Get used to Fallout 76, because Fallout 5 is years away

Don’t expect to see Fallout 5 anytime soon, as studio director Todd Howard has confirmed the next mainline entry in Bethesda’s post-apocalyptic RPG series is years away.

Following the reveal of Starfield at the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase, Howard sat down with IGN to discuss the sci-fi RPG, as well as other projects that Bethesda had in the pipeline. He confirmed that the studio is planning to develop Fallout 5, but it won’t be hitting shelves anytime soon.

"Yes, Elder Scrolls 6 is in pre-production and we’re going to be doing Fallout 5 after that, so our slate’s pretty full going forward for a while,” Howard told IGN. “We have some other projects that we look at from time to time as well."

With The Elder Scrolls 6 ahead of it, Fallout 5 has a long time to wait before entering full development. Bethesda tends to take several years to create its sprawling single-player RPGs. Starfield was officially announced back in 2018, before finally receiving a proper reveal at E3 2021 and being delayed for a 2023 launch

Similarly, The Elder Scrolls 6 reared its head in 2018 but has yet to make another appearance. We’ve also little idea what these “other projects” that Howard refers to could be, how large they’ll become, or whether they’ll ever make it into public hands.

For now, fans of the studio’s post-apocalyptic RPG will have to make do with 2018’s Fallout 76. We weren’t too keen on the multiplayer spin-off when it first released, but Bethesda has continued to roll out updates, announcing The Pitt expansion at its recent Summer Game Fest showcase.

We expect the Fallout series will re-emerge sometime before its distant fifth installment. As one of the most acclaimed and recognizable brands in contemporary gaming, Bethesda will likely be keen to squeeze as much juice from it as possible, even if that's just through another spin-off game.

Spinning out

Bethesda

(Image credit: Bethesda)

It’s tempting to think that if Bethesda can't spare the resources to develop a new Fallout game, it would outsource the project to another developer. Obsidian was handed the fallout licence in 2008 while Bethesda was busy working on Skyrim, and went on to release the much-acclaimed Fallout: New Vegas in 2010.

But Howard has previously suggested that that isn’t likely to happen again. He sees Fallout as very much a Bethesda brand, and hinted the studio already has an idea as to what a fifth entry in the series might look like.

“Fallout's really part of our DNA here,” he told IGN back in November last year. “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."

That one-pager will likely amount to a pitch or broad concept design, and doesn’t indicate that any substantial work has been made on the game. What Howard's comments do reveal, however, is that when the next Fallout game does finally release, it’ll likely be coming out of Bethesda’s doors.

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