Bethesda is known for publishing and developing some of the best franchises in the gaming world. Doom, the Elder Scrolls, and Wolfenstein are just some of the properties that the company that either Bethesda Softworks or Bethesda Game Studios have played a role in delivering to gamers over the past two decades. But for me, one franchise that Bethesda acquired back in the ancient year of 2007 stands out as my favorite: the Fallout series.
The fallout was created by Interplay Productions (now Interplay Entertainment) and the first game in the series was released in 1997. Financial troubles led the company to eventually sell Fallout to Bethesda in 2007, leading the company to begin development on the third game in the series, Fallout 3.
The series was brought fully into that generation of gaming with a detailed open world based on a post-nuclear war Washington D.C., a mix of first-person shooter and RPG gameplay, and gritty, realistic graphics. I remember vividly the first time I fired up the game on my Xbox 360 and was immediately immersed as “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire” by The Ink Spots played.
The latest, online multiplayer entry in the series, Fallout 76, had a rocky debut but has since fixed some of the major issues with the game through updates like Wastelanders. Fans of the series, however, are always on the lookout for any news about Fallout 5.
Details on the game are elusive as it’s likely that development is in very early stages at the moment. That didn’t stop me from trying to round up all of the rumors I could find about what the next Fallout game will look like.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the latest Fallout 5 release rumors, including where it is in the development process and any potential locations for the game’s setting. I’ll also put forward some things I, and the Fallout community at large, would like to see from the next game. Just thinking about the next entry in the Fallout series is getting me excited, so let’s jump right into the rumor mill.
Bottom Line Up Front
- We have a long wait ahead of us for Fallout 5 as both Bethesda and Obsidian work on other properties.
- With Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Bethesda, both they and Obsidian are now working under the same parent company, raising the potential of a collaboration between the two studios.
- There is hope in the Fallout community that the next game will feature a brand new location in the post-apocalyptic United States.
Bethesda’s Current Workload
Before Bethesda can begin working on Fallout 5 in earnest, it will have to finish up the work it’s doing on other games in its impressive roster. The most imminent release is Starfield, a new action role-playing IP set in space.
Starfield is set to come out on November 11, 2022, barring any delays. After that, Bethesda may be ready to shift its attention, but that doesn’t necessarily mean starting work on the next Fallout.
After Starfield, it seems that Bethesda might be shifting its attention to what is arguably its most popular franchise: the Elder Scrolls. While details are still scarce about Elder Scrolls VI, a brief trailer was shown at E3 2018 that confirmed both its existence and that the game was in the pre-production stage of development. Even those scant details are more than we have about Fallout 5.
I mention Starfield and the Elder Scrolls simply to say that Fallout seems to be on the backburner for Bethesda at this current moment. However, that doesn’t mean that Fallout 5 hasn’t been on the mind of the studio and its director, Todd Howard.
What We Know About Fallout 5
In episode #61 of IGN’s interview series IGN Unfiltered, Howard was featured as a guest and he spoke on all things Bethesda, including Starfield, the Elder Scrolls 6, and most importantly, Fallout 5.
Posted to IGN’s website on November 9, 2021, the interview is a recent one. For Fallout fans, the answer he gave to a question about the series being handed to a different studio – like Obsidian, which developed Fallout: New Vegas – contained details that were a little disappointing, but not unexpected given what we know about the status of Bethesda’s other ongoing projects:
I don’t see…Look, Fallout’s really part of our DNA here. We’ve worked with other people from time to time – I can’t say what’s gonna happen. You know, we have a one-pager on Fallout 5, what we want to do.
– Todd Howard, Director and Executive Producer, Bethesda Game Studios, in an interview with IGN Unfiltered
A one-pager is a document that provides a general outline for a concept of a video game, meaning that even just the idea of Fallout 5 is in its infancy. His answer as far as passing development off to a different studio seems fairly non-commital as well, meaning that if Bethesda decides they want Fallout 5 all to themselves, we have a long wait ahead of us for the next entry in the franchise.
Obsidian and New Vegas 2
Despite Howard’s vagueness when it comes to allowing a different developer to handle Fallout 5, I think handing off those duties is the only way fans of the series will see a new entry in the next 5 to 10 years.
7 years have passed from the release of Fallout 4 to the upcoming release of Starfield. If that’s any indication of how long we’ll be waiting in between Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI, we potentially might not see the next Fallout until 2035 at the earliest. That’s where Obsidian Entertainment can potentially play a role in the development of the next Fallout game.
Obsidian Entertainment has long been a developer known for delivering great sequels for established franchises. They’re already familiar with the Fallout universe, as their studio was responsible for making Fallout: New Vegas.
The most natural fit for them would be to lead development on a potential New Vegas 2 instead of spearheading any entirely new Fallout game. There have been reports that Fallout: New Vegas 2 is already in early talks at Microsoft, which has acquired both Obsidian and Bethesda in recent months.
Even if the next Fallout isn’t New Vegas 2, Obsidian CEO Fergus Urquhart has confirmed in the past that if his studio gets their hands on the next Fallout game, it’ll be set on the West Coast, saying,
If I think of going from Fallout 1 to Fallout 2, we tried to associate the two areas somewhat closely. It wasn’t just, ‘Oh, we’re gonna do this 2,000 miles from here.’ So I think if we were to do Fallout: New Vegas 2 – or just a new Fallout – we would probably seperate it from what the internal team at Bethesda’s doing. We’d keep it on the West Coast, because we’re West Coast people. They’re East Coast, so it makes sense.
– Feargus Urquhart, CEO, Obsidian Entertainment, in an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun
No matter what direction they decide to go in, a new Fallout game from Obsidian Entertainment might give fans the best of both worlds: a top-tier RPG experience and a possible release date that isn’t over a decade into the future.
Other Potential Locations
Looking around various articles and message boards to see was eye-opening in the sense that there are a few fan-favorite choices for the setting of the next Fallout game. As for a New Vegas 2, it would almost certainly reference areas from the original game, but that wouldn’t stop it from branching out to new territory in the Mojave Wasteland, an area that consists of land from four different pre-Great War states (Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah). Here are a few of the locations that I think would be most interesting for the setting of Fallout 5.
I list New Orleans first because it’s personally the most exciting location to me. I can imagine roaming a dilapidated, but still brightly lit, French Quarter and Bourbon Street, similar to the vibes of New Vegas. Music plays a large role in the Fallout series, and can’t think of a better soundtrack than that of vintage jazz from the Big Easy.
Additionally, the inclusion of Creole culture would offer the Fallout series the opportunity to explore how the Great War affected specific regional communities and how they were forced to adapt, rather than the iconic American locations themselves, like Washington D.C.
Speaking of iconic American locations, Miami would be a great one for the next entry in the Fallout series. The city itself would be eerily beautiful with damaged or abandoned Art Deco and Miami Modern-style buildings everywhere, but perhaps more interesting would be the change that would take place in the flora and fauna of Florida. Imagine Super Mutant-like alligators roaming the Everglades or heavily mutated panthers that stalk their prey, including human survivors.
We don’t have to imagine, as a DLC-sized mod is on the way for Fallout 4 that will take us to the city of Miami. Appropriately named Fallout: Miami, if you’re looking for an unofficial taste of what is a possible setting for the next Fallout game, I’d suggest giving it a try once it’s officially released.
Chicago has already been featured as a setting for a Fallout game before, though how much of that game is considered canon these days is up for debate. Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel took place in the Windy City and the Midwest and followed the exploits of a faction of Brotherhood of Steel soldiers that were forced to crash land in the area after being sent on an expedition towards the East Coast. This group more closely resembles the inclusive Brotherhood of Fallout 3 rather than Maxson’s group in Fallout 4.
Even if much of this spin-off has been retconned by Bethesda, it would be nice to see another representation of the Brotherhood of Steel in an area of the post-Great War United States that has yet to be explored in any recent Fallout games.
Seattle is another location that is often mentioned as a fan favorite for the setting of Fallout 5. The Pacific Northwest is absolutely beautiful in real life, but exploring an irradiated version of Seattle, the Puget Sound, and the thick forests surrounding them all with Mt. Rainier in the background just sounds too good to pass up.
Not only that, but Seattle is home to the Naval Submarine Base Bangor, which houses almost one-fourth of the United States’ nuclear weapons. That fact alone could make Seattle a very important place in Fallout lore if it is selected to be the main location of Fallout 5.
Question: Is there a Fallout 5 coming?
Answer: The short answer to this question is yes. In the past, Todd Howard has brought up the existence of a one-pager with a basic concept for Fallout 5. While that’s not much information regarding the specifics such as setting, characters, or story, it’s great to know that the game is at least being discussed, even just a little, in the offices of Bethesda.
Question: Will Fallout 5 be available on Playstation 5?
Answer: This is a difficult question to answer with any certainty as Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda raises some issues. While Microsoft does have a history of publishing titles like Minecraft on multiple platforms, they may keep a blockbuster game like Fallout 5 from appearing on a competitor’s system to benefit their bottom line. If Starfield is any indication, we may not see Fallout 5 on Playstation 5. Only time will tell.
Question: Will Fallout 5 be multiplayer?
Answer: There’s an answer to this question directly from Todd Howard himself and thankfully, it’s a good one. He confirmed that the next Fallout will be a single-player experience in an interview with GameStar in 2018, something I think most Fallout lovers will welcome after the debacle that was the launch of Fallout 76.
The fact that there is so much speculation and excitement around any news regarding Fallout 5 shows just how beloved the franchise is among gamers. Fallout 76, though it has improved a lot since its launch, left a bad taste in the mouths of Fallout fans and many are looking for a return to a more traditional, single-player experience, which has been confirmed.
I believe that Fallout 5 should focus on a location that hasn’t yet been seen in a Bethesda or Obsidian Fallout game. My top choices are New Orleans and Seattle, but there are plenty of locations in the United States – or even in Canada, Mexico, or any number of other countries – that would make for an amazing Fallout experience. As gamers, we might not like the long wait we’re going to have to endure for Fallout 5, but I think it will be worth it once we’re able to finally get our hands on it.