Developed by storied RPG studio Bethesda Game Works, the Fallout franchise has become a stalwart of the gaming industry, telling sprawling tales of an alternate nuclear future.
The last mainline entry into the franchise came in 2015's Fallout 4, with a multiplayer spin-off Fallout 76 having released in 2018.
When Will Fallout 5 Release?
Despite no trailer having been made public, Bethesda Game Works (BGW) has made it clear, the studio has plans to make Fallout 5.
However, the nuclear open-world RPG still looks to be a ways off.
In a 2021 IGN interview with BGW director Todd Howard, it was revealed the studio "[has] a one-pager on Fallout 5," but not much beyond that:
"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 say what's gonna happen. You know, we have a one-pager on 'Fallout 5,' what we want to do."
He also made it clear the next Fallout from the team would not be released until after The Elder Scrolls 6 (which is expected to debut sometime between 2028 and 2030).
In that same conversation, Howard remarked, "If [he] could wave my hand and have [Fallout 5] out. [he would]." But he could commit to "what's going to happen when:"
"Again, if I could wave my hand and have ['Fallout 5'] out – you know, I'd like to find a way to accelerate what we do, but I can't really say today or commit to anything, [like] what's going to happen when."
At E3 2022 Howard followed this up with IGN, confirming the studio's release lineup. He said, "We’re going to be doing Fallout 5 after [Elder Scrolls 6], so our slate’s pretty full going forward:"
"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."
The game seems to be so far off it was not even listed on the studio's planned releases, as presented in Microsoft FTC court documents from 2023 (via Gaming Bible).
Bethesda's parent company Microsoft included the forthcoming Elder Scrolls 6, as its furthest out project in development, but Fallout 6 was nowhere to be seen.
This likely means development has not properly started on the next Fallout title at Bethesda Game Works, existing a series of ideas rather than anything playable at this point.
Because of this - and taking into account just how far off Elder Scrolls 6 looks to be - Fallout 5 will likely not release until at least sometime during the 2030s.
To put a date on it, if Elder Scrolls 6 comes out in 2028, Fallout 5 could reasonably be expected between five and seven years later (2033 and 2036).
Will Fallout 5 Be on PlayStation?
As is the case with Elder Scrolls 6 (and most Bethesda titles these days), Fallout 5 will likely not come to PlayStation in any capacity.
Following the March 2021 acquisition of Bethesda by Microsoft, only a handful of games from the studio have come to Sony's game machine.
While not mentioning Fallout 5 specifically, during Microsoft's FTC legal battle over the purchase of Activision-Blizzard, it came to light that as far back as 2021, Xbox head Phil Spencer was calling for every new game from ZeniMax (Bethesda's umbrella company) will be Xbox exclusive (per IGN):
"Phil [Spencer] told them all titles going foward, Xbox exclusive."
This means that "not just new IP, but ALL games going forward," will reportedly be locked to Xbox and PC.
What is a more interesting question is if Fallout 5 will even come to the current generation of Xbox when it does eventually release.
As a part of documents leaked during the same FTC hearings, it was accidentally revealed that Microsoft may be eyeing a 2028 release date for its next-gen Xbox (per The Verge).
This means Fallout 5 will likely come out on this next-generation machine when it is finally ready to see the light of day.
Where Will Fallout 5 Take Place?
One of the most exciting details surrounding any Fallout title is the real-world location Bethesda looks to recreate in the game.
Fallout 3 followed gamers as they explored a post-apocalyptic Washington DC, while Fallout 4 focused on a nuclear-decimated take on Boston and its surrounding area.
Of course, Fallout 5 is still years away from officially revealing its radiation-tinged setting, but there have been hints at where the series may go next.
There have been plenty of names rumored to be the setting for Fallout 5 including Chicago, London, and New York City, but only one has actual evidence behind it.
An EU trademark filed in August 2016, included the title Fallout: New Orleans with little explanation (via Game Rant).
While this filing came long before the title's still-forthcoming release, getting the Fallout: New Orleans trademark this early could have been an effort by the studio to lock down the location.
New Orleans and its surrounding area have been referenced several times across the Fallout franchise.
Known in-universe as the Cajun Wasteland (or the Big Easy), the landscape is made up of large swamps and sweeping coastline, which would be a slightly different look for the Fallout franchise and could make Fallout 5 stand out from the pack.
Fallout 5 Potential Gameplay Details
Heading into Fallout 5 fans can expect a few gameplay details the series is known for to be present.
The game will likely focus on exploring a nuclear wasteland, getting into gunfights, and navigating the troubles and tribulations of several warring factions.
This mix of choice-based RPG story and tactical first-person shooter gameplay is intrinsic to the DNA of Fallout at this point.
Another staple of Bethesda Game Works' games is its single-player nature, which Fallout 5 looks like it will maintain.
Todd Howard told German site GameStar in 2018, "We want to keep them as single-player" when asked if he saw multi-player becoming a part of the series going forward:
“For those games, we want to keep them as single-player. That is what our focus is going to be.”
A few places Fallout 5 could experiment in the gameplay department include potentially expanding out Fallout 4's base-building.
The 2015 game's biggest new addition was the ability for gamers to create and craft settlements in the Boston wasteland. While it worked then, there was a layer of jank holding some from getting into this particular aspect of the game.
Perhaps with all the innovation in the survival genre seen in recent years in games like Minecraft and Valheim, Bethesda could iterate on this corner of the Fallout experience, building it out into a much more user-friendly experience.
Another aspect of the game that could see some retooling is its karma system.
While choices were still present in Fallout 4, the lack of a distinct karma system made it feel at points like the player was never losing out on an option by picking another.
This made for a fairly frictionless narrative experience, as gamers were allowed to experience everything Fallout 4 had to offer.
However, some fans long for the days of Fallout 3 and - more prominently - Fallout: New Vegas, where choices were varying shades of gray and had drastic repercussions on the world.
With choice-based RPGs like Baldur's Gate 3 making waves as of late, it could be smart for Bethesda to focus more heavily on a karmic loop in Fallout 5.
Fallout 5 currently has no estimated release window.