In 2018, Bethesda delivered a shock to fans of its games at E3: it announced a new game that wasn’t part of its existing series. That was a huge move since Bethesda hadn’t released any new intellectual property in 25 years. The game was Starfield, but while Bethesda showed a brief trailer when it announced the game, it hasn’t shown anything else since then.
While Bethesda hasn’t shown any of the game or explained exactly what it is or will be about, a few clues have been dropped along the way that hint at what we can expect from the studio’s new IP. With E3 looming, there’s another chance that Bethesda might be about to drop a bunch of new Starfield information on us. So here’s everything we know about Starfield so far.
What Is Starfield’s Release Date?
The bit of information most wished for when it comes to Starfield is also the one that’s most obscure. Bethesda hasn’t said when Starfield will be released or even given an idea of when we can expect it. Part of this is taking a “when it’s ready” approach to the game–we’ve learned almost nothing about the game so far, and most of the hype around it derives from Bethesda’s reputation as an RPG developer. Since we’ve seen almost nothing about it, it’s a fair bet that Starfield is still a long way out; sometime in 2022 seems possible, but even that speculation is a shot in the dark.
It’s worth noting, however, that Bethesda does occasionally like to drop a big game reveal on the public that begins a very short run-up to release. We saw that with Fallout 4, which Bethesda announced in June 2015 and released in November of that same year. So it’s possible we’ll suddenly find Starfield bearing down on us out of nowhere. And hey…it’s June.
So Will Starfield Be At E3?
Another big, open question about which we have only rumor and speculation. Bethesda has often had a very big presence at E3, where it likes to put together showcases for all its games. That situation is somewhat different now that Bethesda is under the Microsoft umbrella, with Bethesda joining the Xbox Showcase (now the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase) on June 13. We haven’t heard anything official yet about whether Starfield will be shown off there, but some think there might be a hint that we’ll see something new from the game this month.
That hint is in the on its announcement for the event. It includes some Halo characters, including Master Chief, set against a spacey background. The bottom of the logo is a planet in space, and it sure does look like the desert planet shown off in Starfield’s teaser trailer from 2018. In fact, as noted, comparisons have already been made on Twitter that are very interesting.
What’s more, there are reports that , with the announcement of a release date. That date won’t be anytime soon, however–according to reports, the game is slated to come out in late 2022.
Starfield has no confirmed platforms. When it was first announced, Bethesda director and executive producer Todd Howard mentioned that Bethesda wouldn’t compromise on its vision just to get the game to work on older-generation consoles, and leaving them behind in is “not out of the question.” However, it has since been rumored that . We’ll be sure to update this feature once we know more.
The 2018 Teaser Trailer
We haven’t actually seen anything of Starfield in action. Back at E3 2018, Bethesda teased the game for the first time with a very brief trailer that gives only the barest sense of what it might be like.
The trailer shows the sun flaring over a planet before also revealing a space station with a very current-technology look. A second later, a rip in space appears that seems to suck everything in. It has the look of a bright Star Trek-like warp field, but it could be anything–a singularity, a wormhole, a space anomaly, or a cool special effect to end your trailer on. At this point, who knows.
Starfield – Official Announcement Trailer | E3 2018
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It’s An Open-World, Single-Player RPG Of Some Kind
While we haven’t heard almost anything about Starfield, we have a bit of a broad-strokes idea of what it’ll eventually become. Bethesda is known for its expansive open-world RPGs, like The Elder Scrolls series and the Fallout series, and it sounds like Starfield will also exist in that wheelhouse. During a , Bethesda Game Studios managing director Ashley Cheng noted that the experience of the development team working on the game. She noted that many people on the team sported a great deal of experience working on open-world RPGs–heavily implying that Starfield is also one of those games.
“Today, the team working on Starfield have all worked on several open-world RPGs together. This shared experience and chemistry doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a long time and it’s a lot of hard work,” Cheng said.
So at the very least, we can expect that Starfield won’t deviate too much from what people already like about Bethesda games. But that’s a wide (star)field. Back in a 2018 interview with Eurogamer, Howard was reticent to say that Starfield would be like either an Elder Scrolls or Fallout game.
“I don’t want to say yes or no to that because I don’t know what that means to you or whoever’s going to read that,” Howard said in the interview. “It’s different, but if you sit down and play it you would recognise it as something we made if that makes sense? It has our DNA in it. It has things that we like. But it has a lot of new systems we’ve been thinking about for a while that fit that kind of game really well.”
And even among what are considered “Bethesda games,” there’s a fair amount of variety. While they deliver story and conversations in similar ways, The Elder Scrolls games are high fantasy titles that have you wielding melee weapons, bows, and magic, while the Fallout games are all about cool guns. Fallout 4 added a whole lot more crafting and base-building to the formula, further differentiating it from, say, Skyrim. So there’s definitely latitude for Starfield to be pretty different from Bethesda’s other titles, even if it does have a lot of the same open-world RPG elements, like branching stories and massive worlds to explore.
Bethesda’s Engine Got An Overhaul For Starfield
In September 2020, Bethesda released a statement about how much the acquisition by Microsoft and the release of its new Xbox Series X and S were impacting the work the studio was doing on its games. In that statement, Howard said the new technology had led to “.”
“With each new console cycle, we evolved together. From bringing mods to consoles with , now over a billion downloads, to the latest technologies fueling Xbox Series X/S,” Howard said. “These new systems are optimized for the vast worlds we love to create, with generational leaps not just in graphics, but CPU and data streaming as well. It’s led to our largest engine overhaul since , with all new technologies powering our first new IP in 25 years, Starfield, as well as .”
For years now, Bethesda has powered its games with its Creation engine, which is the technology behind The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, as mentioned, as well as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout 4, and Fallout 76. So this makes it pretty clear that Starfield also uses the Creation engine–albeit an overhauled version that takes into account a whole lot of new technology and hardware capabilities. Generally, though, we can likely expect Starfield to have the same sort of visual and gameplay feel of Bethesda’s other games.
Starfield Will Be On Xbox Game Pass
This is a bit of an obvious one, but it bears repeating. With Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda, the publisher announced that new Bethesda games would appear on Xbox Game Pass at release–and that includes Starfield. So while we don’t know exactly when Starfield will come out, we do know that if you’re a Game Pass subscriber, you’ll very likely have instant access to it on either PC or Xbox Series X|S, and possibly both.
Starfield is currently not available for preorder. However, we’ll be sure to update this feature once listings are available.