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I have to confess that when we finally saw the Starfield trailer during the Microsoft X Bethesda E3 2021 showcase, I was a little disappointed. After all this time, I thought we might get to see a little bit of gameplay; what we got was nothing more than a quick CG trailer... or so I thought.
As it turns out, the strikingly beautiful Starfield trailer was all in-game without the use of any cinematic tools. That's a hugely promising sign for Bethesda's overhauled Creation Engine, given that the environments in the trailer were all absolutely stunning.
An ArtStation post shared by Bethesda senior lighting artist Keith Beltramini a few days after the trailer's release revealed that the E3 footage was all captured using Creation Engine 2, with no tools or tricks to enhance what we were seeing.
"Using our own Creation Engine 2, we created this entirely in game without any cinematic tools," Beltramini wrote. "Working closely with director, Istvan Pely, I assisted in art direction for anything lighting and mood related."
This is massively exciting, because it's the first official glimpse we've had of the new engine in action. The Creation Engine has been used in everything from Fallout 3 to Skyrim, and is constantly updated depending on the needs of the project. Last year, however, Bethesda claimed the engine had been entirely re-worked to make the most of new-gen hardware and make sure games like Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI deliver a markedly new experience.
"With each new console cycle, we (Bethesda and Xbox) evolved together. From bringing mods to consoles with Fallout 4, now over a billion downloads, to the latest technologies fuelling Xbox Series X/S," Bethesda game director Todd Howard explained last year. "These new systems are optimised for the vast worlds we love to create, with generational leaps not just in graphics, but CPU and data streaming as well. It's led to our largest engine overhaul since Oblivion, with all new technologies powering our first new IP in 25 years, Starfield, as well as The Elder Scrolls VI."
I'm already excited to see more, but we'll have to wait. Starfield isn't coming to Xbox Series X/S and PC until November 11, 2022.