The Fallout franchise has its fair share of fans, and as such, many are chomping at the bit to hear absolutely anything about the next installment. Fallout 4 released back in 2015, and was quickly followed up by Fallout 76 in 2018 — so the ground for a new Fallout is fertile. Still, there’s been no word from Bethesda Game Studios about a new game in the works, despite fans absolutely wanting one. This all leads to the question: Will there ever be a Fallout 5?
Grab yourself something to drink and strap in. We’re going to make the case for and against a fifth Fallout potentially making its way into our homes at some point in the future.
Why there could be a Fallout 5
To start, you should ask yourself this: would Microsoft pay billions of dollars for Bethesda, only to let one of its largest and most popular properties fall by the wayside? The answer is almost certainly no. Fallout is well known and has a loyal fan base, and to think that there wouldn’t be a Fallout 5 seems like madness when examined from that perspective.
Even if Bethesda Game Studios is wrapped up in work on Starfield, and then follows that up with The Elder Scrolls 6, Fallout fans don’t have to suffer if Microsoft doesn’t want them to. Remember: Microsoft also owns Obsidian Entertainment, which is the studio that developed Fallout: New Vegas on behalf of Bethesda. Fallout 5 could just as easily be handed to that studio, or to inXile, and either team could likely make game worthy of the Fallout name.
Why there might not be a Fallout 5
There’s an elephant in the room, and its name is Fallout 76. One has to wonder: did this game hurt the Fallout brand? Did fans lose some enthusiasm for the series after 76 disappointed so many at launch? This is something that’s worth thinking about. If 76 left a sour taste in the mouths of enough Fallout fans, there’s a chance Bethesda is at least putting a follow-up on ice for a little while — if not forever.
Fallout 76 has largely managed to recover and deliver some solid expansions in the past few years, though. So if the numbers show that fans are generally fine with that game at this point, that raises another interesting question: do they really need another mainline Fallout game? With 76 essentially serving as an ongoing experience — one where new content can be introduced on the regular — its continued existence may negate the need for another separate Fallout game to come out.
And yes, you could say, “But what about The Elder Scrolls Online?” That is developed by an entirely different team: ZeniMax Online Studios. Fallout 76 is handled by Bethesda, and is likely worked on by some of the same people who’d eventually make a Fallout 5. So there might be a decision to make for those folks at some point: either keep 76 going, or head to a fifth mainline entry in the series. If 76 is sustainable and gets the job done, it might be tough to justify spinning up a whole new project.
We’ll have to wait and see
Now that Bethesda is fully under the Xbox banner, I’m incredibly eager to learn more about how the company’s properties will be handled, including Fallout. I can see the future of the franchise playing out from both sides: there are definitely paths toward getting a Fallout 5, but there are also reasons a fifth game may never materialize in the traditional sense. It may take a few years to know for sure how it’ll all shake out.