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Over the weekend, new screenshots of Starfield have surfaced online, and it's our first look at the new sci-fi RPG from Bethesda.
In 2018, Bethesda announced that it was producing its first new intellectual property in more than two decades. Titled Starfield, what we know about the project is very little, but Bethesda's Todd Howard is pretty proud of it so far. "I think it's getting really good hype for a game no one has seen," he said on Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb's official Xbox Live podcast. "It's a really exciting project that we've been doing for a long time. Once we got on the new systems, the things we found we could do - and so it's a major engine rewrite on that game."
With the "new systems," Howard is referring to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, which will let Bethesda push its new engine to the limit, flaunting "generational leaps not just in graphics, but CPU and data streaming as well." This is all very well and good, but we don't actually know what Starfield will look like, and we know even less about what its story or gameplay will be like. Over the years, there's been a lot of bombast from Bethesda, and it's difficult to imagine what the studio's "largest engine overhaul" will achieve on the zippy new consoles.
Now, these new images of Starfield which have leaked onto Reddit finally give us an idea of what we'll be looking at when the game launches. Give or take, as these screenshots are sourced from an early build of Starfield from 2018. The first screenshot is of a person with their back to the camera, gazing at some sort of structure. It's a rather rough and ready looking suit, with a blue emblem sewn onto their shoulder pad. There's a minimal UI, with health and stamina bars, and they might be equipped with a shotgun (with zero rounds).
The second screenshot gives us a close-up of one of the elements of the UI in the first screenshot. In this circle, there is a signifier for oxygen and carbon dioxide, as well as some sort of measurement of gravitational force. This might affect how the character moves on different planets. A symbol which looks like an eclipse may also tell the player when night will fall on the planet, and night may be longer and colder on some planets compared to others. It might be that Starfield is offering an intensive survival experience, whereas Fallout and The Elder Scrolls experimented with these mechanics for optional buffs for the player.
The third screenshot is of a spaceship or a space station, with what might be multiple loading bays. From the shape of it, it doesn't look like it will be a very speedy vessel, and there might be tanks to fill with fuel or ore from varying sources. This tallies with the much more realistic sci-fi aesthetic of Starfield that was shown off in its E3 2018 trailer.
However, because these images are leaks from an early build, this is speculation at the moment. We have a better idea of Bethesda's ambitions for Starfield, but it may look worlds apart from these original concepts today. Still, looking at rugged ol' spaceships is a pretty good way to start a Monday morning. In my books, at least.