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Starfield release date, trailer, gameplay and more

Starfield art
(Image credit: Bethesda)

We've finally been given our first proper glance at Starfield, thanks to the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase at E3 2021. And while we don't know a lot about the game yet, it's coming 2022 and could be a lot like Skyrim in space. That's handy as the wait for The Elder Scrolls 6 seems a long way off. 

There's a hard sci-fi vibe to Starfield from what we've seen so far, something that's more Ridley Scott's Alien than Star Wars. And going by art work for the game, it looks like there'll be a rather enigmatic plot to Starfield. 

It looks like space exploration, and possibly survival on inhospitable planets could play a part, as well as cheese sandwiches. With that in mind, here's what we know about Starfield so far. 

Starfield latest news and rumors (updated October 21)

Starfield release date  

Starfield release date

Starfield is coming November 11, 2022 (Image credit: Bethesda)

Bethesda revealed that Starfield will arrive on November 11, 2022. That means we've got some 17 months to go. 

However we can expect more Starfield details before that, with Bethesda likely using the some what vague trailer to build up excitement around its original IP. Given some Bethesda games have launched in a rather buggy state, we're quote happy for the developer to take its time here. 

Starfield trailer 

E3 2021 saw the first proper trailer for Starfield. It shows what could be the in-game engine, but seems rather vague on concrete details. Expect a sci-fi world that's all about handling the rigours of space travel rather than the 'laser swords' of Star Wars. 

A second video gives us a closer look at the development behind Starfield and how it'll be the first "new universe" from Bethesda in 25 years. 

Starfield gameplay  

No game footage from Starfield has been revealed yet and even the trailer for it doesn’t give much away either. But given it’s an in-house Bethesda game, we suspect it will blend sci-fi space exploration with the open-world, choose-your-own-adventure format of the likes of Skyrim and Fallout 4.  

Starfield gun and sandwich

Starfield could be an open-world space exploration game (Image credit: Bethesda)

So expect to pilot a ship, or a variety of ships, across the inky blackness of space and through brightly coloured nebulas and around asteroid fields. All with the aim to explore a variety of environments by landing on planets, moons, space station and other astral bodies. 

And that could all be framed around a main story with branching strands that players can choose to pursue in one go or dip in and out of while digging into side quests and other stories not core to the main plot. 

Starfield ship

Starfield looks like it has some chunky spaceships  (Image credit: Bethesda)

We suspect there’ll be a lot of player customization that will also extend to space ships. Of course, that's assuming that there are indeed space flight elements, and that Starfield is not simply set on a space station in the vein of System Shock, Prey, and Alien Isolation.  

Ideally, we’d like to see a game that is effectively an open-world Mass Effect, mixing exploration with a compelling choice-heavy story, with some space-sim elements thrown into the mix. There aren’t a vast amount of space-sim or space-based RPGs around, so there’s definitely a gap in the gaming world Bethesda could fill with Starfield. 

Starfield story  

Much like the rest of Starfield, its story is a bit of an enigma. The latest trailer gives off the feeling that exploration of a new region of space will play a big part of the game's plot. 

"For me, Starfield is the Han Solo simulator," Bethesda executive Ashley Cheng told The Washington Post. "Get in a ship, explore the galaxy, do fun stuff."

And Bethesda boss Todd Howards told The Telegraph that Starfield would be like "NASA meets Indiana Jones meets the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." 

So we'd posit that means exploration with some alien stuff going on, particularly as part of the latest trailer showed what looks like a diagram for some form of ring-baaed portal or teleporter structure. 

Starfield trailer

Starfield could involve the alien artefact exploration  (Image credit: Bethesda)

Regardless of the actual narrative, as Starfield is a Bethesda game we can expect it to have all manner of quests, characters, and dialogue options to explore, with a story that somewhat reacts to what the player does and the decisions they make. We just really hope that Bethesda spends a lot of time on making the main story thoroughly engaging, with site missions that tie in with it. 

Skyrim had a thoroughly passable main story, but the side quests were more interesting. That’s no bad thing, but a compelling main story is definitely something we really want to have from a sci-fi game, much like that of Star Wars: The Knights of the Old Republic II and Mass Effect. 

Starfield setting and locations

A new and official trailer from Bethesda has shown off art work and a brief snipped of gameplay for Starfield, namely around The Settled Systems setting. 

This location is some 50 light-years away from our own Solar System, which isn't hugely far away in space terms. But this interstellar setting was ravaged by war and is still far from safe. 

One location looks rather idyllic in a very Star Trek way, seemingly blending a cityscape with a wood. 

Starfield concept art planet

(Image credit: Bethesda)

But another image shows off an arid landscape dotted with spindly, otherworldly trees and no shortage of rocks. This looks like one area that you'll need to pack a gun for. 

Starfield planet artwork

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Speaking of guns, another bit of artwork shows off three characters garbed in a very Star Wars-like lived in spacesuits. Each one has a distinct style and hints at the numerous faction that are likely in Starfield. 

Starfield concept art characters

(Image credit: Bethesda)

An earlier batch of unlisted trailers have shown off a trio of potential Starfield locations

Neon is a "pleasure city" full of bright lights and futuristic-looking buildings. It was built upon an a giant fishing platform "on a rather nondescript aquatic world" by the Xenofresh Corporation. The company then came across a a fish with "psychotropic" properties and developed a drug called "Aurora" to turn its fortunes around. 

Starfield location - Neon

(Image credit: Bethesda)

New Atlantis is a space port and the capital of the United Colonies, described as "the most powerful, established military and political faction in the game." It looks suitably sci-fi with flying cars and looming skyscrapers. 

Starfield location - New Atlantis

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Then there's Akila City, the capital of the Freestar Collective.  Akila is populated by a diverse set of people who share a strong belief in personal freedom and individuality. 

Yet that freedom is arguably brought into question given the city is surrounded by a wall to keep out creatures called Ashta, described as "alien predators that are a cross between a wolf and a velociraptor." This could be one location to visit suitably well-armed. 

Starfield location - Akila

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Starfield Xbox Series X and PC exclusive

Starfield ship

Starfield is likely to have spaceship piloting  (Image credit: Bethesda)

If you've found an Xbox Series X restock or have one of our best gaming PCs, then you're in luck as Starfield will be an exclusive game for those platforms. 

We're afraid to say PS5 owners are all out of luck. But then they do get Deathloop, which is a Bethesda-made exclusive coming to Sony's new games console

Starfield outlook 

Starfield spaceship pilot

We hope Starfield has some deep space exploration (Image credit: Bethesda)

While we really want another Elder Scrolls game, we’re very interested to see what Bethesda does with Starfield, given it’s a brand new IP from the gaming giant. 

It’s set to be a next-generation game, so we’re expecting it to look very impressive on Xbox Series X. But aside from that, there’s scope for Starfield to be space-faring sci-fi Skyrim or something that’s more akin to space-sims such as Elite Dangerous.

Either way, we’re excited to see what Starfield will turn out to be. Bethesda has a strong pedigree of making and publishing impressive games. So it’s got a lot of experience to draw from, though that also comes with a lot of expectations from fans as well. For the time being, we’ll just have to wait and see what Bethesda reveals next. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer is U.K. Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face. 

  • Arcendus
    Title: "Starfield release, trailer, gameplay and more"

    Contents of article: No release date, no trailer (except the old-news teaser from 2018), no gameplay, and no "more".

    Why is a reputable outlet like Tom's Guide still stooping so low as to click-bait?