It's no secret that the video game industry is fueled by hype. Game publishers and studios tightly control information until designated dates where they'll drip-feed details to their often rabid fanbases.
Bethesda Game Studios, the people behind popular series like The Elder Scrolls and, of course, Fallout have a reputation for playing their cards very close to their chests, only divulging news of projects they're working on when they're ready and not a moment before.
With a franchise as famous as Fallout, there are bound to be rumors about when fans can expect another trip through the nuclear wasteland and what will populate it. Bethesda have been very tight-lipped about any future Fallout titles, but that hasn't stopped some persistent rumors and speculation from being shared, discussed, and argued over on gaming forums worldwide.
As the game hasn't even been officially announced yet, there's a ton of conjecture and fan wish fulfilment going on, but it's also an opportunity to discuss how far the series has come and where it might possibly go in the future.
With that in mind, we've collected some of the wildest whisperings out there and present all of you Smoothskins with the 15 Insane Rumors About Fallout 5 That Will Freak You Out.
15 It might have online multiplayer
The idea of an online Fallout polarizes fans of the series like no other. Some want to be able to group up and tackle Super Mutants with their friends, whereas others believe that a multiplayer mode would spoil the series' hallmarks of isolation and exploring through the wasteland alone.
The idea of a Fallout MMO has been tried before, with Fallout Online, developed by Masthead Studios and Interplay. The game was cancelled and after a long legal battle, and Bethesda ended up with the rights.
Most game studios will do things like this to buy up any potential competition, but Bethesda could have gained the rights to do their own version. The Elder Scrolls Online has been a success for the publisher and it would make sense that they'd want a Fallout equivalent.
Job listings for Bethesda stated they were looking for people with “experience developing for online multiplayer environment,” as well as several server engineers, suggesting they're amping up for some big multiplayer project. Could it be the next Fallout? Only a select few people know and they're not returning our desperate late-night tweets.
14 It might be a spin-off
Fallout: New Vegas came out a few years after Fallout 3 and offered a new take on the same basic game. As Fallout is more popular than ever these days, it would make sense that Bethesda might be looking to release a spin-off in the wait between proper numbered sequels, especially as nobody knows for sure when Fallout 5 will make an appearance.
Whilst Obsidian probably won't be involved, that doesn't mean that New Vegas 2 is off the table. Bethesda may even repeat what they did with the first one and hand it off to a smaller studio, leaving them to concentrate on their powerhouse sequels.
There are rumors aplenty about whether there will be a stopgap title to keep us occupied until Fallout 5 but as with all of this gossip, time will tell. We'll all just have to get better at waiting.
13 It won't release until 2020
As nothing has been announced, there are tons of guesses as to when Fallout 5 will actually make its way onto hard drives worldwide. The only information we have is from Bethesda itself, with Todd Howard implying that Bethesda's next projects were brand new properties, not sequels, saying that they were “bigger than anything we've ever done” but also “a bit different” to what people may expect.
Bethesda vice president and head of PR, Pete Hines further fuelled the rumors that Fallout 5 might be on the backburner by saying that the studio wasn't “a two-button vending machine” alternating between Fallout and Elder Scrolls.
Many people have taken that to mean that Fallout may be a way off and, considering that there was five years between New Vegas and Fallout 4, have pinned 2020 as the likely release date.
12 It'll be set in New Orleans
There's always going to be speculation over where the next Fallout title is going to be set. There are many possibilities (which we'll get back to) but many believe the next Fallout game is going to be set in post-post-apocalyptic Louisiana.
This stems from a trademark filing at the European Intellectual Property Office for the name “Fallout New Orleans.” Some fans have theorised that this could be the New Vegas sequel they've been waiting for.
Trademark filings have leaked game information before, but it's hard to tell the validity of this one. Anyone can file for a trademark and if Bethesda are behind it, there could be any number of reasons why they would want the name outside of it being the title of their new game.
Whilst it's important not to get excited over something that could so easily turn out to be nothing, it's still tempting to think about the sheer potential of a Fallout game set in the Deep South. We'd love to see how nuclear annihilation has affected the bayou. Did somebody say Radgators?
11 Obsidian Entertainment isn't involved
Whilst Fallout 3 was a mainstream hit, many longtime devotees of the series were disappointed that it didn't have the personality of the older isometric titles. This was somewhat remedied by the release of spin-off Fallout: New Vegas, which brought back some of the original team.
Functionally, it was the same game as its predecessor, but many regarded the writing and the all-important "game feel" to be more on par with what they expected from the franchise. It's due to this that people have been clamoring for Obsidian's return ever since.
Alas, it doesn't seem like it's going to happen. Obsidian must have to field the question constantly, but they were asked it again in a Reddit AMA this year. The answer? According to Obsidian, they'd "love to," but Zenimax Media (the company that owns Bethesda among others) are the rights holders so the ball is in their court.
It's not a "no," but it's hardly a "yes," is it? Some people still think Obsidian may be trying to pull the wool over our eyes, but for now, it seems like the closest thing we have to solid info that it's probably not happening.
10 It'll have a new engine
One of the more constant criticisms of Bethesda's Fallout and Elder Scrolls games is that they've been using the same basic engine to power them since 2002 and the release of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.
They've obviously continued to tinker and tweak it to keep up with the times, but many feel that Bethesda's basic building blocks are starting to show their age in a climate that is constantly pushing the scope and scale of what's possible on current generation hardware.
It's been rumored that Bethesda are finally looking to overhaul their aging engine and bring TES and Fallout bang up to date. Job listings for their Montréal studio suggest they've been searching for Engine Progammers to “develop cutting edge technologies."
Whatever the minds at Bethesda end up coming up with, it's pretty much guaranteed that the studios' two lead franchises-- The Elder Scrolls and Fallout-- would benefit from these advances, meaning even bigger and more richly detailed worlds to get lost in.
9 It's further along in development than people think
Conservative estimates put Fallout 5 as years away from release. However, there have been a few murmurings that work on the next game began very soon after Fallout 4 went gold. Games take a long time to make, so this isn't that surprising, but many have been questioning where Fallout fits into Bethesda's future plans.
Speculation was started by a teasing post on Instagram by Fallout 4 voice actor Ryan Alosio in a reply to a Fallout fan page. To quote Deacon himself: “Internally there is movement gearing up for pre-production of Fallout 5 (shhh).”
This was quickly taken down, but the internet being the internet, it had been screenshotted and posted on gaming sites within hours. Alosio later clarified that it was meant to be an in-character prank on his followers, but some people still believe it was a genuine slip and that Fallout 5 was already underway.
Considering the mix-up was two years ago, who knows what progress Bethesda could have made by now if this were true.
8 It will have native VR support
There are some who champion virtual reality as the next big step for games. This remains to be seen, but games companies are investing a lot of time and money into the technology. At E3 2017, Bethesda announced that both Skyrim and Fallout 4 were getting the VR treatment, due out at the end of the year.
As they seem to be integrating the technology into their older games, it would make sense for Bethesda to build Fallout 5 with VR in mind from the off. It'd certainly be the most ambitious VR title yet and it's exciting to think about just where they could take the tech.
If you thought Fallout was immersive before, imagine grappling with a next-gen Deathclaw in glorious virtual reality. Best start stockpiling those adult diapers now.
7 It'll be part of the Creation Club
Bethesda recently implemented the Creation Club into Fallout 4 – a move that has not sat well with fans. The feature basically offers mods, both created by Bethesda themselves and paid external developers, for sale.
Many have criticised the company's return to “paid mods” which earned a lot of scorn last time they tried this. Getting people to pay for what they've enjoyed for free for years is a tough sell, but the fact that Bethesda introduced a premium currency into the bargain stuck in many peoples' throats.
However, just because something isn't liked doesn't mean it'll be going away any time soon. Depending on how much money the Creation Club actually makes, we could be saddled with it for a long time to come.
If you don't think that Bethesda would put their new moneymaking system into one of their crown jewel franchises, then we admire your optimism. There are some upsides to the service, especially as several fan developers are being paid for their work, but in its current state, it'd be an unpopular addition.
6 The next Fallout title could be a remastered Fallout 3
This generation of consoles has spent a lot of time looking backwards for inspiration. Remastered games have become a trend with a lot of games studios, taking last generation's games and buffing them to look good on modern systems.
Many of the huge blockbuster titles have already been remastered for the current gen, but noticeably absent is the Fallout series, especially as Skyrim got the special edition treatment last year.
Over the past couple of years, Bethesda successfully lobbied to get Fallout 3 unbanned in Germany. By all accounts, the process is long and costly with little chance of success, which raises the question as to why they'd go through such an arduous legal matter for a nearly decade old game.
The most likely reason is that Bethesda are planning to re-release Fallout 3 and want to make sure they can sell it in as many territories as possible. An upgraded and polished version of Fallout 3 could be great, especially if they bundled it with New Vegas, which is surely a no-brainer.
5 BattleCry Studios may be involved
BattleCry Studios was created to make, erm... BattleCry, a free-to-play multiplayer combat game for the PC, scheduled for release in 2015. Don't bother checking Steam for it by the way, it never happened. The project was quietly cancelled and BattleCry Studios were assigned to other Bethesda projects.
BattleCry worked on the online multiplayer for last year's excellent Doom and, apart from that, little is known about what they've been working on since. Some have speculated that the next Fallout (or at least the next Fallout spin-off) could be given to them like New Vegas was handed to Obsidian.
Even if they weren't the lead developers there's always a possibility they could be involved in the rumored future multiplayer aspects of Fallout 5.
4 The dialogue system will be reworked
Fallout 4 was a big hit with critics, but fans were more divided. Some loved the action and the world-building whereas others were left disappointed by its lack of depth when it came to player choice. If you ever needed proof that players care about meaningful choices in games, you only need look at the debacle over Mass Effect 3's ending four years back.
In a recent interview, game director Todd Howard admitted that Fallout 4's simplistic dialogue system didn't quite work as intended. He reflected on the game and whilst he's proud of the game's gunplay and action, the dialogue stuff “didn't work as well.”
Bethesda have heard the fans and it seems they're open to taking that particular criticism on board. Howard also stated he's thinking “long-term” with the improvements, which could mean an overhauled approach to the in-game conversations and the consequences of acting like a wasteland savior or tyrant.
3 The game may explore New York
One of the best aspects of the Fallout games is seeing how humanity has moved on from nuclear devastation. Whilst the remnants of the old world remain, new cities, societies and cults have emerged from the underground and met with all sorts of horrific mutated creatures.
It was awesome to explore the Capital Wasteland and the remnants of Washington D. C. in Fallout 3 and Fallout 4's Boston setting added a lot of local historical flavor to proceedings. Rumors over where the new Fallout will be set range from pretty much all over the United States to occasionally outside of it.
Whilst it seems unlikely that a Fallout game wouldn't be set in the former USA due to the series' theme of old-school Americana, it's certainly not impossible. One of the most popular theories is that the game will be set in the Eastern Commonwealth, comprising of the former states of Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
The Eastern Commonwealth has been mentioned a fair few times in Fallout lore (and the Statue of Liberty cameos in Fallout 4 minigame Atomic Command, as seen above) but there's no denying that seeing Fallout's take on New York City would be all kinds of cool.
2 It might be returning to its roots
Fans of the original Fallout isometric titles and New Vegas have been rather excited recently by a mysterious Facebook post by New Vegas Senior Designer and comic book writer Chris Avellone, famous for writing The Fallout Bible and working on the series since the beginning.
Avellone changed his Facebook profile picture to a hand-drawn image of a stick figure happily embracing Vault Boy, the series' iconic mascot. The caption “I missed you so much” has tongues wagging at warp speed over what it could mean.
The best case scenario for most people is that Avellone has been hired by Bethesda to add his unique style to a future Fallout project. This would be fantastic news for people who found the writing in Fallout 3 and 4 to be a little lackluster.
Of course, the changing of a profile picture doesn't have to mean anything, but the signs point to Avellone being re-involved in the Fallout universe in some form or another.
1 We won't know anything until closer to release
After years of possible leaks and rumors-- both fake and real-- Bethesda finally unveiled Fallout 4 to the world on the 3rd June, 2015. The game's trailer spread like wildfire, but perhaps most exciting of all was the fact that the game's release date was in November, mere months away.
After hearing next to nothing and the disappointment of game show after game show passing without an announcement, Bethesda suddenly (and rather fittingly) dropped a bomb on us and watched us all freak out.
Since it worked so well last time, there seems no reason why they wouldn't do it again. Sure, the element of surprise is gone, but this way Bethesda are creating their own hype.
Rather than announcing it at E3 alongside a load of other attention-grabbing titles, why not just pick a random day around four or five months from release and just announce the game then, ensuring you get maximum possible coverage? The chances are high that Fallout 5 will be announced in the same way, with the unfortunate side effect of leaving us all twisting in the wind until then.
Are there any other rumors out there about Fallout 5 that we missed? Sound off in the comments!