Bethesda has confirmed that Fallout 5 is on its mind but we shouldn't expect to see it for a long time yet.
Fallout 4 was released all the way back in 2015 and the most recent entry in the series was 2018’s online-focused and underwhelming Fallout 76, so it makes sense that another single-player Fallout adventure is on the horizon.
At the moment Bethesda is very much focused on Starfield, Elder Scrolls 6 and that very mysterious new Indiana Jones game. As a result, the only thing we know about Fallout 5 is that there's a one-page design document acting as a very early blueprint. What we're saying is, we wouldn’t expect to see it for quite a few years yet.
So, while we haven’t got any concrete information quite yet, we’ve gathered all the rumors and leaks surrounding Fallout 5 below – as well as what we would like to see from the next Wasteland chapter.
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Cut to the chase
- What is it? The unconfirmed next installment of the highly popular Fallout franchise.
- When can I play it? TBC
- Which console will it be on? TBC. Likely Xbox Series X and PC first, with the potential of coming to PS5.
Fallout 5 release date: when we expect it to land
While there's currently no confirmed release date for Fallout 5, there's plenty of speculation out there at the moment. We've seen some optimistic predictions setting a release date for 2022 but given Bethesda's focus is resolutely on Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 at the moment, we'd say that's pretty much impossible.
As it stands, we're expecting Fallout 5's release date to be many years down the road, really stretching the previous seven-year gap between Fallout 3 (2008) and Fallout 4 (2015). At the moment, 2024 or later feels more realistic.
Really, it depends on how far along the Bethesda teams are with each game, but given that, in a November 2021 interview with IGN, Todd Howard said the studio have a "one-pager on Fallout 5"—a broad overview of what they want it to be—we think it'll be a while before we hear anything more.
Obviously, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is going to complicate matters in development, which could feasibly lead to multiple delays, even following an announcement of the game.
Fallout 5 platforms: will it be an Xbox exclusive?
It's likely we'll see the next Fallout release for the Xbox Series X/S and PC but PS5 is another matter.
It stands to reason that Microsoft and Bethesda would make this an exclusive title because of the former's purchase of the latter earlier this year, but Xbox has said exclusivity deals on new games from Bethesda will be decided on a case by case basis so it's hard to be certain. At the very least, we should expect Fallout 5 to be a title for Xbox Game Pass.
Considering console lifecycles usually last about seven years, it seems likely we would see Fallout 5 release on these systems before the next, next-generation systems are going to be introduced.
Fallout 5 location and setting: where could it be set?
If you've ever played a Fallout game, you'll know how much it loves its doomsday nuclear-ravaged American setting.
Fallout games have all been set in a US state, so it would stand to reason this aspect wouldn't change. Fallout 3, for example, was set in Washington while Fallout 4 took place in Boston.
It would nice to see Fallout explore different parts of the world, but that might change the game up too much and alienate long-term fans who are particularly fond of the setting.
You don't have to look far to see fans discussing and fantasizing about where Fallout 5 will take place. Here are the most rumored places we've heard chatter about so far:
Rumors that a new Fallout game would be set in New Orleans started after a trademark application for 'Fallout New Orleans' was spotted online in 2016.
Ultimately, this listing hasn't resulted in anything more than four years later, but it could all be a clever bait and switch.
We've already visited swampy areas in Fallout, but a game set entirely around the deep south would certainly be an interesting take.
This one is a bit more 'out there' in terms of its validity.
Having a game set in the Windy City is only being speculated over because fans of Fallout: New Vegas remember that there is a hint towards an Enclave outpost in Chicago.
Anywhere else in the world
There has never been a Fallout game set out of the United States, so could Fallout 5 be the one to buck the trend?
Having a game set in Korea, China, Russia or elsewhere would provide an excellent outlet to change up how the entire map and locations look. A new instalment is a great opportunity to give the franchise a fresh aesthetic.
Fallout 5 multiplayer: will it have it?
Mutliplayer and online co-op
Every mainline Fallout game has been single-player only. Fans probably always loved the idea of wandering around the apocalyptic wasteland with some friends, but when this was attempted with Fallout 76, it didn't work out too well.
It stands to reason that Fallout 5 would be solely made as a single-player experience, considering how the Fallout 76 team is constantly updating and trying to improve the multiplayer experience of its online service.
Considering the rocky history of 76, Fallout 5 would probably suffer too much at the hands of a 'bad' multiplayer experience, which is something Bethesda might now be keen to avoid.
That's not to say there won't be some social features. There could be a social system, like we've seen in games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne, of leaving messages for other players to give them hints (or to troll them), but that might be out of place in the world of Fallout.
Fallout 5 news and rumors
Work has begun...sort of
Work has started on Fallout 5 but don’t hold your breath for seeing it any time soon. Speaking to IGN regarding the impending release of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim Anniversary Edition, Bethesda studio director Todd Howard revealed that a “one-pager” design document is already in place for Fallout 5, being a very early blueprint for what the studio has planned for the game.
Being a “one-pager”, the design document is a high-level outline and there is, therefore, little to share. With Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 both up first, it’ll be a while before we hear more about Fallout 5.
As for whether or not Obsidian—the studio which handled development duties on the Xbox 360 era Fallout: New Vegas—could have some involvement, Howard said "We've worked with other people from time to time. I can't say what's gonna happen...If I could wave my hand and have [Fallout 5] out...you know, I'd like to find a way to accelerate what we do, but I can't really say today or commit to anything, what's going to happen when, other than our cadence is Starfield then Elder Scrolls 6".
Will Fallout 5 be an Xbox exclusive?
Alright, well, given Fallout 5 hasn’t actually been announced yet we can’t say with any certainty whether it will or will not be an Xbox exclusive. However, following Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax Media, if Fallout 5 is ever made, there is a chance of it being an Xbox exclusive. When the deal was closed in March 2021, Phil Spencer addressed speculation around whether the acquisition will see future Bethesda titles becoming Xbox exclusives in a Bethesda Joins Xbox roundtable.
According to Spencer ”If you’re an Xbox customer, the thing I want you to know is that this is about delivering great exclusive games for you that ship on platforms where Game Pass exists,” Spencer explained. “That’s our goal, that’s why we’re doing this, that’s the root of this partnership that we’re building.”
“Obviously I can’t sit here and say every Bethesda game is exclusive, because we know that’s not true,” Spencer said. “There are contractual obligations that we’re going to see through, as we always do in every one of these instances. We have games that exist on other platforms, and we’re gonna go support those games on the platforms they’re on. There are communities of players and we love those communities and we’ll continue to invest in them. And even in the future, there might be things that have contractual things or legacy on different platforms that we’ll go do.”
Spencer has previously said that exclusivity will be decided on a case-by-base basis so we can’t make any predictions with certainty. It does, however, seem likely that if Fallout 5 is released it’d be a Game Pass title at the very least.
Fallout 5 new engine
Bethesda has confirmed that it is updating its current engine, which has been used to make The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, Fallout 3, Skyrim and even Fallout 4.
As we all know, the engine used for those games is... janky at best. It is riddled with numerous animation issues and there is something off about all the character designs and movements.
According to Bethesda, this new engine is being used to develop Starfield and the Elder Scrolls 6. According to GamesRadar, the engine reportedly has the same name, but it will bring new renders, lighting, animations (hallelujah), landscape system and photogrammetry.
Todd Howard spoke about the engine after the announcement of the Microsoft merger, saying "it's led to our largest engine overhaul since Oblivion, with all new technologies powering our first new IP in 25 years, Starfield, as well as The Elder Scrolls 6."
As you might expect, there's no information about what the next Fallout game will play like.
It stands to reason, like any good sequel, it will use the previous features from Fallout 4 and build upon them, taking what worked and adapting it while scrapping things which didn't resonate with players.
In 2015, Fallout 4 opted for a voiced protagonist over a silent one, which meant that it was somewhat limited in its roleplaying aspects. You still made your own character, but there were fewer dialogue options to choose from because of it.
There are obviously ways around this and you can have a voiced character and still make a decent role-playing experience.
At least, given the heaps of criticism that Fallout 76 has had to deal with, you'd hope that Bethesda now knows what not to do when it comes to making the next Fallout game.
Fallout Settlements was another system introduced in Fallout 4, which your character basically build bases and have a lot of freedom with the customisation. Expanding on this system would be a great thing to see.
With Bethesda's brand new engine and, hopefully, a whole new setting, Fallout 5 could deliver an excellent experience capable of winning over jaded fans who have been left disappointed while still impressing die-hard fans.
However it ends up playing, we can expect to see a lot of the same systems from all the previous games which make surviving the nuclear apocalypse so enjoyable.