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Starfield: everything we know about Bethesda's new RPG

Starfield is Bethesda's first original RPG in 25 years, and it's set in space. That is almost everything we know about this mysterious project, which the studio has been talking about internally for a decade. There are a few minor details to be gleaned from comments Bethesda has made, and the teaser trailer that Bethesda put out at last year's E3. Other than that, the latest we've heard on Starfield is Todd Howard telling everyone to be patient at E3 2019. 

We've gathered all of the scant information around about Starfield below. Here's everything we know about Bethesda's next RPG.

What is Starfield's release date?

The release date hasn't been announced yet, and don't expect it any time soon. Bethesda just released Fallout 76 in late 2018, and Todd Howard hinted to Gamespot that the game might not ship on this generation of consoles. If that's the case we may be waiting for two or three years before we finally get to explore the universe—rumours suggest the next generation will launch in 2020 or 2021, which seems about right. 

Before E3 2019, Todd Howard cautioned during an interview with IGN that although Starfield is Bethesda's priority (rather than Elder Scrolls 6 which we are also eagerly awaiting) fans will need to be patient. 

Is there an official Starfield trailer?

Bethesda's E3 2018 teaser trailer is all we have seen of the game so far. It shows the sun cresting the atmosphere of a desert planet, and it shows a space station. The rugged design and solar panels implies a realistic sci-fi tone more akin to Gravity than Mass Effect.

We are actually a camera floating in space in this clip. You can see flecks of ice on the lens. As the sun catches the camera we see a word written on our own device reflected on the lens. It shows a logo and a partial word: constellation?

A few moments later a cosmic tear opens up behind the station and appears to gobble it up. A cool space cataclysm perhaps, or a really colourful warp effect.

Starfield has been in development for years

There isn't a release date just yet, but Todd Howard says that the project has moved out of pre-production and is currently in a playable state internally. The teaser shown at E3 2018 was mostly designed to give us a sense of the game's atmosphere. In an interview with The Guardian, Howard says "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.”

Starfield has Bethesda's 'DNA', but it'll have 'a lot of new systems'

Everything we know about Starfield so far is leaking out in bits from interviews with Todd Howard. On Eurogamer, for example, Howard was pressed on whether Starfield will be a Bethesda Games Studios game in the way that Elder Scrolls and Fallout are. "I don't want to say yes or no to that because I don't know what that means to you or whoever's going to read that... It's different, but if you sit down and play it you would recognize it as something we made if that makes sense? It has our DNA in it. It has things that we like."

Howard also added this: "But it has a lot of new systems we've been thinking about for a while that fit that kind of game really well." Well, hey, Bethesda has never made an RPG set in space before, so some differences were bound to be on the cards.

Space travel in Starfield is dangerous like 'flight in the '40s'

At an E3 chat between Todd Howard and Elon Musk, Howard divulged that space travel in Starfield probably won't be a utopian Star Trek-like ordinary affair. "Traveling in space in our game, I want to say it's like flight in the '40s, like it's dangerous," said Howard. "It's still dangerous to go and explore, even though lots of people do it."

Starfield shouldn't be confused for a rocket engineering sim, though. "We have to gamify it some," said Howard, "so that it's not as punishing as actual space travel." 

Starfield

(Image credit: Future)

Todd Howard traveled to SpaceX to bring 'authenticity' to Starfield

In the same E3 chat between Howard and Musk mentioned above, Howard said that he toured Musk's company SpaceX for Starfield research and inspiration. It's not clear how this inspiration will manifest, but Howard did mention that Helium 3—a speculative fuel for nuclear fusion—could be the isotope used to fuel Starfield's ships, or at least is something to be debated.

From this info and the original teaser trailer, it's reasonable to assume that Starfield's aesthetic will stick closer to realism instead of the sleek far-off future crafts we often see in sci-fi media.

When will we know more?

Expect to hear more about Starfield in 2020, or perhaps even later. We can console ourselves with the knowledge that it's coming sooner than The Elder Scrolls 6, which isn't even at a playable stage of development yet.

Based in Bath with the UK team, Tom loves strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.