Everything we know about Starfield: Release delay, leaks, platforms, more

David Purcell
Starfield logoGraphics from Bethesda

Bethesda has revealed Starfield as their newest project, the first new role-playing IP they have developed in over 25 years, and here’s everything we know about it so far.

While many fans are eagerly waiting around for Bethesda to finally reveal The Elder Scrolls 6, the developer – best known for its RPG creations – is working on something very different set to launch first.

Starfield is a rather mysterious project for the general public, but internal discussions surrounding its concept have reportedly been taking place for up to 10 years. There might not be dragons, there might not be swords, but there seems to be a lot to look forward to.


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Starfield screenshotStarfield is one of the most anticipated next-gen titles.

Does Starfield have a release date?

Bethesda have confirmed that their long-awaited Starfield project has been delayed until the first half of 2023 at the very earliest.

In an official statement, here’s what the company had to say: “We’ve made the decision to delay the launches of Redfall and Starfield to the first half of 2023. The teams at Arkane Austin and Bethesda Game Studios have incredible ambitions for their games, and we want to ensure that you receive the best, most polished versions of them.”

Originally, Starfield was supposed to launch on November 11, 2022, the same day as Skyrim’s release back in 2011, marking the start of a brand new exciting IP for the company.

Starfield is already in a “playable” form, Bethesda director Todd Howard told Gameslice in June 2018, as reported by PC Gamer. So the game is there and getting towards completion, it clearly is just in need of some refinement and tinkering to get it perfect.

Starfield Trailers

While the game description clearly distinguishes Starfield from the world of The Elder Scrolls, there is certainly similarities in both games’ promotional material. Here we have the first trailer from the game, which – like many of Bethesda’s in the past – doesn’t give a whole lot away and is really only designed to build hype.

As time goes on, we’ll see more fully-fledged teases, reveals, and deep dives, but for now, this is all we have to go on.

Starfield Announcement Teaser

Starfield 2021 Teaser Trailer

The second Starfield teaser gave us a longer look at Bethesda’s upcoming project and revealed more about the game than ever before. Throughout it, we fly through presumably the main character’s ship as they take off from a rocky planet. As for the setting and overall ambition, Starfield appears to set the scene for “humanity’s final journey.”

Starfield 2021 Location Insights

Three new Starfield teasers were quietly released in August, providing first looks at upcoming Starfield locations. All three videos can be found below.

Starfield Official Gameplay Reveal

What do we know about Starfield? 

Starfield is a project that’s around 10 years in the making, Todd Howard told The Guardian. “We’ve been talking about it for a decade, we started putting things on paper five, six years ago, and active development was from when we finished Fallout 4, so two and a half, three years,” he said.

In terms of the way the game will play, Howard also revealed that this new role-playing game will have a similar “DNA” to other Bethesda titles, but stressed that there will be clear differences that will set it apart – as reported by Eurogamer.

He explained that there would be “a lot of new systems” in the game that had not been explored in their other games.

The game has also used SpaceX and Elon Musk for real authenticity, with Howard explaining during E3 that he wants space travel to feel like flying in the 1940s – in the sense of being dangerous and but also capturing the desire to explore further throughout the story.

It’ll be fully playable in both first and third person.

How long is Starfield?

Todd Howard confirmed in an interview with IGN that Starfield’s main story will take around 30-40 hours to complete. He added that this makes it around “20%” bigger than games like Fallout 4 or Skyrim.

Of course, this is only if players choose not to explore the many optional planets and ignore the side content. It will only take this amount of time to complete if you go from one story quest to another.

As is the case with all of Bethesda’s RPGs, there will be hundreds of hours of content for players to get lost in if they want it.

Starfield character creation

“Ultimately, it’s not [Bethesda’s] story,” Todd Howard stated during the Xbox + Bethesda Games Show 2022. “It’s the story you create by who you are and the choices you make. And that starts with character creation.”

Howard went on to state Starfield’s character creation is the most flexible Bethesda has released. It allows players to customize all of the elements of how they look.

A preview of the character creation system showed how players can customize their character’s body shape, facial structure, skin tone, and even the way they walk. And all of the physical aspects of a character can be changed later by visiting a genetics facility.

As well, players can choose a background that automatically grants three starting skills and affects dialogue choices. Three traits can also be chosen that give players unique advantages and disadvantages.

starfield character creation

Starfield skills and ranking system

Players can also customize how their character develops and plays through Starfield’s beefy skill tree. “The skill system combines the best from our previous games,” stated Howard while showing off the skill tree during the first gameplay reveal.

Skills are unlocked by leveling up and spending skill points, similar to how obtaining new skills works in Fallout and Skyrim. These “skill points” can also be used to rank up a skill.

However, ranking up a skill is a bit different. You can rank up a skill by using that skill to complete challenges. Each rank has a unique challenge that must be completed before it can be reached.

starfield ranking skill system

Starfield crafting system and weapon mods

Starfield features a deep crafting system that allows players to research and craft their own medicine, food, shelter, equipment, and weaponry.

Research projects can be run using the resources players will find on different planets. These projects will unlock new recipes players will need to craft certain items.

These resources can also be used to craft mods for weapons, as well as items from all four crafting systems. The Xbox Games Show gameplay reveal showcased some of these mods including extended magazines, barrels, grips, sights, muzzles, and more.

starfield crafting system

Starfield base building

Using an Outpost Beacon, players can establish and build their own Outposts on the surface of planets. Howard referred to these as a “home away from home” during the Xbox Games Showcase 2022.

Each beacon establishes a radius in which players can build their outpost using different prefabricated structures they’ve discovered via research projects. 

These outposts can then be used for survival or resource generation. You can also hire characters you meet along the way to keep each outpost up and running.

starfield outpost base building

Starfield ship combat and customization

Players can build and pilot their own spaceships, and nearly every aspect of each ship is customizable. This includes the look, layout, functionality, and crew members of the ship.

What players choose to add to their ship will affect a number of stats including its health, shield, jump range, mobility, speed, weight, and more.

All of these stats are important and should be customized to fit the player’s preferences because ships are piloted by the players. This also means players can engage in intergalactic dog fights.

In space combat, players will need to target different parts of enemy ships. Thrusters and engines can be destroyed to stop enemies in their tracks, or the hull can be targeted leading to a firey explosion.

starfield space flight

How many planets are in Starfield?

According to Todd Howard, there are over 1,000 planets in Starfield that players can land on and explore. Groups of planets are separated into systems, and there are over 100 planetary systems in the game.

However, not every planet is populated by plants and animals, and planets that are inhabited aren’t guaranteed to have civilization. Some planets are barren ice worlds good only for resources, while others are overrun by wild flora and fauna.

starfield alien lifeformBethesda
Starfield is filled with alien life inhabiting over 1,000 planets across 100 different systems.

Todd Howard speaks about Starfield

Into the Starfield: The Endless Pursuit trailer

Starfield concept artBethesda
Bethesda have concepts for everything down to children’s bedtime stories

On November 30, 2021, Bethesda released another YouTube trailer where Howard, along with Studio Director Angela Browder and Art Director Matt Carofano, discussed their commitment to making the Starfield universe feel “realistic.”

The Executive Producer spoke about the minor aspects of the universe they have concepts for. “Everything they eat, the toys the children play with, or what are their bedtime stories? What is their art, history, entertainment?” he monologued.

He discussed the similarities between Starfield and previous Bethesda titles, despite the brand new sci-fi setting. “The mechanics of the world are entirely different, but there are similarities. We like to play first-person…we like being able to touch everything, those moments make the whole thing believable.”

Howard also teased fans by talking about the “step-out” moments that the studio is known for. “We always have that step-out moment into the world. Being able to do that and have it feel new every generation and every game is something that is really special.” He ended by vaguely hinting, “I like to say that Starfield has two step-out moments – it’s cryptic.”

He was referring to the point in most Bethesda games where you first venture out into the open world, like when you leave vault in Fallout 3.

March 2022 developer update

Todd Howard and a three other developers provided an update about Starfield in March 2022, posting a video discussing several of the game’s key features.

The first thing they spoke about was the level of freedom in Starfield. Much like Elden Ring and Zelda Breath of the Wild, Starfield will encourage players to find their own path rather than one laid out by the developers.

While the group didn’t rule out including mission waypoints on Starfield’s map like in Fallout or Skyrim, they were keen to stress that the player’s own discoveries were paramount.

The developers revealed that they looked to Oblivion for inspiration about the game’s speech and persuasion system, saying that Starfield will feature multiple speech options. However, they were keen to stress that there is never one “right thing to say”.

You can watch the full developer update, and read more details about what was said, below:

Companions

Companion NPCs will return from earlier Bethesda games and this time the developers are keen to expand their moral compasses and reactions to the players actions.

In Fallout 4, companions would comment on the player’s choices, expressing approval, condemnation, confusion, and a range of other feelings. If some companions felt the player had gone too far, they’d leave their side or become hostile. It will be interesting to see how the developers improve this further in Starfield. 

The first companion has already been revealed, a robot called VASCO who greets the player as “Captain”.

Factions

Like in other Bethesda games, the player will be able to join various factions and follow the quest-line of that group.

We imagine players will be able to stick with a faction from the start to the end of the game, betray certain factions, and work for multiple groups at once to unlock different endings. As in Fallout and the Elder Scrolls, the player may also be encouraged to build alliances between factions – of wipe them all out.

The factions revealed so far are:

  • United Colonies – a futuristic Space Republic (think NCR in Fallout New Vegas)
  • Freestar Collective – a space western fantasy, people out on the frontier trying to survive (think Minutemen from Fallout 4)
  • Ryujin Industries – which represents corporate life in space. Described as the “best start” for the player, but they’ll need to “apply for [their] job.”
  • Crimson Fleet – Pirates and the game’s main villainous faction. The player can side with the pirates and spy on them. This lets them them you play for the bad faction while still remaining a good guy. Or the player can join the pirates fully.

Starfield map and locations

While little is known about the exact planets we’ll be visiting in Starfield, a few early details have surfaced. Three brief behind-the-scenes videos that surfaced in August gave us an overview of some key locations to start with.

New Atlantis

Starfield New AtlantisBethesda
New Atlantis is a capital city in Starfield.

New Atlantis appears to be a thriving social hub and serves as the capital city for the United Colonies.

“The city is a true melting pot, and a reflection of the future of our world,” Design Director Emil Pagliarulo said in the first teaser.

Neon

Starfield NeonBethesda
Neon is a massive shipping platform on an aquatic world.

As its look implies, Neon is an enormous shipping platform built on an aquatic world.

This location often serves as a trading hub, with many seeking one illicit substance in particular.

Akila

Starfield AkilaBethesda
Akila is a city that celebrates individual freedoms.

Akila is a busy city set amidst a mountainous region.

The local town is barricaded with a large wall to keep inhabitants safe from alien forces.

Doors leak

An image, posted to StarfieldAlliance, subreddit has possibly confirmed that the game will indeed feature doors. While this seems a pretty weird thing to get excited about, previous Starfield leaks have shown interior areas without any doors, leading to fans wondering if the spaceships will have them or not. 

Admittedly, it’s an objectively boring leak, and may not even be real. However, it goes to show how excited Bethesda fans are – and could be an indicator of more exciting things to come for Starfield.

You can see these no-longer mythical, internet-breaking, doors below:

Starfield platforms: Is Starfield exclusive on Xbox Series X and S?

At Microsoft’s 2021 E3 presentation, the new trailer specifically featured logos for the Xbox Series X|S and highlighted that it will be available on PC, as well. Starfield will not be coming to PlayStation hardware.

This is not a surprise, after Bethesda and its parent company, ZeniMax, were acquired by Microsoft in September 2020.

In a Bloomberg interview in 2020, Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, said that the company would honor the contracts already in place for games like Deathloop and GhostWire Tokyo. Moving forward, though, Bethesda’s new releases would be exclusive to Xbox hardware and systems that support Xbox Game Pass.

Spencer himself has high hopes for Starfield, telling Axios he hopes to make the game “the most-played Todd Howard game ever.” Todd Howard is of course the director and executive producer of Bethesda, he’s also often seen as the face of the company at events like E3. He also finds himself now a Microsoft employee, since that company purchased ZeniMax, Bethesda’s parent company.

Howard is synonymous with games like the Elder Scrolls and Fallout. He’s also likely to be for Starfield too, with many fans expecting him to fill a similar role. Spencer’s comments also indicate that this will remain the case under Microsoft. 

todd howardXbox
Todd Howard opened Xbox’s E3 showcase with Starfield this year

However, in an interview with The Telegraph, Todd Howard spoke on the notion of how fans who were looking forward to Starfield are going to feel now that the game is not going to be coming to the PS5. 

“You don’t ever want to leave people out, right? But at the end of the day, your ability to focus and say, this is the game I want to make, these are the platforms I want to make it on, and being able to really lean in on those is going to make for a better product.”

Howard also alluded to the fact that there still may be a possibility that the game will make its way over to PlayStation consoles at some point, as he noted, “I will just say I want everybody to have the ability to play it in some fashion.” 

What this entirely means is unknown as of now, but there is hope that there may be some port over to PlayStation consoles if Bethesda/Xbox and Sony can work out some sort of deal when Starfield releases in November 2022.

Is Starfield open world?

starfield planet's surfaceBethesda
It’ll be interesting to see how Starfield differs from Fallout’s wastelands and TES’ kingdoms.

Just like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, Starfield is set to follow in their footsteps and join them as an open-world game. Bethesda has been an industry leader in the RPG genre for over two decades, and that is set to continue with Starfield.

Your spaceship will allow you to travel and explore many different cities, planets, and discover all kinds of weird and wonderful wildlife.

Does Starfield have multiplayer?

starfield player floating in space next to spaceshipBethesda
The game’s gameplay looks to be exciting and unique.

Todd Howard has already confirmed that Starfield will be single-player-only, and will have no multiplayer elements. Aside from the disastrous Fallout 76 launch, other Bethesda games e.g Fallout 3, Skyrim, Fallout 4, have all been single-player experiences.

Starfield is a return to this established formula, and there seem to be no plans to add anything like this to the game later on.

Is Starfield an MMO?

one of starfield's citiesBethesda
The Settled Systems is the world of Starcraft and will be not home to thousands of real-life players in one server.

Again, just to nail the point home, Starfield is not an MMO. The game’s core experience is purely a solo one for one person to explore and investigate Bethesda’s large, new world. If Starfield does well both commercially and critically, then Bethesda may have plans to expand the game way into the future.


So, there you have it. That’s everything we’ve heard and seen from Starfield so far. We’ll continue to update this story with any more official information and leaked details in the future.

Make sure to check out all of our other release hubs:  

GTA 6 | Overwatch 2 |  Assassin’s Creed Infinity | God of War: Ragnarok | Wolverine | Spider-Man 2 | Forspoken | KOTR Remake | Wonder Woman | Cuphead The Delicious Last Course | DokeV | FFXVI | Avatar Frontiers of Pandora | Sonic Frontiers | Dragon Age 4 | Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild sequel | The Witcher 3 next-gen patch

So many release dates are uncertain in 2021, but here’s everything we know about the big games fans are looking forward to this year and beyond:Battlefield 6 | Diablo 2 | GTA 6 | Pokemon Snap | Rainbow Six Quarantine | Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart | Starfield | Horizon Forbidden West | Forza 8 | Elder Scrolls 6 | FIFA 22 | God of War Ragnarok | Hogwarts Legacy

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