With Starfield set for release in 2023 and the Elder Scrolls 6 expected in the years to follow, relatively few people are talking about Bethesda’s announced Fallout 5. However, the game will be on its way eventually, with Todd Howard confirming that Fallout 5 is Bethesda’s next game after the Elder Scrolls 6.


With Fallout 5 so far off, it is hard to predict what Bethesda might have in store. However, the developer could do plenty of things to improve upon Fallout 4 and Fallout 76, including reworking Fallout 4’s approach to factions. Fallout 4’s Minutemen in particular stand out as a missed opportunity that Bethesda should take another pass at through Fallout 5.

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Fallout 4’s Minutemen

There are many issues with how Bethesda implemented the Minutemen in Fallout 4, but there’s still merit to the core idea of a volunteer army defending the wasteland from raiders, mutants, and other threats. Even if the Minutemen don’t appear in Fallout 5, and they probably won’t unless it takes place in or near the Commonwealth, there’s no reason similar groups couldn’t appear in future games. However, the developer will need to avoid specific problems with the Minutemen’s successors in Fallout 5.

Fallout 4’s Commonwealth Minutemen are in a bad way by the time players find them. Once an influential and respected institution, all that remains of Fallout 4’s Minutemen are Preston Garvey and a few settlers hiding in a pre-war museum. After saving the group and doing a single additional quest, Preston names the player character General of the Minutemen. Fallout 4 then tasks players with rebuilding the Minutemen and restoring their reputation in the Commonwealth. While this makes sense in context, it still feels like a big jump considering the player only learned of the Minutemen’s existence.

Rebuilding an underdog faction into a major power is a decent premise for a faction storyline in a Bethesda RPG. However, Bethesda went overboard by reducing the Minutemen to just Preston Garvy. Giving a potential Fallout 5 faction more named characters and a meaningful presence from the start would help it feel like the player was part of an actual organization. They should still be an underdog, but more like the Minutemen were before Fallout 4’s Quincy Massacre instead of after.

A Better Questline in Fallout 5

Having more characters to work with would also make it easier for Bethesda to give the faction a proper questline. While the Minutemen have a few memorable quests like retaking the Castle, rebuilding primarily consists of grinding Fallout 4’s radiant quests. While these take players to some of Fallout 4’s more interesting locations, they are a poor substitute for hand-crafted story quests.

Regarding quests, Fallout 4’s Minutemen questline also seems oddly abbreviated where it overlaps with the main questline. The Institute, Brotherhood of Steel, and Railroad all take active steps against each other before committing to their endgame. However, the Minutemen storyline stops dead after players arrive at The Institute. Meanwhile, The Minutemen’s preparations are more of the same radiant quest players had been doing the entire time. The result is that Fallout 4’s Minutemen ending can almost feel like the developer meant it to be a consolation prize.

Whatever group Fallout 5 has instead of the Minutemen need to play a more active role in the story. In Fallout 4, that would have meant Minutemen readying their forces and launching attacks against the Institute to prepare for their final confrontation. It’s impossible to say exactly how this idea would pan out in Fallout 5, but the player should see Fallout 5’s version of the Minutemen taking active steps to combat the next game’s major threat to the wasteland.

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Fallout 5 Could be like New Vegas 2

This expanded story would also be a great place to examine how Fallout 5’s militia faction recruits new members. Fallout 4 players recruit Settlements by doing radiant quests, but this only applies to the small farms and tiny villages, with the game mostly ignoring larger settlements. Players gain control of Bunker Hill after completing the main story, but it never explicitly joins the Minutemen. Diamond City joins the Minutemen off-screen in the faction’s ending, but the subject never comes up for Goodneighbor.

This could have been the setup for something like the second half of Fallout: New Vegas, where players had to travel the Mojave to decide the fate of factions like the Boomers and Great Kahns. Winning over Diamond City, Goodneighbor, Bunker Hill, and possibly even the Railroad or Brotherhood of Steel could have been a significant part of the Minutemen’s final preparations. Bethesda decided not to go down that route in Fallout 4, but Fallout 5 would benefit from a New Vegas-style arrangement.

Possible Settlements in Fallout 5

Finally, Fallout 5 needs to address the Minutemen’s mechanical issues. While each Fallout 4 faction gives the players some unique tools, the Minutemen’s special features are mediocre. Minuteman artillery barrages are powerful but situational, and the Minutemen that players summon with a Flare Gun don’t level up alongside them. However, these are balance issues specific to how Bethesda implemented the Minutemen’s unique mechanics. The real problem is how closely the Minutemen were tied to Fallout 4’s settlement building.

Many players enjoyed building custom bases and settlements in Fallout 4. However, babysitting all those settlements is part of what made the Minutemen quests so tedious. It’s also a little odd that the General of the Minutemen needs to construct every town under the faction’s protection personally. Bethesda seemingly ignored the possibility that some players might like Fallout 4’s Minutemen as a faction while not being as invested in Fallout 4’s settlement building.

Starfield’s Outpost building looks like a big improvement, and it seems likely Fallout 5 might feature a similar system. It’s also perfectly reasonable if settlement building benefits the player’s chosen faction in Fallout 5. However, it should not be a significant faction’s primary focus to the degree it was with the Minutemen in Fallout 4.

Fallout 5 is currently in development.

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