Todd Howard says Fallout 5 is coming after The Elder Scrolls 6, if we all live that long

Fallout 3
(Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios)

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.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).