- Fallout 5 may be best suited as a soft reboot to address criticisms of lack of choice and action-focused gameplay in previous games.
- Bethesda should consider overhauling the Fallout formula to introduce changes to combat, dialogue, class building, and world design.
- The Fallout franchise’s messy lore and inconsistencies can be resolved by wiping the slate clean and starting fresh with a new game.
With nearly a decade since the release of the last mainline Fallout game, fans are naturally wondering what’s coming next. There’s no shortage of potential when it comes to the future of Fallout, but with such a long lapse between mainline entries, advancements in gaming tech and design trends, and general criticism of Bethesda’s own RPG tendencies, Fallout 5 may be best suited as a soft reboot, rather than a direct continuation that builds off Fallout 4.
Although the modern, post-Interplay Fallout releases are often considered some of Bethesda’s best games, they aren’t without their problems. Fallout 3 and Fallout 4 have both been criticized for their lack of meaningful choice, overly restrictive and definitive main questlines, and apparent emphasis on action over classic RPG systems—critiques that were more relevant than ever with the series’ last official release, Fallout 76. On top of this, die-hard fans have been quick to point out a number of lore inconsistencies introduced in Bethesda’s Fallout games, with some speculating that the upcoming Fallout TV show will muddy the canonical waters even further. Perhaps Fallout 5 can address these narrative and design concerns, but maybe it would be best to simply start over.
Fallout 5’s Rumored Setting Explained
The Fallout series has gone to many distinct locales over the years, and one iconic U.S. city has been heavily rumored as the setting for Fallout 5.
How and Why Fallout 5 Could Hit the Reset Button
Overhauling the Fallout Formula
In the years following Bethesda’s acquisition of the Fallout IP, the franchise has seen a number of well-received changes, with even much-maligned titles like Fallout 76 adding some worthwhile features. That said, players have been criticizing Bethesda’s approach to RPG design as early as Fallout 3, arguing that it lacks depth and real, impactful choices. Games like the Obsidian-developed Fallout: New Vegas have drawn additional attention to the perceived faults of Bethesda’s Fallout releases, and even more recent games like Baldur’s Gate 3 have shown what can be accomplished with an approach that eschews most AAA RPG design conventions.
The Bethesda formula was put under a particularly harsh spotlight thanks to the mixed reception of Starfield, which may prompt Bethesda to rethink its game design pillars.
With a soft reboot, Bethesda could offer a refreshing Fallout experience. Fallout 5 wouldn’t necessarily need to adopt the CRPG perspective of the first two games in the franchise (though that wouldn’t be out of the question), but it could benefit from some fundamental changes to things like combat, dialog, class building, and world design. Essentially, Bethesda is at a bit of a crossroads with Fallout 5: the company can either stay the course and release another game like Fallout 4 or Starfield, or it can take the Fallout series in a new direction, thus bringing the franchise back to the forefront of innovation in gaming and avoiding a repeat of Starfield‘s shortcomings.
Fallout 5 Could Fix the Series’ Timeline
When it comes to lore, the Fallout franchise has become a bit messy. Since each game takes place in a new location, with an almost entirely new cast of characters, there’s quite a bit that Bethesda has been able to get away with, but certain worldbuilding elements stand out as awkward and inconsistent. For instance, there are several elements introduced in Fallout 3, 4, and 76 that are too significant to ignore, like the Institute’s incredible advancements in science and technology.
Despite this, the franchise doesn’t treat these lore developments with the gravity that it perhaps should, leading to numerous unanswered questions and logical problems. In general, there are countless aspects of the Fallout timeline that make no sense, and the best way to address these problems may be to simply wipe the slate clean.
Whatever route Bethesda decides to take with the next official Fallout game, it will be important to introduce meaningful and beneficial changes to the series’ formula. These could be subtle, keeping things mostly familiar, or drastic and revolutionary for the franchise. If Bethesda takes the latter path, then a soft reboot might be the best option.
Fallout 4 is an RPG in the Fallout series, being the fourth major installment. This time around, players are in The Commonwealth, formerly Massachusetts, in the year 2287.
- November 10, 2015
- M FOR MATURE: BLOOD AND GORE, INTENSE VIOLENCE, STRONG LANGUAGE, USE OF DRUGS
- How Long To Beat
- 27 Hours
- X|S Enhanced
- File Size Xbox Series
- 51 GB (December 2023)
- PS Plus Availability
- Extra & Premium