Although we haven’t officially seen Starfield in nearly two years, there’s still a lot to be excited about. Not only is it Bethesda’s first self-developed title not in the Fallout or Elder Scrolls franchises, but it finally gives Todd Howard the ability to create something unlike anything we’ve seen before.
After the release of Fallout 76, Bethesda went through a bit of a rough patch. Starfield has the potential to restore the company’s reputation and at just the right time considering the massive hype revolving around The Elder Scrolls 6.
If you’re interested in Bethesda games, here’s everything you need to know about Starfield, including its release date, gameplay, leaks and more.
Starfield release date
Starfield has not been given an official release date as of yet, but there’s some information we can use to speculate about potential release windows. Pete Hines, the vice president of PR and marketing at Bethesda, claimed during a Gamescom livestream that it’s going to take some time before we see anything from Starfield.
“There is not a whole lot we can do until it’s ready.” he continues, “it’s gonna be a while til we get there.” This interview happened in August, and while it’s vague, it implies we’re not seeing anything from Starfield for the rest of 2020.
In an interview with James Batchelor, Todd Howard also revealed that fans won't be seeing Starfield for quite a while. However, this interview was conducted a few months ago now, so who knows when we'll actually see Starfield again.
Pete Hines also confirmed that the announcement of Bethesda's Indiana Jones game will not impact plans for Starfield and Elder Scrolls VI. "Todd is currently EP on many other projects, such as the Fallout TV show. His main focus remains Directing the upcoming Starfield and TES6 games, which aren't affected by today's news."
Venture Beat reporter Jeff Grub has reason to believe that Starfield will launch in 2021. He claims Bethesda is aiming for a similar release cycle as seen with Fallout 4, where the game launched only a few months after gameplay was shown. It's possible we'll see footage of Starfield during the Summer and it'll release towards the end of the year.
Rand al Thor, co-host of The Xbox Two podcast, claims that Starfield is "100% an Xbox exclusive." He also claims that "the game's basically finished" but it's in "bug squashing mode right now." This could mean we see Starfield sometime this year.
It’s hard to say what Starfield will actually play like considering we haven’t seen any gameplay footage, but it’s not difficult to speculate based on what we know about typical Bethesda games.
Starfield will likely feature the ability to freely switch between first and third-person camera perspectives, which has been common throughout the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series. In each of its games, Bethesda ensures players feel like the setting is sufficiently interactive to compliment the overall theme. Skyrim, for example, takes place in a high fantasy world where players can forge armor, master powerful abilities, enroll in a college for mages, and join a seedy organization for assassins.
As Starfield takes place in the vast expanse of space, Bethesda will likely allow players similar interactivity, but in ways that suit the setting. I can imagine Starfield featuring ship modifications, an organization of smugglers, high-tech weaponry, equipment that can be upgraded, bizarre alien planets and ship-combat. Obviously, this is all speculation, especially since we know very little about Starfield.
The game was also confirmed to be entirely single-player, which isn't surprising after the less-than-successful launch of Fallout 76. Additionally, Bethesda hasn't been known for releasing multiplayer experiences, so it isn't shocking for the company to return to its roots.
Starfield takes place in space in some capacity, which is pretty much the only thing we know about its setting. It could be a dark, futuristic science-fiction about how humanity is dangerously low on resources and needs to expand its grasp outside of the solar system. Or it could have nothing to do with Earth, and could revolve around all sorts of colorful alien lifeforms while the player travels throughout bizarre environments.
I hope Starfield represents a wide spectrum of unique alien races that the player can create relationships with, whether that be in the form of romance, friendship or rivalry. The Elder Scrolls series has always allowed the player to pick from a handful of fantasy races when creating a character, so I’d love for Starfield to do the same.
I loathe the idea of Starfield featuring dozens of planets only for them to be inhabited by generic humanoids within earth-like environments. If I’m flying my ship toward an alien planet teeming with life, I expect it to be unlike anything I have never experienced. This isn’t to say that earth-like planets can’t be prominent, but I’d at least prefer if the game featured a healthy balance between exotic and ordinary.
This comes with the expectation that the game is more colorful. If Starfield intends to go into a darker direction where humanity is scattered, and our rugged spaceships are barely chugging us across space, it’s expected that the game will be gritty.
If the game is gloomy, I hope Bethesda understands the value of an ambient soundtrack, muted colors and the utilization of darkness to instill fear into the player. If we're going to explore a world ripe with hopelessness, I want flying through space to not feel adventurous, but terrifying.
There's one thing we currently do know about the game's setting, and this is that it will feature expansive cities, larger than we've ever seen in a Bethesda game before. This is thanks to the overhauled Creation Engine, which allows the developers to craft larger worlds.
Starfield supposedly had a few images leak that revealed a surprising number of details.
In the first image, we see the model of a rugged spaceship. Immediately, this implies a less high-tech version of humanity, as the ship is beat up, has paint scratches, and looks like the engineer had stuffed a bunch of scrap together to make a barely-functioning spacecraft. This sorta evokes the feeling of a space western.
However, the second image paints a different picture. We see our protagonist floating in front of a spaceship that looks far more modern and well-kept. Additionally, the playable character's space suit looks a lot like a modern Extravehicular Mobility Unit, the suits Nasa use to traverse space.
Additionally, we see a weapon icon on the bottom right that looks a lot like a sawed-off shotgun. It could potentially be a futuristic laser-based weapon with a similar shape, but if it is a sawed-off shotgun, the setting will likely be more realistic than fantastical.