Bethesda’s upcoming sci-fi game Starfield has been rumored to be in development since 2015, but a new interview with Bethesda’s Todd Howard reveals that the game was conceptualized long before that.

Bethesda started committing manpower to Starfield in after wrapping up production on Fallout 4, but it was a twinkle in the company’s eye since at least 2004.

“We just talked about it, and then I guess it really picked up steam — we’re going to do this, register the trademark, about five years ago,” Howard told VentureBeat. “Then we would talk about it from time to time during that period. What are we going to do? And we started work right after Fallout 4 was finished.”

Fans caught wind of the project when Bethesda filed a copyright for it in 2013 and has since continued to renew the rights. Of course, now we know why.

Back in 2004, Bethesda Game Studios was throwing around ideas for what games it wanted to work on next. The developer was primarily known for The Elder Scrolls, but it was hungry to branch out beyond fantasy and into science fiction. The top item on the list was a Fallout title, which Bethesda was able to fulfill with Fallout 3 after its parent company purchased the rights from Interplay Entertainment. The second most coveted project on the to-develop list was an “epic science fiction game”, which eventually became Starfield.

When Fallout 76 goes gold, Bethesda has confirmed that it will dedicate a full production crew to finishing Starfield.

But why announce Starfield when it’s still far away? Well, one reason was to stay ahead of the leakers, who spilled the beans on Fallout 76 well ahead of its official debut at E3 2018.

“It’s better to say we’re making it,” Howard said. “It makes life a bit easier for us.”

The other reason was to reassure fans that Bethesda will still be producing single-player titles. Thousands of angry fans demanded a single-player focus for Fallout 76, even though Bethesda repeatedly referred to it as a spin-off game.

By announcing Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI and confirming both as single-player games, Bethesda showed that it isn’t moving in a different direction. The studio simply wants to try out new things, just as it did when it released Fallout 3 in 2008. Let’s just hope Starfield doesn’t take another 10 years to come out.