Game Theory

Starfield leak hints at a shocking release date window

Could it actually launch ... this year?

Betelgeuse star against starry sky artistic vision, elements of this image furnished by NASA

Starfield’s release date could be sooner than we think.

The next major RPG from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 4 developer Bethesda Game Studios has garnered a lot of buzz. It’s the first new IP from the developer in over 25 years, and it’s also seen as one of the most significant Bethesda games in the pipeline following Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax.

Because Bethesda remains super secretive about Starfield, fans are desperate for any new information or hints about its impending release that they can find. That’s why a new copyright date has led many to believe that Starfield could release this year.

Last week, fans noticed that ZeniMax’s website was updated to show Starfield with a copyright date of 2021. The copyright years for other Bethesda games reflect the year that each was released, so this could be inferred as a release window for the game. Bethesda has not officially confirmed the release date yet, as its only trailer from 2018 did not contain any release information.

Could Starfield really be released in 2021?

This copyright could suggest that, though it doesn't outright confirm it. Officially, it means that there will be a publication of something related to the game sometime in 2021.

“The general rule is that the year in a copyright notice is the year of first publication of the work,” Hoeg Law told Xbox insider Klobrille. “First publication is when the work is made available to the public without restriction.”

This insight suggests that the game could be released in that timeframe, but might also just apply to it if a reveal, demo, or pre-orders were to happen this year. With events like E3 on the horizon, this copyright indicates that this will finally be the year where we learn a lot more about Starfield.

It’s worth taking copyright and trademark listings with a grain of salt, however. Just last week, there was some buzz around new Metal Gear Rising and Castlevania trademarks, but Konami confirmed to Inverse that they were just renewing their right to the series.

This does suggest that Bethesda wants to use the Starfield copyright for something coming this year. That may be indicative of a release, but it’s possible that this is just for something else tangentially related to Starfield or that the game will get delayed again.

This copyright makes it clear that it’s very possible Starfield could finally be released this year. If that is truly the case, we would hear about it in the next few months. It’s also entirely possible that this copyright isn’t indicative of a release date and is just Bethesda asserting its copyright over the Starfield brand if it plans to even just tease it again this year.

The response to this listing shows how eager Bethesda fans are to learn more about Starfield. The game has been teased for a long time but never officially shown; Hopefully, that finally changes this year, possibly at E3 2021.

Starfield is currently in development at Bethesda Game Studios

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