While the gaming world waits for The Elder Scrolls 6, developer and publisher is Bethesda is working on another major game: Starfield.
Unlike the swords and sorcery of Skyrim and the retro-future world of Fallout, Starfield is a spacefaring sci-fi game. And like a lot of sci-fi games and movies, Starfield is rather enigmatic - at least in its current form.
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Bethesda has released a teaser trailer for the game that hints at the direction it might take. Other than that, there’s really not a vast amount of information about the game. But we’d done a little digging to see if we can find out more, so read on to for everything we know so far.
Starfield release date
Bethesda hasn’t even hinted at when Starfield might come out. In fact, it’s not said much about the game at all. So at the moment, you’ll just have to accept this section as a placeholder that we’ll update once we know more.
However, Bethesda has said Starfield will come out before The Elder Scrolls 6. That next installment in the hugely popular open-world RPG series is a long way off, potentially some five years away. That would suggest that Starfield is likely a couple of years away, and would likely land on PS5 and Xbox Series X in addition to PC. Apparently, Starfield is in a playable form but Bethesda isn’t in a position to show it off yet.
We’d hazard a guess that we might get some game footage of Starfield next year. And there’s an outside chance that there could even be some more details and a trailer this year, around the fall in lieu of Gamescom and other such games showcases. But we don’t expect Starfield to arrive before 2022.
Having said all that, a known Microsoft insider called NateDrake on the Resetera forum has claimed that Bethesda could launch Starfield this year as "there has been a strong hope & desire to have Starfield launch this [year]."
We're rather skeptical of this, but the tipster did note that it's difficult to tell how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the development of Starfield, but that "as of a few months ago" the game was slated for a 2021 launch, Don't hold your breath is our advice.
Here's the debut Starfield trailer, which was first shown off during E3 2018.
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.
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.
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.
A trio of images allegedly from Starfield has popped up on Imgur seemingly teasing a third-person game based in a gritty, hard sci-fi setting.
The first image shows what looks like an interface showing the balance of O2 and CO2 for what would appear to be a spacesuit, which would suggest there could be some form of survival element in Starfield where you have to keep an eye on your breathable air levels.
And speaking of ships, another image shows a bulky spacecraft. Rather than resemble a slick ship from the likes of Star Trek, this ship looks like a cross between a NASA rocket and something out of Star Wars, mixing a utilitarian look with that ‘lived in’ aesthetic many Star Wars ships have. There's no sign of weaponry on the ship’s hull, which might suggest the game is all about space exploration rather than combat.
The third image appears to be a screenshot and shows an astronaut standing outside of what’s probably a spaceship, with the aforementioned air-monitoring user interface in the bottom left-hand corner. On the opposite side, there's a UI element showing off what appears to be a gun and ammo count, which would suggest the game won’t be combat free once you’re out of your spaceship.
All we have from these images of Starfield, if they are indeed from the game, are best guesses. Starfield appears to still be some ways off, so we’ll just have to wait and see what Bethesda will reveal at some point in the future.
Much like the rest of Starfield, its story is a bit of an enigma. The trailer simply shows an Earth-like planet with a spacecraft/space station/satelite/probe orbiting it. And as the trailer comes to a close there’s a burst of light and warping of the blackness of space, which seemingly sucks in the orbiting craft.
This could be some form of hyperspace travel or a strange anomaly that’s warped space-time. It could be that the burst of light is the start of some catastrophic event that will frame the narrative of Starfield.
Given the satellite or space ship was seeming sucked into the light, it could be a wormhole that has transported the craft into another part of the galaxy, leaving the player to effectively play the role of an outsider in a distant quadrant of the Milky Way. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the plot of Farscape, a Jim Henderson sci-fic TV series from the early 2000s.
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.
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 the PS5 and 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.