Hope you like Fallout 76, because it's likely going to be the Fallout game, maybe the only Fallout game, for the next decade. I an interview with IGN, Bethesda's Todd Howard stated that Fallout 5 will follow The Elder Scrolls 6, which is still in pre-production. It's a long way off, in other words—just a twinkle in Todd's eye.
The RPGs Bethesda made its name on are primarily developed by a single studio, which is why there are such large gaps between releases. It's a different process than Activision's approach to Call of Duty or how Ubisoft makes Assassin's Creed. The gaps are only getting longer as Bethesda's games get bigger:
- Fallout 3 (2008)
- The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim (2011)
- Fallout 4 (2015)
- Fallout 76 (2018)* - co-developed by Bethesda Austin
- Starfield (2023)
- The Elder Scrolls 6 (???)
- Fallout 5 (??????)
Bethesda announced The Elder Scrolls 6 in 2018, but cautioned it was still very far off. In the past four years, TES6 has only been referred to as in pre-production or the "design phase."
"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," Howard told IGN today. "We have some other projects that we look at from time to time as well."
It's hard to imagine The Elder Scrolls 6 arriving before 2027 at the absolute earliest, which means Fallout 5 is likely a game for the early 2030s. If you're not so into the online aspect of Fallout 76 and bummed that you'll be a decade older once a new Fallout rolls around, Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda may be a saving grace. Microsoft now owns Fallout New Vegas developer Obsidian and inXile, two studios focused on making hardcore computer-first RPGs. It's hard to imagine we won't see something new with the Fallout name on it well before Fallout 5.