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Fallout 5: everything we know so far

Fallout 76
(Image credit: Bethesda)

Fallout 5 may not have been officially confirmed by Bethesda but, given the popularity of the veteran series, we would be surprised if the developer didn't have another entry up its sleeve.

The most recent entry in the Fallout series was Fallout 76, which released in 2018. However, the online multiplayer game received a mixed reception from fans and critics alike since its launch – not least because of bugs and glitches throughout the game – with many disappointed that 76 was an online offering rather than a single-player game.

That means it's been five years since the release of the last 'core' Fallout game, Fallout 4. So, while Bethesda's focus is likely on the upcoming (and confirmed) Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6, we would expect a new single-player Fallout game to be in the pipeline – though we probably won't see it for a few years yet.

But, considering Fallout is one of Bethesda's biggest franchises, it seems likely that its eye would be turned to the future of the series, likely within the PS5 and Xbox Series X lifecycle, which we would imagine would last around seven years, if not more.

And, taking into account Microsoft's purchase of Zenimax, the parent company of Bethesda, we may even see Fallout 5 as an Xbox / PC exclusive. However, this is still just speculation and Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, has said exclusive games will be decided on a "case by case basis".

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.

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

Fallout 4

(Image credit: Bethesda)

While there's currently no confirmed release date for Fallout 5, there's plenty of speculation out there at the moment, with some optimistic predictions even setting a release date for 2022.

This release window would line up historically, as the gap between Fallout games is typically seven years, this was the case between Fallout 3 (2008) and Fallout 4 (2015). 

But the reality is that Bethesda hasn't officially confirmed the next Fallout game and the developer is focusing on Starfield, Elder Scrolls 6 and improvements for Fallout 76 currently – making 2022 seem pretty ambitious. Realistically, 2024 or later is more realistic.

It all really depends on how far along the Bethesda teams are with each game, but it would make sense that we would see Fallout 5 released sometime after these titles.

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

It's likely we'll see the next Fallout release for the PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC. 

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.

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

Fallout 4

(Image credit: Bethesda)

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:

New Orleans
Rumors that a new Fallout game would be set in N'awlins started after a trademark application for 'Fallout New Orleans' was spotted online in 2016.

Ultimately, this listing hasn't resulted in anything 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.

Chicago
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.

Will Fallout 5 get multiplayer?

Fallout 76

(Image credit: Bethesda)

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 rumors and news

Fallout 4

(Image credit: Bethesda)

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.

  • The PS5 UI looks like it's designed to promote busywork