After building their name on RPG classics like Fallout and Elder Scrolls, Bethesda Softworks has shirked the earthly plane for outer space. Using their new game, Starfield, Bethesda plans to tackle space in likely a similarly expansive way as their other IPs. look forward to an immersive open-world space-faring adventure.
We first learned about Starfield at E3 2018 via a short teaser featuring a logo and some music. There hasn't been an official unveiling of the game since then. However, we've received numerous tidbits, offhanded remarks from Todd Howard, and the like. Together, it's enough to begin forming a silhouette of what the game might look like when it launches.
Here's everything we know about Starfield.
When is the Starfield release date?
Starfield has yet to receive a proper release date or window. There's reason to believe that Starfield will launch in 2022 or 2023. Bethesda impresario Todd Howard noted in an E3 2018 interview that Starfield won't run on current-gen. Xbox has announced plans to continue supporting Xbox One for 2-3 years after the Series X launches in November. Starfield would be the perfect title to bookend that transitionary period with a late 2022 to mid-2023 release date.
This estimate was further cemented by Bethesda's Marketing VP Pete Hines in February 2020. Hines, in response to someone demanding new Elder Scrolls 6 information on Twitter, said, "It’s [Elder Scrolls 6] after Starfield, which you pretty much know nothing about. So if you’re coming at me for details now and not years from now, I’m failing to properly manage your expectations."
Clearly, Elder Scrolls will come after Starfield, and it's years away. This would place a Starfield release in 2022 at the earliest.
A purported leak, however, suggests that Starfield is targeting a 2021 release date, which is far sooner than anticipated.
Is there a Starfield trailer?
Kinda. We have the initial teaser from E3 2018, which you can watch below.
From this teaser, we can see a few things about the game. Firstly, it doesn't take place on Earth. The planet shown has different landmasses than what we can find on the planet. We can also spot a star-shaped spaceship or satellite on the left. It doesn't seem too futuristic. Perhaps this provides us an idea for the game's tone? Starfield might feature tech on the precipice of exploring space properly while taking place in a distinctly futuristic world.
Is there Starfield gameplay?
No, not yet. We do know that it's a sci-fi game. At E3 2019, Elon Musk chatted up Todd Howard about Starfield. From that conversation, it was made known that Starfield space travel will feel shakey.
"Traveling in space in our game, I want to say it's like flight in the '40s, like it's dangerous," says Howard. This implies a very scavenger-esque outlook to spacefaring in Starfield. In the conversation, Howard and Musk also discuss idiosyncratic elements to Starfield like collecting fuel and other things.
Is Elon Musk involved with Starfield?
Yes. Musk is a consultant in some capacity on the upcoming game.
How big will Starfield be?
Due to the limited information available, we don't know how big Starfield will be as a whole. What we do know, is that that there are at least four times the number of devs working on Starfield than Bethesda had on Skyrim or Fallout 4, implying it could be larger in scale.
We know from an interview with Howard that Starfield is exclusively a single-player game with procedurally generated elements, meaning Bethesda will be able to fully direct efforts to improving the single-player. Howard also mentioned that Bethesda's method to procedurally generate content has evolved immensely.
Tying into that, Howard confirmed in the interview that NPCs will play a large role in the game and cities will be massive. All of this to say, it sounds like Starfield will be absolutely massive.
Will Starfield be an Xbox exclusive?
We're not entirely sure yet. Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda's parent company, Zenimax, in September 2020 might mean that the game will be released as an Xbox exclusive. Or Starfield might be too big for that.
Bethesda confirmed in September 2020 that the franchise's MMO spin-off, Elder Scrolls Online, will remain active on PlayStation consoles despite the acquisition. Speaking to Bloomberg, Xbox head Phil Spencer promised that already PlayStation exclusives like Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo would remain timed-exclusive for PlayStation consoles. He further said that all future Bethesda releases will be natively available on Xbox, PC, and Game Pass on the day of release. “We’ll take other consoles on a case-by-case basis,” Spencer said.
That makes it sound as though multiplatform releases are still possible depending on the surrounding circumstances.
Ironically, according to reporter Imran Khan, prior to this announcement Sony was courting Bethesda for timed exclusivity on Starfield. It's unknown if any deal was made, but it could mean that Starfield might still be bound for the PlayStation 5. If there wasn't a deal, Sony might have to spend a bit extra to get Starfield. We'll likely find out what occurred once more information releases on the game.
Are there any Starfield leaks?
Yes! In addition to the potential release date being in 2021, there have been a number of screenshot leaks, showcasing the visual style Starfield is trying to create.
This image is the clearest picture that we've had on Starfield yet. It comes from Twitter user Skullzi, who claims to have received it directly from a Bethesda employee. From the image, we can glean our first look at Starfield's HUD. Players seem to have access to a weapon on hand. The one currently being used appears to be a shotgun. There also seems to be two other gauges. Perhaps one is for health and another is for oxygen? The spacesuit seems a bit janky, which ties into Howard's remark that space travel is dangerous in Starfield.
According to Skullzi, this leak comes from a Starfield 2018 build. The same person also leaked other images, showing more astronauts staring at spaceships. There are also claims that Starfield will feature multiple factions.
Some of these leaks were seemingly confirmed after a Bethesda employee was spotted sporting a shirt with a logo identical to the ones in the leaked photos. If leaks were able to get a very specific icon right, it's likely they got more right as well.
Starfield is now in development.