There are plenty of reasons why fans of the Fallout game series might have been worried about whether or not they would ever get to see Fallout 5. There’s Bethesda’s acquisition by Microsoft, there’s the studio’s focus on the upcoming Starfield, and some fans might be worried Bethesda had decided it made the most sense to focus on the online game Fallout 76 than a standalone sandbox game. But never fear travelers of the Wasteland! Fallout 5 is confirmed to be on the way.
Speaking to IGN at the Xbox-Bethesda Showcase, Bethesda Studios head Todd Howard confirmed that neither he nor the rest of Bethesda had forgotten about Fallout 5. Howard confirmed the game was on the way, and while he didn’t give a specific release date, he did say where in the schedule of Bethesda’s upcoming projects to expect the sequel. Howard told IGN, “Elder Scrolls 6 is in pre-production and, you know, we’re going to be doing Fallout 5 after that, so our slate’s pretty full going forward for a while.”
Since Howard had previously said Elder Scrolls 6 would be coming after Starfield, and Starfield is scheduled to ship in May 2023 at the latest, then we can guesstimate when to expect Fallout 5. The bad news is that judging by Bethesda’s past performance, that wouldn’t make you think we can expect to see Fallout 5 very soon.
There were about five and a half years between the releases of 2006’s Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and its 2011 sequel, Skyrim. According to Game Informer, Fallout 4 took seven years to make and in most likelihood full development on Elder Scrolls 6 won’t begin until Starfield is finished, and likewise full development on Fallout 5 will have to wait for Elder Scrolls 6 to ship. Which means, conservatively, assuming things move at the same or similar speed as they have, we’ll be on the other side of 2030 before we see Fallout 5.
One bright spot is that between now and the distant Fallout 5, we’ll be getting the first live-action Fallout television series courtesy of Amazon Prime Video. Walton Goggins (Justified) is set to play the lead of the series and who knows? If the show is a hit and Fallout games experience the same or similar boost The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt saw in the wake of the Netflix Witcher series premiere — the game enjoyed a 554% increase in sales to be exact — Bethesda might have more incentive to put the pedal to the metal.
But if we’re right about Fallout 5 waiting until the next decade for its release, who knows what the world will look like by then? By 2030 the Google AI might all be helping Bethesda making the new games. Playstation and Xbox consoles might be replaced by direct uploads into the brain. And hey! Between climate change and the not exactly remote possibility that there could soon be the first World War in which the combatants have access to nuclear weapons on Day 1, by 2030 if we really want to play Fallout 5 maybe all we’ll have to do is walk outside! We won’t even need the season pass — all the free DLC you can handle.