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Starfield: release date, trailers, exclusivity and everything you need to know

An astronaut from the game Starfield.
(Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios)

Starfield, the long-awaited sci-fi RPG from Bethesda Game Studios, finally made an appearance at E3 2021, giving us our first look at the studio's realistic vision of our space-faring future. With a full Starfield trailer to gawp at, you've come to the right place for news on the epic space adventure.

Starfield details remain thin on the ground, but thanks to that reveal trailer, we've finally got a feel for what the game is going to be like. Bethesda's upcoming single-player RPG set in outer space marks the gaming giant's first new IP for 25 years, and, according to studio boss Todd Howard, is an epic about “hope and humanity". And cool spaceships, we hope!

Starfield: what you need to know

FIRST GAMEPLAY DETAILS REVEALED!

Following Starfield's E3 2021 teaser trailer unveiling, game director Todd Howard has given a few interviews on what to expect from the in-development space game. From alien cultures to "hardcore" RPG mechanics, read on to find out more!

During the game's shock announcement at E3 2018, Howard called Starfield "our next-generation, single-player epic".

It's a different gaming landscape since that announcement though – the PS5 and Xbox Series X are in homes, and Starfield's developer now sits in Microsoft's stable, with the Xbox giant purchasing the studio. As a result, Starfield's now an Xbox Series X/S and PC exclusive, casting its future on Sony's consoles in serious doubt. To guarantee yourself the opportunity to play Starfield, you'll need either a gaming computer or a Microsoft console.

A Starfield release date is now set for November 11, 2022. Here's hoping it hits that release date. Fun fact, that's exactly 11 years after Skyrim's original release date of November 11, 2011. How time flies, right?

Regardless of the wait, that hasn't stopped us from boarding the Starfield hype train with a first-class ticket. There's nothing more exciting than whetting your appetite for a new game by future-gazing (or star gazing in this case). So, in that spirit, we've searched the galaxy to bring you the latest news and rumors on Starfield. Here's everything you need to know.

Starfield: what you need to know

  • What is it? A single-player RPG in outer space from the makers of Fallout and The Elder Scrolls
  • What can I play it on? PC and Xbox Series X, headed to Xbox Game Pass on the day of its release. It will be a console exclusive on Xbox systems
  • When can I play it? November 11, 2022

Starfield release date

Starfield

Thanks to a shocking pre-E3 trailer leak, we know that Starfield will release on November 11, 2022 – so quite a while to wait still. 

What's perhaps even more interesting is that it's now looking to be an Xbox / PC exclusive, with the trailer and Xbox spokespeople making no mention of a PS5 release. With Microsoft now owners of developer Bethesda, this could be indicative of the future of titles like The Elder Scrolls 6 and Fallout 5 going forward.

Starfield trailers

The first proper Starfield trailer was revealed at E3 2021, showing off Bethesda's more realistic approach to sci-fi than the likes of Outer Worlds or No Man's Sky:

We're shown a very NASA-like astronaut exploring the rocky surface of a Moon-like location, complete with a blue-sky atmosphere, preparing for take-off. We're shown drones, a cool mech-like buddy robot, and the promise of uncovering the "key to unlocking everything."

Other than that, we previously saw our first glimpse of the game during E3 2018. It's not much more than a title and setting at this point, but the video does introduce us to an unnamed planet, a floating satellite or space station, and some sort of... glowing wormhole?

Check out the teaser trailer below:

Starfield gameplay, news and rumors

Both third person and first person viewpoints are in Starfield
Whether you like staring down the barrel of a gun, or at your player character's cool new space threads, Starfield will offer up both first and third person points of view for players to enjoy. "First person for us is still our prime way of playing. So you can see the world and touch all those things," Todd Howard revealed in an interview with the Telegraph.

There will be "hardcore" role playing elements
If you've felt that previous Bethesda role playing games have dumbed down the RPG parts of the game in favor of action elements, rest assured that Starfield will not be scrimping on the stats and rolls. The game will have "great character systems" and the ability to choose your background, "things that we used to do in games long ago," says director Todd Howard.

NASA and Elon Musk's Space X offered inspiration
Rather than the space opera histrionics of the likes of Star Wars or Star Trek, Bethesda is aiming for a more realistic approach with Starfield. While there will still be lasers and robots and cool things like that, the aesthetic of the game is based on imagining where the space program of today will be in 300 years time. In fact, the team at Bethesda had discussions with Elon Musk's Space X team to make sure it was getting the details right.

Starfield will have alien races and multiple planets to explore
It may be a more serious approach to space exploration than the likes of No Man's Sky or Mass Effect, but rest assured – there will be aliens to interact with. In quite what capacity, Bethesda isn't yet revealing. But with the news that the game will also feature Skyrim style cities and settlements across multiple planets, we're hoping that we'll run into a fair few alien habitats, too.

Starfield could feature Tom Cruise?
People who claim to have inside knowledge of Starfield's development believe that Tom Cruise could have a starring role in the upcoming RPG.

A tweet from 2018 and various other sources have been highlighted by a subreddit called Gaming Leaks and Rumors, which tips the Mission: Impossible star to make an appearance.

Unfortunately, Todd Howard has since poured cold water on these rumors. Reported by Comicbook, and in response to the rumors of Tom Cruise appearing in Starfield, Howard stated in an interview with The Telegraph: "Sorry - no, as of today!"

Skipping PS5
Rumors that Starfield could skip the PS5 entirely, sourced by the Xbox Two Podcast, now are seemingly confirmed.

Reported by KitGuru, Xbox Two Podcast host Rand Al Thor 19 stated: “I’ve been told, by very reliable people, that Starfield was 100% an Xbox exclusive. I’ve even made bets about it, and I don’t bet unless I know I’m willing to bet. So I’m really, really confident that Starfield is only releasing on Xbox when it does.”

These rumors turned out to be correct, as Starfield was confirmed to be an Xbox console exclusive during the Xbox & Bethesda E3 2021 presentation. PC players shouldn't worry, though, as Starfield is landing on their platform, too.

Starfield

Starfield companion game "unlikely"
While the wait for Starfield is undoubtedly a long one, it looks like we won't be getting any ancillary material for the game before its big release late next year.

Talking to the Washington Post, Todd Howard stated that a companion game to Starfield (similar to the Fallout Shelter mobile game) is "unlikely." However, Howard didn't rule out the possibility of a movie or TV show in future.

Starfield’s map is going to be big thanks to procedural generation
Bethesda’s Todd Howard has said that the map in Starfield will be “much larger” than anything seen in previous Bethesda games—yes, even Fallout 76.

Speaking at the Develop: Brighton conference, Howard said that the game will use procedural generation, which is also used in No Man’s  Sky, meaning that the game’s world will be built by a randomised algorithm as opposed to devs having to manually curate every area. According to Howard, procedural generation will allow the developers to increase the scale of the map overall.

As exciting as all of this sounds, Howard also reiterated during the conference that “It’s going to be a while until people hear about it,” and that Bethesda won'r show previews until it’s a lot closer to launch and they can show off something substantial.

A game engine overhaul
Bethesda's Todd Howard has revealed that partnering with Microsoft has "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 6.“

Speaking at the Develop: Brighton conference, Howard gave more information on the overhauled Creation Engine, saying it’s been “a significant overhaul,” adding that “It’s taken us longer than we would have liked, but it’s going to power everything we’re doing with Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6. When people see the results, they’ll hopefully be as happy as we are with what’s on the screen and also how we can go about making our games.”

A Starfield 'leak'?
There's a chance some 'leaked' images have given us a new look at Starfield - if, that is, they're real. Four images have surfaced on Imgur (via GamesRadar) which are allegedly from the upcoming game. 

The images show a space ship, two instances of a third-person perspective of a character standing beside the ship in astronaut attire (with a stealth and stamina bar in the corner), and a sort of oxygen and carbon dioxide gauge which also appears in the corner of the third-person perspective images. 

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Of course, there's been no confirmation that these images are actually from Starfield so we can't be sure what we're seeing is from the in-progress game. If they are real, though, which they certainly appear to be given the trailers we've now seen, it looks like Bethesda could be going a little more hard on the sci-fi than in previous space games like Mass Effect. We won't know for sure until Bethesda reveals more about the game.

Starfield is Bethesda's focus
In an interview with IGN, Todd Howard revealed that fans will be waiting some time for The Elder Scrolls 6 as Bethesda is focusing on Starfield. 

"We're creatives, and it's like, we have to make this game, and this is the time, and so Elder Scrolls 6 is going to have to wait a little bit," Howard said. "And again, Elder Scrolls Online is doing so well, it's so vibrant, that this is the time [for Starfield], both for us creatively, and our audience." 

A whole new world
Bethesda has reportedly been talking about making Starfield for years now.

There have been rumors flying around about the game since Bethesda publisher Zenimax filed a trademark for the name as far back as 2013. 

Given how much mileage Bethesda has achieved out of its other tentpole IPs – Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, which have both seen various spin-off entries and MMO variants – it is presumably hoping to make Starfield a far-reaching franchise in the same vein.

...and whole new systems
The idea behind Starfield has been floating around as far back as 2004, and Howard has said it has the recognisable Bethesda DNA to it – so expect deep character customisation and open exploration. But also expect all new ideas entering into the mix – this won't just be Fallout or Skyrim in space. Speaking to Eurogamer, Howard stated "[...] it has a lot of new systems we've been thinking about for a while that fit that kind of game really well." So don't be surprised if there's some sort of on-theme space flight element involved too.

Bigger than ever before
Both the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series have shared a similar character progression system and open-world backdrop, partially rooted in their sharing of the same gaming engine.

While we haven't heard specifics on gameplay, Starfield looks set to follow in the same vein, albeit in a more galactic setting. But the final frontier could hold much larger potential for exploration, allowing players to travel across various planets and encounter unknown civilizations.

There's a big gap in the market for sci-fi RPGs
With the future of the space-opera RPG series Mass Effect looking uncertain, and the unfulfilled promise of the planet-hopping exploration game No Man's Sky, Starfield will be entering a gaming market hungry for a sci-fi RPG done right. With the proven success of Bethesda's other franchises, could the developer have the next Mass Effect up its sleeves? 

(Image credits: Bethesda)

Keep checking back here for all the latest Starfield news