Fallout 5 is something that Bethesda has confirmed it's thinking about but its release is likely a long, long way off.
The last time we saw a mainline Fallout title released was Fallout 4 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 has plenty on its plate and it's confirmed that it 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, as of November 2021, there's a one-page design document acting as a very early blueprint. What we're saying is, that 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.
Fallout 5: cut to the chase
- What is it? The next installment of the highly popular Fallout franchise
- When can I play it? TBC
- Which console will it be on? TBC
Fallout 5 release date and platforms
While there's currently no confirmed release date for Fallout 5, there's plenty of speculation (opens in new tab) 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, and the game hasn't even been revealed, 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.
It stands to reason that Microsoft and Bethesda would make this an exclusive title because of the former's purchase of the latter, 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 (opens in new tab)' was spotted online in 2016.
Ultimately, this listing hasn't resulted in anything more than five 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 installment 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
If we’re ever going to see Fallout 5 announced, it’s likely that it’s going to be at a big industry event. While there’s no E3 taking place in 2022, there will still be an Xbox and Bethesda showcase on June 12 at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm BST, with news on “titles coming from Xbox Game Studios, Bethesda, and our partners around the world”.
At the moment, we don’t know which games will appear during the show. With the release date of the next big Bethesda title, Starfield, approaching, updates on The Elder Scrolls 6 lacking, and Fallout 5 still in the earliest of stages, it feels unlikely that we’ll see it get a mention at the show.
That said, The Elder Scrolls 6 was announced all the way back in 2018 with nothing more than a clip of a logo so it’s not impossible that Bethesda could consider taking a similar approach with Fallout 5. Whether it’d look to do so as soon as this year, however, we just won’t know until the show goes live.
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 (opens in new tab) in November 2021, regarding the impending release of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim Anniversary Edition, Bethesda studio director Todd Howard revealed that a “one-pager” design document was 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".
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 (opens in new tab), 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 in 2021, 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 that 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, in which your character basically builds bases and has a lot of freedom with the customization. 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.