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Words: Kate Harrold
Bethesda have been playing around with the idea of developing a space-themed game since the early 1990s. Since the release of Delta V in 1994, several space- and sci-fi-themed projects have struggled to get off the ground - including the cancelled The 10th Planet and a failed Star Trek game adaptation.
The good news is that Starfield is finally breaking that curse, and at E3 2021 Bethesda confirmed that Starfield is scheduled to be released on 11 November, 2022. Having originally been announced at E3 2018, fans may feel like they've already been waiting for quite some time - but seeing as this is Bethesda's first new intellectual property in 25 years, it seems as though the majority of this wait is well and truly over.
E3 2021 didn't just lift the lid on Starfield's release date - we were also provided with a first-look teaser trailer. And while we haven't yet been treated to any gameplay footage of Bethesda's latest RPG, the trailer's impressive sequences are certainly an adequate tease for now. Little is known about who these astronauts are, where they're headed, or what their mission is - but we're pretty certain we won't be disappointed when we find out.
For now, Bethesda are very hush-hush on Starfield's setting. We know that Starfield is at least partially set on a brand-new space-themed world - that seems obvious - but the details of this are almost non-existent. According to the studio's website, the game is "set amongst the stars" which is about as vague as vague can get. The universe, then.
During an interview with The Washington Post, the game's director and executive producer of Bethesda Todd Howard confirmed that Starfield would be set "300 years" in the future while also incorporating technology from NASA missions throughout history.
Howard went on to suggest that Starfield may have some open-world elements during an interview with The Telegraph. "We like to put you in a world where we're not dragging you by the nose and saying you must do X, Y, and Z," Howard stated. Thanks to the Fallout and The Elder Scrolls franchises, we know Bethesda are masters of open-world gameplay so we're expecting big things on this front.
Much to the disappointment of PlayStation fans, Starfield is only slated to be released on PC and Xbox Series X and S - which also makes Starfield a new-gen exclusive as the game is not expected to be released on the outgoing Xbox One.
The confirmation of this wasn't too much of a surprise since Microsoft announced its acquisition of Bethesda in September 2020. In terms of exclusivity, Xbox are adopting a "case-by-case" approach on its self-owned titles according to current Xbox head Phil Spencer. But following the announcements at E3 2021, Starfield's fate seems fairly sealed.
Bethesda did further announce at E3 2021 that Starfield would be available with Xbox Game Pass from day one, something sure to appeal to both existing and new subscribers to the service.
It seems fairly concrete that Starfield is set to be a single-player game only. Todd Howard confirmed as much during an interview at the 2020 Develop Brighton conference, stating that there were no plans to add a multiplayer option.
Bethesda has always excelled when developing single-player titles so it's not necessarily a bad thing that a multiplayer option isn't in the works. The studio's most notable foray into the world of multiplayer gaming, Fallout 76, received a mixed reception. The game was slated for its technical issues and for not providing the player with a clear purpose.
We can all agree that we don't want to see a repeat of that with a game as highly anticipated as Starfield. This time around, Bethesda is opting to stick with what it knows best and that seems like the right decision.
Starfield is being developed by Bethesda Game Studios and will be published by Bethesda Softworks. Bethesda Game Studios began in 2001 as a spin-off of Bethesda Softworks and the studio has since gone on to develop 13 major titles.
The most notable of these are The Elder Scrolls and the Fallout franchises. The Elder Scrolls franchise has sold a whopping 58,000,000 units worldwide. According to the studio, Starfield is their first new IP in 25 years.
Bethesda is developing Starfield with the Creation Engine 2 - an upgrade on the tried-and-tested Creation Engine used since the development of 2011's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim right up to 2018's Fallout 76.
Without knowing, we've already seen a glimpse of what the engine is capable of. According to senior lighting artist Keith Beltramini, Starfield's E3 2021 teaser trailer was entirely made in-engine "without any cinematic tools". There's no denying the engine provides a wholly impressive update on Bethesda's graphics, which alongside Starfield's ambitious world design has us counting down the days to 11 November, 2022.
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