Could Fallout 5 be built by Obsidian?

What you need to know

  • Obsidian is a Microsoft game studio, currently deep in development on Avowed, Grounded, and The Outer Worlds 2. 
  • Microsoft also owns the popular apocalyptic Fallout franchise, owing to their purchase of ZeniMax media. 
  • Despite its massive popularity, Fallout is essentially on hiatus right now, as Bethesda focuses its attention on Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI. 
  • In a new interview, CEO Feargus Urquhart said he’d love to return to the Fallout franchise before he retires from game development. 

In a recent interview, Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart echoed some previous comments about his desire to revisit the Fallout franchise. 

Microsoft purchased Fallout alongside Bethesda when it acquired ZeniMax back in 2021. Fallout is a storied franchise, having changed hands multiple times over the decades. It was originally a spiritual successor to Wasteland, an IP Microsoft also now owns since picking up InXile. The franchise since changed hands to ZeniMax, and then Microsoft, swapping its tactical 2D isometric gameplay for Bethesda’s first-person creation engine, putting a gory sci-fi spin on Todd Howard’s Elder Scrolls formula. Fallout became a runaway success story, but it has been relatively quiet in recent years, to the infinite frustration of Fallout fans everywhere. 

The most recent iteration of the franchise is Fallout 76, which launched in a bit of a state to widespread admonishment. To Bethesda’s credit, they stuck with it, and now it’s become something of a success story — but core fans yearn for a return to the tried-and-tested single player Fallout experience, which drops players into an alternative history of a post-apocalyptic, irradiated world. 

Fallout New Vegas

(Image credit: Obsidian / Bethesda)

Bethesda under Todd Howard well and truly has its hands full right now, though. The team is working to ship Starfield this year, which carries with it the weight of the entire Xbox brand. Starfield is a “NASApunk” space odyssey, set in a realistic vision of the future where humanity has colonized planets beyond Earth. After that, Bethesda has already announced that its next project will be Elder Scrolls VI, following up from the wildly successful Skyrim. Where does that leave Fallout, though? 

Given how long Bethesda takes to complete these kinds of games, fans have been wondering whether or not we’d get a new Fallout this side of 2030 — a wholly depressing notion given that Fallout 4 launched back in 2015. Perhaps Obsidian could come to the rescue. 

In a new interview with GamePressure, Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart reiterated some previous comments about the team picking up the Fallout franchise. Obsidian is one of Xbox’s most consistent and successful studios in recent years, having a near-flawless run of critically acclaimed and highly popular titles from South Park: Stick of Truth, to Grounded and Pentiment. Urquhart noted that the team is busy with Avowed and The Outer Worlds 2, but emphasized a desire to return to Fallout. 

We’re not working on it right now, our plate is pretty full with Avowed, Grounded and Outer Worlds 2. I don’t know when we’re going to start talking about new games, maybe towards the end of [2023]. We just have to see what’s going on. That’s the best way to say it. There’s nothing in the plans, nothing on the piece of paper that says that. But I’ll stick to what I said. I would love to make another Fallout before I retire. I don’t know when that is, I don’t have a date of my retirement. It’s funny – you can say I’m already 52, or only 52. It’s one of those two, depending on the day. My hope is that’ll happen, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart

Obsidian is of course responsible for Fallout: New Vegas, considered by many to be among the best Fallout games of all time. New Vegas went above and beyond to celebrate Fallout and Obsidian’s heritage for branching narrative and player choice, and the franchise has arguably scaled back on that aspect ever since. 

In a world where Bethesda and Todd Howard are fully loaded with Elder Scrolls and Starfield, I for one hope we see Obsidian take stewardship of one of the best PC’s and Xbox’s games of all time

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