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Fallout 5 Is On The Way, But There's A Huge Catch

Todd Howard, director and executive producer at Bethesda Game Studios, confirmed the potential for a new "Fallout" installment during the November 9 episode of IGN Unfiltered. While welcome news, fans of the franchise should temper their expectations, as several caveats accompanied the reveal.

Over half a decade has passed since Bethesda released a mainline "Fallout" title. Online spin-off "Fallout 76" arrived in late 2018 to help fill that void, however, the long-running lack of NPCs, host of bugs, and questionable design choices made it more pain than pleasure. While continued support and multiple updates may have finally transformed "Fallout 76" into a game worth playing, the experience left players a bit gun-shy and desperate for a return to form.

This return to form appears to be on the way in the shape of "Fallout 5," though at this stage it exists as a mere glimmer of hope on the horizon. "We have a one-pager on Fallout 5, what we want to do," Howard told IGN, indicating that the company had at least worked out the loose concept, plot, mechanics and unique selling points. He also indicated that, unlike Obsidian Entertainment's "New Vegas," the next entry would likely remain in-house, stating, "Look, Fallout's really part of our DNA here."

So, what does all of this mean for "Fallout 5" and when can you get your hands on it? The answer is complicated.

Fallout 5 is not at the top of Bethesda's priority list

If Bethesda Game Studios handles the development of "Fallout 5" instead of passing it off to a third party, it likely won't enter production for several years. Howard emphasized the company's firm commitment to "Starfield" and "The Elder Scrolls 6." While the former is slated for a November 11, 2022 release, "The Elder Scrolls 6" won't release anytime soon. Bethesda has shared very little about the "Skyrim" follow-up beyond the fact that it will run on an upgraded version of the Creation Engine 2. 

"It's good to think of The Elder Scrolls 6 as still being in a design [phase]," Howard explained to The Telegraph back in June. "We're checking the tech: 'Is this going to handle the things we want to do in that game?'"

During his chat with IGN, Howard made it clear that he doesn't favor long gaps between series installments. Instead, he sees them as unfortunate necessities that allow Bethesda to push its boundaries with new concepts like "Starfield." "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," he concluded.

With "The Elder Scrolls 6" still in pre-production, don't expect "Fallout 5" to materialize for at least another 3-5 years, though the wait could prove much longer.