Starfield isn't just a Skyrim 'reskin' says head of Xbox Game Studios

Astronaut looking at big alien monster
(Image credit: Bethesda)
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It's the second week of November. The leaves are turning, the days are getting shorter, the stress of the approaching holidays has begun gnawing at your nerves. This is all very familiar, but doesn't it feel like something is missing this year? What could it be?

Oh right, it's Starfield, Bethesda's space RPG. Originally supposed to be released this Friday, 11/11/22, Starfield's release was sadly postponed into 2023. On the plus side, even if we can't play it this week, we can still talk about it.

Via GameSpot (opens in new tab): Here's Matt Booty, head of Xbox Game Studios, who was recently interviewed by the Friends Per Second podcast (opens in new tab) presented on Skillup's YouTube channel (opens in new tab). Booty answered questions about Halo, Game Pass, what it's like managing the game studios Microsoft owns, and finally, fielded a few questions about Bethesda's delayed space RPG. 

After noting the reception to the Starfield trailers has been largely positive, SkillUp's Ralph Panebianco observes that others have dismissed it as simply "Skyrim in space."

"Do you think it's Skyrim in space?" Panebianco asks. "If it's not Skyrim in space, what do you think really sets it apart? Where are you seeing that really evolves that Bethesda Game Studios model?"

"Having had the chance over the last year and a half or so to spend more time with Todd Howard and see how he works and see what he brings to game design, I'm confident he's not going to sit still on what was built before. It's just not his approach to come in and reskin something, right?" says Booty.

"The things that excite me first are the visual style. For lack of something better I'd call this NASA-punk," Booty says, a look inspired by the retro concept art of sci-fi in the '70s and '80s. He goes on to list some of Starfield's systems like ship-building, space combat, and planetary exploration. "I think there's gonna be an awful lot of new stuff Bethesda fans and Todd Howard fans have not seen brought to the game," Booty says.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

At the end of the interview Panebianco does his due diligence, casually asking for Starfield's release date. I mean, you never know, someone might slip up and let it fly one of these days. "3/3/23? Todd loves that shit," Panebianco says.

Alas, Booty just laughs. "3/3/23, no," he says. "No 4/4/24." So, at least we can rule out two dates for sure.

You can check out the interview with Matt Booty below, starting around 1:25:17.

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.