Starfield is coming, it's just we have to wait for some point in the first-half of 2023. And despite this release window creeping closer, Bethesda hasn't revealed a huge amount more about Starfield since an Xbox game showcase earlier this year.
This could be done to the developer wanting to keep a lot of surprises under wraps. Or perhaps we could get some new game footage and details before 2022 comes to a close. So with that in mind, here's what we know about Starfield so far.
Starfield latest news and rumors (updated November 30)
- Starfield has survival elements but Todd Howard says it won’t warp your mind with dull tasks.
- Microsoft has said Starfield will be released after Redfall, meaning we're looking at a May or June release.
- Todd Howards talks Starfield's hard sci-fi, big dialogue and more.
- Starfield's main story campaign should take 30-40 hours to complete, although the game will be longer if you want to see everything.
- Starfield’s first gameplay trailer is everything we could have wanted.
Starfield release window
Initially, Starfield was supposed to arrive on November 11, 2022. However, Bethesda delayed the game until the first half of 2023, citing a desire for "the best, most polished [version]."
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 quite happy for the developer to take its time here.
According to Microsoft, Starfield will be released after Redfall, which has us thinking it will arrive May or June 2023. This comes from Matt Booty, Xbox Game Studios' boss, who discussed Starfield on the Friends Per Second podcast (opens in new tab), noting when it came to a release date, Booty confirmed that Redfall will come out first, with Starfield following after.
The first Starfield gameplay trailer dropped during the Xbox & Bethesda Game Showcase. We saw various gameplay mechanics, including planetary exploration, shooting combat, customization and even a bit of space combat. Based on this trailer, we'd say the hype for Starfield is more than justified.
The latest Starfield video from Bethesda involved studio director Todd Howard answering a number of questions about Starfield.
In it he tackles how Starfield will embrace the idea of hard sci-fi without making it a pain to paly. For example, ships won’t run out of fuel, avoiding the “you die in space cold" conundrum.
Howard noted how the game will have 252,953 different dialogue lines in Starfield, compared to the mere 60,000 lines in Skyrim. As such, expect a lot of close-up conversations with a range of characters, in that “classic Bethesda-style dialogue."
Game footage from a Bethesda and Xbox showcase from Summer 2022, revealed how Starfield will be an open-world game that will see players bounce between multiple worlds with different environments.
Like previous Fallout and Elder Scrolls games, there'll be first-person exploration and combat, with plenty of dialogue and story interspersed between the action.
However, Starfield will be more than just ;Skyrim in space,' according to Microsoft's Matt Booty.
“Having had the chance over the last year and a half or so to spend more time with Todd Howard and see how he works and see what he brings to game design, I’m confident that he’s not gonna sit still on what was built before,” said Booty. “It’s not [Howard’s] approach to come in and reskin something right? So there’s going to be an awful lot of things that move forward with this game, just from my view […] the thing that excites me first is the visual style.”
And you'll be able to setup based in various location as well as customize your ship. Speaking of which you'll be able to pilot it and engage in space combat; just expect it to be a more sedate affair than the likes of Star Wars: Squadrons, given these will be big ship that'll be zapping each other than nimble starfighters.
Apparently there'll be more than 1,000 planets to explore, thanks to procedural generation. But we suspect a lot of these will be optional places to visit than making Starfield an unwieldy game.
Starfield will lean into hard sci-fi rather than the more fantasy settings of Star Trek and Star Wars. And that means there'll be survival elements, but thankfully Todd Howard has said they will won't be an irritating obstacle to exploration.
“When you actually play the game, because it’s a game we don’t actually kill you when you fly out in space,” Howard told YouTuber and interviewer Lex Fridman (opens in new tab). “But it has a tone of there's some effort involved and we’ve dialed it back as we’ve been making the game. Whereas we used to [let players] run out of fuel; you’d jump and get stranded, which on paper is a great moment when you get stranded and you’ve got to press this beacon and you don’t know who’s going to come.
“Turns out that just stops your game. We’ve found you’ll be playing the game and ‘I ran out of fuel, OK, I guess I’ll just wander these planets trying to mine for fuel so I can get back to what I was doing. It’s just, you know, it’s a fun killer.”
Starfield's main story is a bit of an enigma. Humanity has explored a lot of space, so the next frontier/left over mystery is something to do with a ring-like artefact. THis is where the Constellation organization comes in forming "the last group of space explorers", which the player's character will surely join as part of the main quest.
Across this adventure, we can expect Starfield players to encounter all manner of factions such as the Freestar Collective, a libertarian confederation and one of two main governments in the Settled Systems, and the pirate-like Crimson Fleet.
Bethesda boss Todd Howards told The Telegraph (opens in new tab) that Starfield would be like "NASA meets Indiana Jones meets the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen."
So we'd posit that means exploration with Constellation will involve some alien stuff going on.
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
Bethesda has shown off art work 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.
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.
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.
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 fish with "psychotropic" properties and developed a drug called "Aurora" to turn its fortunes around.
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.
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.
Another teaser trailer and developer chat showcases some more artwork and footage form Starfield. And it's looking like it'll be a heady mix of Skyrim open-world/open-galaxy exploration with the hard sci-fi setting of TV series The Expanse.
Rather than opt for glistening spaceships and clean interiors, Starfield seems to favor function over form with ships that look like they could be conceivably designed by NASA.
Interiors aren't festooned with holographic panels or smooth surfaces, but instead seem to be using every bit of surface space as storage with an emphasis on practicality not sci-fi glamour.
We've had plenty of traditional sci-fi games in the pass, notably most recently with Mass Effect Legendary Edition. So a game in a grittier, more realistic sci-fi setting is definitely compelling and almost a breath of fresh air, well metaphorically speaking,
Starfield Xbox Series X and PC exclusive
Starfield is starting to shape up to be a very special game. So far we've seen some proper game footage, thought that's yet to give a serious flavor of what to expect from the game as a whole.
So far it looks like a cross between Skyrim and Fallout 4, with some No Man's Sky elements. But it could be a lot more than a sum of those parts, with a lot more depth than all three in a setting that may offer 1,000 planets to explore but also has a fine degree of tailored content.
There's definitely more we need to hear about Starfield, but it looks set to potentially be another trailblazer of a game for Bethesda and we're excited to try it.