"Don't do this, because we're going to do this in Fallout 5," Todd Howard talks Fallout TV show in this exclusive interview

 Fallout 4.
Fallout 4.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft and Bethesda have signed an agreement with Amazon to produce a Fallout TV show, and it looks pretty damn great.

  • The shows producers referred to the TV show as "Fallout 5," which had some Fallout fans nervous about the status of a very long, long, long awaited follow up to Fallout 4.

  • In a new interview with Den of Geek, Bethesda's Todd Howard confirmed that, indeed, the TV show isn't Fallout 5, while implying that there's already a plan in place for the fifth instalment.

What is Fallout?

Fallout 4 power armor
Fallout 4 power armor

Fallout is primarily a video game franchise set in an alternative reality where the Cold War culminated in a global nuclear apocalypse. Technology is stuck in the 1950s albeit with an atomic twist, and the game is known for its hyperviolent gameplay and satirical writing. Fallout spun off originally from a 1988 title called Wasteland, developed by Brian Fargo. Since acquiring both InXile and Bethesda, Microsoft now owns the Fallout franchise and the Wasteland franchise. Wasteland maintains its tactical gameplay roots, while Fallout has expanded to be something of a shooter-RPG.

For fans of Bethesda's apocalyptic RPG series, the wait for Fallout 5 continues to be agonizing.

The previous mainline Fallout game launched in 2015, and while there is a next-gen Fallout 4 "refresh" update on the way, the wait for a true sequel still seems far away. Developed by Bethesda Softworks, instead of Fallout 5, the firm opted instead to build a futuristic space RPG in 2023's Starfield, as well as the multiplayer-focused Fallout 76. The studio's next game is Elder Scrolls VI, and given Bethesda's notoriously long development cycles, fans are not expecting to see Fallout 5 this side of the decade — but it does seem that there's a plan in place.

To tide fans over, Fallout aficionados have the Fallout TV show on Amazon Prime to look forward to — and it looks pretty damn great. However, comments from the show's producers had some fans nervous, when they described it as "being like Fallout 5." Does that mean there is no video game Fallout 5? Apparently not, thanks to this new interview between Den of Geek and Bethesda exec producer Todd Howard.

Speaking to Den of Geek, showrunner and Westworld creator Jonathan Nolan elaborated his previous comments on the Fallout show being Fallout 5, "I think it would be very presumptuous for someone to assume that we’d reach the caliber of the games." Nolan elaborated that the Fallout TV show is simply a separate story within the Fallout universe. It doesn't riff directly on the storylines from any of the games, and instead follows a completely new cast of characters, in a new area. "It means you have all of the benefit of beautiful storytelling that Todd and [Bethesda Game Studio] has contributed to, but we also get to tell an original story within that world." 

In fact, Bethesda and the Fallout TV show team actively worked to avoid conflating events from the movie with the planned plot of the actual "Fallout 5" game. Todd Howard explained: "Well, there were some things where I said, ‘Don’t do this because we are going to do that in Fallout 5. It wasn’t the translation of an existing [Fallout] story. It was, what would the next thing be? It just happens to be a TV show."

This isn't the first time that Todd Howard and Bethesda have confirmed the existence of Fallout 5, but it is the first hint we've had that the game already seems to be approaching a fleshed out plan, complete with story beats.

Be sure to read the full interview over at Den of Geek.

The agonizing wait for Fallout 5

Fallout 76
Fallout 76

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Fallout is an incredible franchise with a long, storied history. Spinning off from 1988's Wasteland franchise, both franchises were pioneers in RPG story telling and depth. Through various twists of fate, both Wasteland and Fallout are now owned by Microsoft, wish Wasteland retaining its tactical turn-based roots, with Fallout gunning for first-person FPS RPG gameplay. Fallout has grown significantly as a franchise in recent years, with the multiplayer-focussed Fallout 76 finding new audiences, as well as the addictive management game Fallout Shelter on mobile devices. However, many core fans are still waiting, hoping, to eventually get a true "Fallout 5" single-player sequel.

Given that Starfield expansions and Elder Scrolls IV are taking up a lot of Bethesda's bandwidth, a lot of Fallout fans are not expecting to see the sequel this side of the decade. I can't help but feel like Microsoft and Bethesda should spin up another team who is specifically dedicated to growing the Fallout franchise, given its current popularity, and likely future popularity if the TV show is as good as the above trailer looks. There are some truly amazing teams of modders out there, building games like Fallout London that look as legit as anything you might expect from a big-budget studio. Perhaps Microsoft and Bethesda should explore bringing them in-house?

Either way, it's at least a crumb of hope that Todd Howard and the team have some of Fallout 5's story down ... maybe, hopefully...

The Fallout TV show debuts on Amazon Prime on April 11, 2024. All Fallout games are currently available as part of Xbox Game Pass