Starfield Guide: Everything We Know So Far
Starfield stands out among the crowded gaming landscape — not just because it’s Bethesda’s first new IP in more than 25 years. But because the studio itself hails the game as their “end-all, be-all science-fiction game.” This is not just Fallout set in space as some naysayers have suggested.
Still, with the teaser trailer having initially debuted in 2018 and no tangible new information released yet, fans are beginning to wonder. What will Starfield be like? How big will the game be? Will there be weird space magic or intergalactic Death Claw equivalents? No one really knows. But more information is revealed by the studio or via leaks every week it seems.
Here is what we know about Starfield so far.
Starfield Release Date
Fans have speculated as to the release timeline for Starfield endlessly since the game’s reveal trailer. Despite many theories, no one can pin down the development cycle for the game. Recently, some sources indicated that the game was all but finished.
Jason Schreier, a noted games journalist who has many confidants in the gaming industry, has stated the exact opposite. “Bethesda’s plan is to tease a release date for Starfield at E3. That date is in *late* 2022” stated the writer on Twitter.
Furthermore, Fallout 76 development superseded Starfield’s back in 2016. This only protracted the game’s development with studio resources rededicating themselves to Starfield in 2018. The studio is expected to provide more concrete release details at E3 2021.
Rumored Release Date: Late 2022
What Do We Know About Starfield?
Starfield’s setting is still largely unknown, despite the game’s announcement trailer in 2018. Though there have been some leaks, concrete information remains difficult to find and confirm. However, the studio has confirmed that the setting will be the “not too distant future” suggesting a more hard sci-fi setting.
Here’s what else we know about Starfield so far:
- Space travel will still be a bit “Wild West” like. Todd Howard himself described space travel in Starfield as being like “flight in the 40s…it’s dangerous.” This came from a conversation with noted space enthusiast Elon Musk from the E3 Coliseum panel in 2019.
- Bethesda has referred to the game as their “end all, be all science fiction game”. Statements from leaks, the studio themselves, and former studio employees all corroborate this claim
- Gameplay will have a single-player focus with players interacting with both “hand-crafted” and procedurally generated content. This means more unique NPC interactions, as well as some generic aspects, too
What Is Starfield’s Setting?
The game is set some 200 years after our own current time period. But not much more is known beyond that. Some fans have posited that this could be another alternate timeline as seen in the Fallout games.
Starfield Technical Requirements & Platforms
With each passing year, games make use of the latest technology available. This often results in stellar graphics and performance except for a few instances, such as Cyberpunk 2077. Fans expect Starfield, a game focused on interstellar exploration, to be beautiful, unique, and gripping.
But Bethesda games are not known for their exceptionally picturesque games. Yes, with the right mods and hardware, people can get Skyrim looking more beautiful than the Swiss countryside. But how will Starfield use technology? Moreover, what platforms will Starfield release on?
What Engine Will Starfield Use?
Bethesda games always use their proprietary engine, known as the Creation Engine. With Starfield being a “next-gen” game set in space, many die-hard fans had their doubts about the dated engine’s capabilities.
As such, Todd Howard assured the public that the engine would see major overhauls and updates to accommodate the new game’s technical requirements. For reference, the last time this engine got an overhaul was for the Elder Scrolls: Oblivion title between 2002 and 2006.
Starfield on Xbox vs. Starfield on Steam
Bethesda has long garnered a relationship with both PC and console platforms. When the technology became available, the studio jumped at the opportunity to make their games available via every platform. This rings true for Fallout 76 coming to mobile, as well, despite the collective side-eye from long-term franchise fans.
However, given the finalization of Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax Media (Bethesda’s parent company), what platforms Starfield will come out on comes into question. Xbox Game Pass all but ensures that the game will be released on Xbox platforms and PC platforms.
Will Starfield Be On PlayStation Consoles?
This stands out as a point of contention for fans. Initially, Starfield had been under negotiations to become a Sony and PlayStation exclusive. After Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda and their sibling studios MachineGames and Arkane, it is not known if Starfield will make its way onto a PlayStation console.
Will Starfield Have Mods?
One of the best things about Bethesda games is how moddable they are. The modding community has created absolutely incredible mods from Creatures and Monsters of the Commonwealth to Randy “Macho Man” Savage dragons in Skyrim. But fans don’t know whether or not Starfield will continue this grand tradition.
However, Todd Howard has mentioned numerous times how much he sees both AI and the Cloud leveraged for the benefits of games. As seen with DLSS across compatible Nvidia cards, AI can definitely be used to drastically improve graphical capabilities. Fans hope to have the same level of moddability, regardless of the technology used.
Creating an “epic sci-fi” game was the second item on Todd Howard’s games wishlist that he created in 2004. In service of that wish, it’s been said that the concept for Starfield has been under discussion for almost ten years.
In fact, Bethesda did create a space combat game known as The 10th Planet back in 1997. This game, for its time, was extremely ambitious with tons of features still difficult to produce in games today such as:
- Gigantic alien ships in the style of the film Independence Day
- Large-scale space battles with “sci-fi armies” and ships
- Sweeping cinematics
- Star Wars Tie Fighter-style dogfights in space
- A general story of defending your star system from alien invaders
Though this game had to be scrapped, Starfield could pull inspiration from the original vision.
Will Starfield Be Like Skyrim?
Todd Howard et al have described Starfield as “having the DNA” of a traditional Bethesda game. That is to say that the game will have the same kind of visceral world that feels alive. In that regard, it will be similar to the worlds found in Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and Fallout 4.
Is Starfield Single Player?
Bethesda’s most recent works have been multiplayer games – Fallout 76 and Elder Scrolls Online. But the studio prospers most when creating single-player, RPG-style, and exploration-driven worlds.
To that end, Starfield is planned as an exclusively single-player experience. For now, there are no known plans to bring multiplayer into the fold of the game.
No gameplay footage for Starfield has surfaced yet. Despite the lack of gameplay knowledge, we can deduct certain things about the game’s overall mechanics, tone, combat, and systems.
For instance, the leaked image of the spaceship and the survey regarding spaceship construction suggest that spaceship customization will be a feature in Starfield.
What Kind Of Game Is Starfield?
Starfield will, obviously, be a game set in space, but Bethesda has much more planned for the game than your average space game. So far, here’s what fans expect Starfield to be and have:
- Single-player, open-world sci-fi RPG
- Operates on the newly revamped Creation Engine (Bethesda’s proprietary engine)
- Utilizes systems from past Bethesda games such as Fallout 4, but it will “push those systems even further”
- Features a balance of “Hand-crafted” vs. procedurally generated content
- Ship maintenance and upgrade system
- Gravity mechanics
Reddit user Adridactelo mocked up what parts might be customizable on a player’s spacesuit (above). For now, fans are left to wonder about the majority of Starfield’s gameplay.
How Big Will Starfield Be?
No one really knows how big Starfield will be. As an open-world, space exploration game with a frontier vibe, the game will have to be of great size. Given Bethesda’s past work, it stands to reason that the game will be sizable with lots of far corners with unique stories and visuals.
Lessons From Fallout 76 & Elder Scrolls: Online
Like another space exploration game that had a rocky start, Starfield could encounter lots of issues if it went the multiplayer route. Despite the lackluster fan response to Fallout 76, Bethesda has maintained support for ESO with the most recent expansion being Blackwood.
Even if the studio never introduces multiplayer into Starfield, they can extrapolate data from the success of ESO and the failure of Fallout 76. With Skyrim and Fallout 4 being older games, their systems are clunky by comparison. ESO and Fallout 76 both tell Bethesda how to modernize their particular RPG experience — even from a single-player perspective.
With so little concrete information available, fans have scraped the internet for any shred to explain Starfield. From artist inspiration boards on Pinterest to what might be the word “constellation” in the teaser trailer, fans are rabid for more details.
The teaser trailer also sparked two other rumors with one related to a barely seeable person walking along the outside of the space station or telescope object. The second rumor relates to whatever cosmic event takes place in the trailer. This could be an event horizon, a wormhole, a time jump, or something else entirely.
Starfield: Another Alternate Timeline?
What some fans posit about the potential word “constellation” is a reference to a canceled NASA project. In 2009, NASA initiated a space-flight-centric project known as Constellation that involved lunar and Martian exploration. With Bethesda’s alternate timeline in the Fallout series, fans suggest that they are merely doing the same thing with this canceled NASA project.
What if Project Constellation had continued and humans had returned to the moon?
Possible Starfield Factions
Fans have been hard at work deciphering every possible easter egg and detail. Some have discovered what they believe to be the factions that will comprise the Starfield universe.
- TEC – some kind of manufacturer
- Axion Energy – an energy company, provider, and seller
- BlackFleet – the name of the spaceship from leaks
- Kreet World Base – the 2018/2020 station from leaks
- Space Nation Alliance (SNA) – an important faction in the game
Is Tom Cruise In Starfield?
It’s no secret that video games bring in huge Hollywood stars for added notoriety and marketability. Star Citizen’s Squadron 42 is riddled with famous faces, so Bethesda recruiting Tom Cruise isn’t terribly farfetched.
But this rumor, originating from a potentially farcical tweet, seems like it won’t come to fruition.
Some fans believe that Bethesda will announce a mobile app or game companion to Starfield before the full game release. As some career listings for the studio have included mobile developers, the idea is not totally unfounded.
Other tin-foil hat theorists suspect that Starfield will be delayed due to the release of a mobile remake or remaster of a different Bethesda title.
What The Microsoft Purchase Means For Starfield
Microsoft announced its purchase of Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax Media in September 2020. However, that deal was not finalized until March of 2021. With Bethesda now under Microsoft’s umbrella, perhaps the large corporation wants to leverage its many resources for Starfield.
The merger puts Bethesda in party with both historically and recently successful games studios. This includes 343 (Halo franchise), Ninja Theory (Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice), Rare (Banjo Kazooie, Perfect Dark, Sea Of Thieves), Obsidian Entertainment (Fallout: New Vegas, The Outer Worlds), and more.
With such a robust network of talent at their disposal that still includes other sibling studios Arkane and MachineGames, Starfield could definitely see some extra attention from Microsoft’s leadership.
Bethesda E3 2021 Announcement
Bethesda recently released news that they have a big announcement coming on June 13, 2021. Watch this post for all of the latest updates about Starfield as information becomes available.
Currently, there is no slated announcement for Starfield; there is only a “Secret” slot in the Bethesda announcement schedule.
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