favorite retcon in a Bethesda game? Let us know in the comments below!