Fallout 5 release date: What we know about the highly anticipated game

It’s been five years since Fallout 76  (Bethesda)
It’s been five years since Fallout 76 (Bethesda)

Bethesda’s head honcho Todd Howard has revealed some interesting insights that could shape the next Fallout game.

In a wide-ranging discussion on the Kinda Funny Games podcast, which took in everything from Starfield to the Fallout TV show, Howard spoke about the core aspects of the Fallout franchise.

Asked whether Bethesda would consider shifting the game’s location to outside of the US, where every installment has so far been set, Howard gave a pretty conclusive answer.

Basically, if you’re one of the people pining for Fallout 5 to switch the action to Canada or London, don’t get your hopes up.

“My view is part of the Fallout schtick is on the American naivete and part of that,” Howard said. “And so, for us right now, it’s okay to sort of acknowledge those other areas, but our plan is to predominantly keep [Fallout] in the US.”

If you’re wondering what the next Fallout is about, and whether or not it even exists, read on to find out everything there is to know about the eagerly anticipated game.

Bethesda’s dilemma

Bethesda director Todd Howard has shot down speculation that the next Fallout could take place outside the US (Bethesda)
Bethesda director Todd Howard has shot down speculation that the next Fallout could take place outside the US (Bethesda)

The success of Amazon’s live-action Fallout show has put the game’s developer Bethesda in a bind.

On the one hand, the gaming giant will be thrilled to see the renewed interest in its post-apocalyptic franchise following the release of the acclaimed TV series. In a massive win for Bethesda, Fallout 4 just hit a peak player count on Steam despite coming out eight years ago.

But with that game’s age starting to show, new and returning fans are starting to wonder when they’ll be able to play a new Fallout game. Yes, Bethesda is about to release a Fallout 4 update that rejuvenates it for contemporary consoles, but we’re talking about a completely new story.

The last game in the blockbuster series, Fallout 76, came out in 2018 – and is far from its high point. More than five years without a Fallout game is a mighty long time to wait, even for the most patient of vault dwellers.

Well, we have good and bad news. Bethesda is in fact working on Fallout 5: a new mainline game in the long-running franchise. The only problem is it may not arrive for a while.

Here’s what we know about Fallout 5’s tentative release date.

Is Fallout 5 in development?

When asked about the possibility of Fallout 5 back in 2022, Howard said it was in the pipeline but it wasn’t the studio’s priority.

At the time, Bethesda was gearing up to release a little game called Starfield, which eventually came to Xbox and PC in 2023, followed by Elder Scrolls 6 further out.

The Fallout TV show has reignited interest in the sci-fi games (JoJo Whilden / Prime Video)
The Fallout TV show has reignited interest in the sci-fi games (JoJo Whilden / Prime Video)

Here’s what Howard told IGN about Fallout 5: "Yes, 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. We have some other projects that we look at from time to time as well."

We didn’t really hear anything more from Bethesda until earlier this April. Asked about the release timeline for Fallout 5 by IGN, Howard said that Elder Scrolls 6 was still Bethesda’s main focus, along with the looming Starfield Shattered Space update, “but that doesn't mean that we're not making plans for other things”.

Alas, it sounds like fans shouldn’t expect Fallout 5 to suddenly supersede Bethesda’s other games following Amazon’s hit adaptation.

When is Fallout 5 coming out?

But, what about a possible release date? Well, given the early stages of the project, Fallout 5 probably won’t see the light of day for a long time yet.

We know for sure that Elder Scrolls 6 will precede it, and that game isn’t expected until at least 2026. If we take into account that blockbuster games can take between four to six years to make these days, Fallout 5 may not arrive until 2028 at the earliest.

Fallout 4 is getting a next-gen update on (Bethesda)
Fallout 4 is getting a next-gen update on (Bethesda)

However, Bethesda is known for creating sprawling open worlds inhabited by hundreds of characters, with intricate details and deep lore. This ambition naturally adds to development time.

Still, there are signs that may be changing. On the same Kinda Funny Games episode where he spoke of Fallout’s American DNA, Howard mentioned that Bethesda was working on ways to shorten the length of time between its game releases, including the possibility of bringing on external developers for non-mainline entries, like Obsidian’s Fallout: New Vegas, or mobile versions.

What is Fallout 5 about?

It’s far too early to accurately predict what Fallout 5 will be about, but that hasn’t stopped fans from trying.

Much of the speculation has been around the next game’s location. With Bethesda's Fallout games leaning towards the East Coast, some fans theorise Fallout 5 will head to cities like New York or Philadelphia. You can bet the game’s mutants and mole rats will feel right at home in the subways below the derelict surface.

Fallout London, an ambitious mod for Fallout 4, is expected this year (Fallout London)
Fallout London, an ambitious mod for Fallout 4, is expected this year (Fallout London)

Another interesting theory concerns the legacy of Fallout 76, which was the first online multiplayer game in the series. Some fans reckon Fallout 5 might acknowledge the events of 76, perhaps with characters mentioning the "heroic people" who emerged from Vault 76 to rebuild the city.

One thing’s for sure, the game probably won’t be a direct sequel to Fallout 4. Each new installment typically explores new locations and stories, but peppers in references to past events. This way, new players can jump into the series with little confusion.

Furthermore, Fallout 4 has multiple endings that involve different factions. Choosing a canon ending for Fallout 5 would therefore alienate players who sided with different groups.