Fallout 5: everything we know so far

[Update: Could the Fallout 5 release date be closer than we first expected? That’s what’s been hinted at by a brand new teaser from Bethesda Game Studios, the development team behind the irradiated franchise.

On May 29 it tweeted a rolling GIF of the familiar Fallout loading screen, along with the words “PLEASE STAND BY” emblazoned across it (below).

The company then began live-streaming a not-very-eventful video to Twitch, in which a bobblehead of Fallout’s iconic Vault Boy mascot stands in front of the aforesaid loading screen. Various figures, assumed to be Bethesda employees, come and go, occasionally waving to camera or playing with balloons. We also see a short appearance from Pete Hines, Vice President of Bethesda Softworks. 

The stream is ongoing, and we expect it to lead to some sort of announcement shortly…

But what does any of this tell us about the future of Fallout, beyond the fact that something is almost definitely now in the works? It’s tough to call, but the colorful nature of the GIF could maybe, possibly, potentially point to a New Vegas remaster, or the previously-rumored Nintendo Switch conversions. New Vegas was known for its buggy-yet colorful presentation (compared to the dour Fallout 3 which preceded it), while the Switch is undoubtedly the most colorful console on the market. 

Highly speculative, of course, but there’s also what appears to be an image of a Native American at the top of the image. The Dead Horses from the New Vegas Honest Hearts expansion were thought to be of Native American decent. And, to add another theory to the mix, it doesn’t look unlike the final boss from New Vegas either.

Read on for everything else we know about Fallout 5 so far.

Just when you thought you’d escaped the Wasteland, the Fallout series drifts back into your life like a radioactive thunder cloud. Fallout 4 was Bethesda Game Studios’ (which also develops The Elder Scrolls series) most successful launch ever, with irradiated Boston proving the perfect setting for the RPG series’ spectacular open-world storytelling. With this success behind it, it’s hard to imagine that Bethesda wouldn’t return to the Fallout franchise.

While details are thin on the ground, and we’ve yet to hear a confirmation from Bethesda itself, we can’t help but theorise on where the series might go next.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The inevitable sequel to the wasteland wandering RPG hit
  • What can I play it on? If the rest of the series is anything to go by, Sony and Microsoft consoles, plus PC, with a very remote hope of a Nintendo Switch version
  • When can I play it? Yet to be confirmed, but you can bet your bottom dollar it’s happening

Fallout 5 release date

Without a slither of confirmation around Fallout 5’s existence yet, this one’s a shot in the dark. But you can make some educated guesses based on the series’ past. There were seven years between the mainline Fallout 3 (2008) and Fallout 4 (2015) entries into the series, divided by a console generation leap.

But remember that the Fallout: New Vegas spin off released just two years after Fallout 3 in 2010. It shared the same game engine, with development offered to an external studio (Obsidian). Could we perhaps see a similar approach with Fallout 5 not so much being a numbered sequel, but a complementary entry using the Fallout 4 engine, following it quickly in 2019 or 2020?

Fallout 5 trailers

You’ll have to wait a bit longer for Fallout 5 trailers. With no official word on the sequel out there yet, it’ll be some time before we get a whiff of any gameplay footage, unless a major leak at Bethesda occurs.

Fallout 5 news and rumors

A new engine

While Fallout 4 went bigger in scale, it didn’t offer a major overhaul of the graphics and character models players had seen in its previous two games. Bethesda Game Studios Montreal currently has an open job listing for an ‘Engine / System Programmer’, leading some to believe an entirely new engine could be powering the next Fallout and Elder Scrolls instalments, much as the Creation Engine was developed for Fallout 4 and The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.

After a mixed reception for the clunky navigation system in 2015’s Fallout VR, the company could also feasibly be looking to optimise their next engine for native VR support.

Multiplayer or MMO

Despite suffering from a number of bugs at launch, Bethesda’s fantasy MMO The Elder Scrolls Online has managed to blossom into a thriving online community. It’s uncertain whether they’d risk splitting their user base by creating a rival MMO based on the Fallout IP.

We also know Bethesda acquired Battlecry Studios earlier this year (via GameInformer), who had previously been looking to launch an eponymous multiplayer-shooter, Battlecry, before running into financial troubles. Re-branded as Bethesda Game Studios Austin, the team would be well placed to expand the scope of Fallout into the online space, even if the recent acquisition is likely to bear fruit in the coming year or so.

Todd Howard of Bethesda Game Studios has admitted that each of their in-house titles will at least create a design brief for a possible multiplayer mode, so even on a lesser scale some sort of co-op mode alongside Fallout 5’s single-player campaign may be on the table.

Robot companion with list of dialogue options (Fallout 4)

An overhauled dialogue system

Given the length of time we usually see between Fallout’s mainline games, there’ll be plenty of time to work on some gameplay improvements. One of Fallout 4’s major changes to the IP’s formula was in a streamlined dialogue system, ditching the usual list of speech options for four simplified reactions mapped to specific buttons on the controller. A lot of players were unhappy with the change, and Fallout 4 lead Todd Howard has been open about wanting to respond to that criticism for future games.

A new setting…

There’s been nothing solid on the location of the next game, after a trademark for Fallout: New Orleans back in 2014 – registered without an owner name or ID – turned out to be something of a red herring. Given the history of the franchise, it seems unlikely we won’t be revisiting its irradiated American landscapes, although a move to the Deep South or perhaps the West Coast would offer something new to explore.

… or maybe an old one?

As the ten-year anniversary of 2008’s acclaimed Fallout 3, a remastered edition could be just the thing to whet our Wasteland appetite while we wait for the next mainline instalment. It could also find a welcome home on the Nintendo Switch, which is piecing together an impressive list of 3rd-party shooters from Bethesda, who have already ported versions of Skyrim, Doom, and Wolfenstein to the handheld/home console hybrid.

A queue of people entering a vault, under the Fallout Shelter logo

And though we’re still only speculating at this stage, the tie-in mobile game Fallout Shelter (2015) was a runaway success on iOS and Android, and made the move to the Xbox One and Windows 10 last year. We’d love to see an expanded Switch version of the vault sim that made use of the console’s superior capabilities.

Keep checking back here for all the latest Fallout 5 news

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