Despite The Continuous Delays, Bethesda’s Starfield Shows Promise
Bethesda’s a behemoth when it comes to making AAA video games, and it continues to work its magic as a publisher, but the same can’t be said of the company as a developer. Don’t get me wrong, Bethesda’s Fallout, and Elder Scrolls games are high-quality works of art, but nearly 8 years have passed since they last released a new narrative adventure. The next masterpiece they’ve promised us is Starfield, a trek across outer space that’ll take our breath away when we play it.
Surprisingly, this will mark the first new IP Bethesda has made in over 25 years. From all the gameplay footage we’ve seen, it’s a “so far so good” sort of situation right now, but in Bethesda’s history, they’ve never missed with their titles — except, well, Fallout 76, that one was a disaster. In any case, there’s a lot to talk about Bethesda’s upcoming IP, so let’s dive right into everything you need to know before buying Starfield, including its release date, gameplay, and scope.
Starfield Release Date
After two consecutive delays, there’s finally word from the studio on Starfield’s release date. The game’s now scheduled to arrive on September 6, 2023. As exciting as that sounds, I’d say hold your horses. You never know when you’re on the brink of another setback.
Starfield was originally slated to launch in late 2022, but instead, production dropped the bomb by stating that the release was pushed out of the year and into the next. Later in March 2023, everyone’s favorite executive producer and game director, Todd Howard, announced yet another delay, but reassured fans that Starfield will ultimately hit the market on September 6th – that’s the current plan, at least.
Starfield’s exclusivity spells doom for Playstation
It’s no secret that the PS5 is outpacing the Xbox Series X/S in sales by miles. Even though the Xbox Series X allegedly has “more power”, the majority favors picking the PS5, and the answer is quite simple, PlayStation just has that many great games to show for it. God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Death Stranding, and countless other Sony IPs all make the PS5 the obvious choice.
What’s the point in buying a console that doesn’t have any amazing games to play? That’s the same ideology through which PlayStation has managed to amass a cult-like following, but with Xbox now owning Bethesda Studios, the scale might finally tip.
Starfield’s already on the horizon, and Bethesda’s subsidiary studios like Arkane have Redfall coming up. Not to mention, every RPG fan can’t wait to get their hands on The Elder Scrolls 6 and Fallout 5 that will launch in the years ahead. The Elder Scrolls alone is probably the biggest RPG franchise ever, and it would attract so many new users to Xbox consoles when it releases as an exclusive for the Series X/S.
Starfield will be the first of many AAA titles Bethesda will make for Xbox in the coming years, and even if it isn’t able to bring about the paradigm shift Xbox desires, The Elder Scrolls 6’s launch later may prove to be the final nail in the coffin.
This is also why PlayStation is entering the PC sales super race. PlayStation’s been wary of Xbox ever since they acquired Bethesda in 2021, so much so that most of the once proud “PlayStation Exclusives” like God of War (2018) and Marvel’s Spider-Man are now playable on PC.
Either way, the number of people who would give anything to own future Bethesda sequels such as Dishonored 3, Elder Scrolls 6, and Fallout 5 is massive. Getting a PC instead of an Xbox would suffice, but again, that ultimately still helps Xbox since Windows too is Microsoft’s domain, and both platforms share games.
Is Starfield Worth Looking Forward To?
Unlike the racing, wrestling, horror, or plain old genre tropes that can be found often, Bethesda’s RPGs aren’t quite like any other. The studio pioneered the term RPG, so naturally, their titles stand out above the rest, and Starfield is no different.
Let’s get straight to the point. The textures are amazing, the setting is quirky, there is lots to do in Starfield, and the scope is massive. First impressions couldn’t be any more top-notch, and there’s little to criticize. I do believe Starfield will impress a wider audience than only die-hard RPG fans, so regardless of the games you play, you should mark your calendars for September 6, 2023.
Todd’s sweet little lies
While I say I can’t find any fault with Starfield, it’s Todd’s history of overselling a few features that has me, and many others, worried. This one about Starfield is in particular a doozy:
“Starfield will feature 100 [Solar] Systems, and over 1000 planets for you to explore”
For anyone who isn’t caught up with the conversation, Todd has said a lot of things in the past that weren’t even remotely true. With Fallout 3 he promised there would be “over 200 endings“, and with Skyrim, it was that it’ll have “infinite quests“. It’s not that these things matter in the end, or that Todd’s really a liar, it’s just that he tends to overhype certain things.
Even though these mind-blowing facts never turn out to be true, Todd’s games never disappoint in the slightest, so that’s why he’s always been let off the hook. But in Starfield’s case that “1000 explorable planets” pitch sounds like mumbo jumbo to me. Last time we heard this much hype was for No Man’s Sky, and we all know that the game delivered not even half of what was promised. So, approach with caution.
RPGs developed by Bethesda always end up re-defining the genre
Other developers to this day take inspiration from The Elder Scrolls, and Fallout series, and it’s clear why. Instead of a hand-holding approach where a marker guides you from one objective to the other, or a scripted way of completing a quest, Bethesda’s RPGs always emphasize letting you play at your own pace and in your own way. In fact, most of Bethesda’s subsidiary studios take the same approach as well like Arkanse’s Dishonored, and Deathloop.
Skyrim was released more than a decade ago, yet a great many people would rather play Skyrim than any new upcoming game. Bethesda’s titles remain in development for nearly a decade, but when they release, they never fail to make an impact on the genre. Starfield’s a spiritual successor to Bethesda’s other franchises, and odds are that it too will end up being remembered in the years to come, and that’s another reason why you should look forward to it.
Let’s Talk Starfield’s Story & Gameplay
Moving on to the main course, how well does Starfield play? Continuing the Bethesda heritage, Starfield will feature both a first-person and third-person perspective, and it packs a very unique set of action-shooter elements such as a setting similar to Star Wars where intergalactic travel and battles are the major themes. The gameplay and worldbuilding are akin to “Skyrim in space” as per Todd Howard, and that sounds right judging from the gameplay showcases we’ve seen.
Starfield to feature 252,953 lines of unique dialog
It’s natural for RPGs to be loaded with thousands of dialogs, and Bethesda ones more than others. Fallout 4 had 111,000 lines of dialog, and Skyrim contained nearly 60,000. Starfield on the other hand will reportedly have a whopping 252,953 unique sentences in it. The only thing Todd doesn’t overhype is the dialog; it’s always on point, fun, and in abundance.
What is Starfield even about?
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… Oh snap, wrong story. Starfield actually takes place in The Settled Systems, a Solar System approximately 50 light-years far from our very own. The game’s story picks up 20 years in the aftermath of an intergalactic war between two factions. Our protagonist is a member of the Constellation, a large group of space explorers, and as with all previous Bethesda games, we’ll be assuming control of a totally customizable character.
The plotline still remains a mystery, although, it’s safe to assume that it’ll be the traditional go anywhere, and do anything type of journey. Worldbuilding is particularly of note as you will literally “build” structures, and the story as you go. Starfield also gives a lot of No Man’s Sky vibes, especially due to the scavenging and space-travel aspect.
The shooting mechanics are at heart the same as Fallout 4’s, but a highly reworked and upgraded version of them which makes gunplay feel a lot smoother. And as for the open-world, it does look stunning, however, studios always pick the best things to show off.
That’s a valid cause for concern as making RPG odysseys across space isn’t what Bethesda is known for, so we’ll need to see more before forming a final opinion. Luckily, the Starfield Direct is coming up on June 11, 2023, and that’s when we’ll get a deeper dive into the game’s breadth, so just sit tight for a minute.
Tayyab’s an anime & gaming enthusiast, and since he can’t make them (yet), he loves to write about why he finds them amazing.
Also, he’s a huge Hideo Kojima fan, and everything else that’s Japanese for that matter.