Starfield is out now

A Starfield screenshot featuring Andreja in a space suit.
(Image credit: Bethesda)

Bethesda announced Starfield five years ago at E3 2018, but Bethesda Game Studios started working on it well before that. Now the space RPG, which represents Bethesda's first new setting in over 25 years, is finally out for owners of the $100 Premium Edition or the $300 physical Constellation Edition (which includes a fun watch).

Explore the galaxy with these Starfield guides

Spaceman in front of a planet

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Starfield guide: Our hub of advice
Starfield console commands: Every cheat you need
Starfield mods: Space is your sandbox
Starfield traits: The full list, with our top picks
Starfield companions: All your recruitable crew
Starfield romance options: Space dating

The result of all those years of development is Bethesda's biggest RPG ever, though not everyone thinks it's Bethesda's best RPG ever. In his 75% Starfield review, Chris says that Bethesda's new universe "ultimately falls far short of the greatness" of Fallout 4 and Skyrim, but that he does like it. Other critic reviews include enthusiastic 10-out-of-10s as well as harsher expressions of disappointment. It's no surprise that this giant game (which also happens to be an Xbox console exclusive due to Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda) is a divisive one. 

Although the expected, and often endearing, Bethesda jank persists, Starfield hasn't been gruesomely buggy for us—it's a lot of "characters appearing in their underwear when they're not supposed to" stuff, with just a small side of more serious progress disrupting bugs. It had to have helped that Starfield was significantly delayed. The RPG was going to release last year on November 11, exactly 11 years after Skyrim released on November 11, 2011—Bethesda loves it some 11s—but got pushed to this year. That decision came from Microsoft, which acquired Bethesda in 2021.

"The decision to give the team the time to build the game that they feel they should be building is just the right thing to do," Xbox head Phil Spencer later said about the delay.

After over nine months of post-delay waiting, anyone who owns the Premium Edition can start playing now (give or take some technical hiccups with the unlocking) on Xbox, Steam , and the Microsoft Store, while Standard Edition owners have to wait another week, until September 6. That's the official release date, and those taking their first moon steps today are technically playing during the "early access" period—a name that bugs me, because "early access" already means something and it isn't "one week of advance access for $30 extra."

This early access period also means that Game Pass subscribers who are promised "day one" access to Microsoft's games aren't really getting day one access, because Starfield isn't available to all Game Pass subscribers until September 6. It is possible to get Starfield early access on Game Pass, but you have to buy the Premium Edition Upgrade for $31.49. As I said the other day, it doesn't feel like Microsoft is fully committed to Game Pass given that it's already made up a technicality that lets it drive more one-time purchases for a big game by redefining "day one."

Whatever route you take, if you plan to play Starfield, you might need to clear some SSD space: the Starfield system requirements ask for 125GB, and the actual size of my install is 116.27GB. With Baldur's Gate 3 already taking up 136GB on my main games SSD, I'm very nearly overencumbered by RPGs.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.