When it comes out, and why it’s worth waiting for
Bethesda promises a classic adventure experience in the spirit of The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, but this time in a space setting. Starfield, one of the most anticipated RPGs of recent years from the creators of Skyrim, is due out later this year. Here are the key details about the project.
The first new game series for Bethesda in 25 years
In the beginning, Bethesda was doing everything: making sports simulators, games based on the movies, and even racing arcades. But it became world-famous after The Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall was release in 1996. After that, the company had its development studio, Bethesda Game Studios, which dealt only with The Elder Scrolls and Fallout (the only exception – the sequel to IHRA Professional Drag Racing in 2004).
In all, Bethesda Game Studios has only released 9 games – and not a single new franchise among them. In the last 25 years, Starfield is the first franchise the studio has created from scratch.
How it all started
Starfield is somewhat of a dream project for Todd Howard. After the game was announced, an old letter was found online, where he was chatting with a certain Andy Cromkamp a long time ago about various games, including Ultima, The Horde, and System Shock. At the end of the correspondence, the future Bethesda Softworks executive mentioned the space simulator SunDog: Frozen Legacy and fantasized about an RPG in a sci-fi setting. “That would be cool,” Howard noted.
Both The Elder Scrolls and Fallout are about adventure and world exploration. At a certain point, the team wondered why not make a game about the real unknown – space. That’s how the idea for Starfield was born.
The events of Starfield take place in the year 2330 in a small pocket of the Milky Way – about 50 light years from the solar system. In the distant future, the two largest factions have set up the Colonial War, which, even after its end, has made some parts of the galaxy dangerous places. Mercenaries, pirates, bandits, religious fanatics – threats await on every planet.
The main character will be a new employee of Constellation, an organization that explores the galaxy. The player will face dangerous journeys associated with the constant risk to life.
Bethesda also notes that this will be a more realistic game with a scientific basis, a more lively world, and great attention to detail. Just like in Skyrim, players will be able to examine, touch and test everything. The developers were even inspired by Elon Musk’s SpaceX achievements: the design of ships, technology, and perspectives.
The developers are also aiming for interesting, serious themes.
“When you look up into the sky, there’s a desire to know – what’s up there? Are we alone? How did space and time come into being? What role does religion play in all of this? These are the kinds of questions we ask. I think our game is the right place for them. Some movies and books also raise these themes, but we haven’t seen any games like this. Let’s see if we can do it,” Todd Howard.
Starfield was created both by studio veterans who worked on The Elder Scrolls and Fallout and newcomers. According to the head of BGS Angela Broder, the company usually employs people who grew up on these games, so everyone has an idea of how to make “that game from Bethesda. But thanks to fresh blood, we can find the project’s weaknesses and fix them – say, some outdated mechanics.
There are many specialists in the team from different fields: some help design space suits, others help create realistic nature and landscapes, and so on. Many employees are also interested in robotics and engineering and actively apply their knowledge during development. In total, there are four units involved in development – in Washington, D.C., Montreal, Dallas and Austin.
Link to The Elder Scrolls 6 and the influence of Skyrim
Attentive fans of The Elder Scrolls found a ghost in the first teaser of Starfield – the outlines of the Hammerfell and High Rock. This may be where the TES 6 events will unfold: Bethesda still doesn’t want to talk about the new installment of the famous series, preferring to focus on the space game.
Starfield wasn’t supposed to prevent the new The Elder Scrolls game’s release – the studio didn’t plan to take such a huge break between the series’ games. But at a certain point, Bethesda realized that if they launch a new franchise, it’s now – perhaps later, such a chance won’t happen.
Inon Zur is responsible for the music in Starfield. He has already worked on a huge number of games, including Lineage 2, Syberia 2, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4, Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age 2 and others. Zur’s latest works are The Waylanders and Outriders.
Official Gameplay Trailer
Release date and platforms
Starfield will be released on the beautiful date of November 11, 2022 for Skyrim’s 11th anniversary. No pre-orders are open yet, but on Steam, for example, the game can be added to your wish list. Bethesda assures that it will finish everything in time for the announced date – “otherwise, it wouldn’t have been announced.”
Microsoft bought Bethesda in the spring of 2021, so most of the company’s new games (if not all) will be Xbox and Windows exclusives. Specifically, with Starfield, the question is solved – RPG on PS5 is not coming out, at least not in the near future.
Another important feature of the game – the launch on the Xbox Game Pass. Subscription holders will have access to the full game version (both on PC and Xbox Series) on the day of release.
Starfield has already been called “Skyrim in space,” which seems to be the most accurate definition for the new game. But managing director Ashley Cheng gives another definition, “a Han Solo simulator. Take a ship, explore the galaxy, and have fun.
Howard also called Starfield a more hardcore game than the studio’s past releases, though he didn’t go into detail. But he did mention that it will feature some “old-school elements” that have existed in the company’s past games.
The developer also confirmed that the game would be playable in the first or third person, although the authors consider the first option the best. Character customization, skill progression, and decisions that affect the story will also be there.
At Tokyo Game Show, Todd Howard announced that the Japanese localization required the actors to voice 150,000 lines of dialog. That’s twice as much as in Skyrim. In Fallout 4, by comparison, there are 111,000 lines of dialogues.
But there is no information about the size of the world. But taking into account the theme, we have no doubt that the game will be big.
Technology and development
Starfield is developed on Creation Engine 2 – a brand new version of the engine on which no game has yet been released. It is based on the first CE, which was used for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. There are no real gameplay videos of Starfield, so it is too early to judge the graphics. But Bethesda says that this is the biggest engine update since TES 4: Oblivion.
The very first ideas for the game were discussed 10 years ago. 5-6 years ago the studio began to form a concept of the future RPG, and active development started immediately after the Fallout 4 release in 2015.