Bethesda - or one of its sister Microsoft studios - may already at work on the next Fallout game, according to Xbox Gaming Services Marketing GM Ben Decker. The executive shared the information during an interview about Xbox Game Pass, which has come to be a defining advantage of Xbox consoles over the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.
Despite its poor launch state, Bethesda is still supporting Fallout 76 with updates. The always-online RPG set 25 years after the series' nuclear war that destroyed the Earth. Although the title was largely panned at launch for being severely broken and missing content, it has since received numerous updates, improving both its quality and reputation. Still more updates are planned throughout 2021, suggesting that it won't be abandoned anytime soon.
Xbox's Ben Decker recently told GamesRadar, "We have 23 studios across Xbox and Bethesda, working on Halo, Forza, Fallout, and new IP that we haven't even talked about yet that's gonna blow your mind." While that could be referring to continued work on Fallout 76, updates to a nearly three-year-old game probably wouldn't warrant Decker's attention. That said the executive didn't elaborate on what he meant, so a future Fallout could be anything from a new mobile game to a full-fledged Fallout 5. Past series spinoffs have included the likes of tactics and even pinball games.
If Bethesda and/or a partner studio is preparing a Fallout 5, it could be years before the product actually ships. The company's priorities are currently Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6, the first of which probably won't ship until 2022. Even if The Elder Scrolls 6 is ready in 2023, that could easily push the next Fallout into 2024 or later, depending on how development teams are being staggered. Work is especially complicated at the moment due to the COVID-19 pandemic - while a growing number of people have been vaccinated, major studios are still largely operating via remote work. That creates hardships not just in collaboration, but in dealing with the huge data assets a triple-A game demands. Small indie developers, meanwhile, are often used to remote work and have lower production values.
Some of Microsoft's studios include Halo Infinite developers 343 Industries and Minecraft creator Mojang. That number only jumped after Microsoft's Bethesda takeover, which completed in March and roped in the likes of id Software and MachineGames. One firm, Obsidian Entertainment, could theoretically be a strong candidate for taking on its own Fallout, having previously developed the critical darling Fallout: New Vegas, and more recently developed its own Fallout-like franchise, The Outer Worlds.
A recent leak hints at some of Xbox's planned reveals for E3 next month, including new looks at Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5. After being canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the blockbuster Electronic Entertainment Expo event will return this summer, albeit in the digital-only livestream format that ruled the industry in 2020.
Already, several of the big publishers have announced their presence at this year’s E3, including Ubisoft, Sega, Bandai Namco, and major console companies Nintendo and Microsoft. Not everyone will attend, however; PlayStation 5 creator Sony has decided to forgo the festivities for the third year in a row, and the long-troubled Konami withdrew from E3 after initially saying that it would be there. Regardless, the companies that are coming to E3 have some big reveals in store for players, and details on what to expect at the show are slowly but surely starting to emerge.
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