Fallout 5: everything we know so far

Vista over Diamond City (Fallout 4)

Just when you thought you’d escaped the Wasteland, the Fallout series drifts back into your life like a radioactive thunder cloud. Fallout 4 was Bethesda Game Studios’ (which also develops The Elder Scrolls series) most successful launch ever, with irradiated Boston proving the perfect setting for the RPG series' spectacular open-world storytelling. With this success behind it, it's hard to imagine that Bethesda wouldn't return to the Fallout franchise.

While details are thin on the ground, and we've yet to hear a confirmation from Bethesda itself, we can't help but theorise on where the series might go next. 

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The inevitable sequel to the wasteland wandering RPG hit
  • What can I play it on? If the rest of the series is anything to go by, Sony and Microsoft consoles, plus PC, with a very remote hope of a Nintendo Switch version
  • When can I play it? Yet to be confirmed, but you can bet your bottom dollar it’s happening

Fallout 5 release date

Without a slither of confirmation around Fallout 5’s existence yet, this one’s a shot in the dark. But you can make some educated guesses based on the series' past. There were seven years between the mainline Fallout 3 (2008) and Fallout 4 (2015) entries into the series, divided by a console generation leap. 

But remember that the Fallout: New Vegas spin off released just two years after Fallout 3 in 2010. It shared the same game engine, with development offered to an external studio (Obsidian). Could we perhaps see a similar approach with Fallout 5 not so much being a numbered sequel, but a complementary entry using the Fallout 4 engine, following it quickly in 2019 or 2020?

Fallout 5 trailers

You’ll have to wait a bit longer for Fallout 5 trailers. With no official word on the sequel out there yet, it’ll be some time before we get a whiff of any gameplay footage, unless a major leak at Bethesda occurs.

Fallout 5 news and rumors

A new engine

While Fallout 4 went bigger in scale, it didn’t offer a major overhaul of the graphics and character models players had seen in its previous two games. Bethesda Game Studios Montreal currently has an open job listing for an ‘Engine / System Programmer’, leading some to believe an entirely new engine could be powering the next Fallout and Elder Scrolls instalments, much as the Creation Engine was developed for Fallout 4 and The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. 

After a mixed reception for the clunky navigation system in 2015’s Fallout VR, the company could also feasibly be looking to optimise their next engine for native VR support.

Multiplayer or MMO

Despite suffering from a number of bugs at launch, Bethesda’s fantasy MMO The Elder Scrolls Online has managed to blossom into a thriving online community. It’s uncertain whether they’d risk splitting their user base by creating a rival MMO based on the Fallout IP.

We also know Bethesda acquired Battlecry Studios earlier this year (via GameInformer), who had previously been looking to launch an eponymous multiplayer-shooter, Battlecry, before running into financial troubles. Re-branded as Bethesda Game Studios Austin, the team would be well placed to expand the scope of Fallout into the online space, even if the recent acquisition is likely to bear fruit in the coming year or so.

Todd Howard of Bethesda Game Studios has admitted that each of their in-house titles will at least create a design brief for a possible multiplayer mode, so even on a lesser scale some sort of co-op mode alongside Fallout 5’s single-player campaign may be on the table.

Robot companion with list of dialogue options (Fallout 4)

An overhauled dialogue system

Given the length of time we usually see between Fallout’s mainline games, there’ll be plenty of time to work on some gameplay improvements. One of Fallout 4’s major changes to the IP’s formula was in a streamlined dialogue system, ditching the usual list of speech options for four simplified reactions mapped to specific buttons on the controller. A lot of players were unhappy with the change, and Fallout 4 lead Todd Howard has been open about wanting to respond to that criticism for future games.

A new setting...

There’s been nothing solid on the location of the next game, after a trademark for Fallout: New Orleans back in 2014 – registered without an owner name or ID – turned out to be something of a red herring. Given the history of the franchise, it seems unlikely we won’t be revisiting its irradiated American landscapes, although a move to the Deep South or perhaps the West Coast would offer something new to explore.

… or maybe an old one?

As the ten-year anniversary of 2008’s acclaimed Fallout 3, a remastered edition could be just the thing to whet our Wasteland appetite while we wait for the next mainline instalment. It could also find a welcome home on the Nintendo Switch, which is piecing together an impressive list of 3rd-party shooters from Bethesda, who have already ported versions of Skyrim, Doom, and Wolfenstein to the handheld/home console hybrid.

A queue of people entering a vault, under the Fallout Shelter logo

And though we’re still only speculating at this stage, the tie-in mobile game Fallout Shelter (2015) was a runaway success on iOS and Android, and made the move to the Xbox One and Windows 10 last year. We’d love to see an expanded Switch version of the vault sim that made use of the console’s superior capabilities.

Keep checking back here for all the latest Fallout 5 news 

  • More interested in where Elder Scrolls is going? Here's everything we know about Elder Scrolls 6