Bethesda's Starfield was the most exciting E3 announcement no one talked about. To be fair, Bethesda delivered a lot of chat-worthy things at its E3 presentation. Fallout 76 made headlines for taking the series in an MMO direction. A new Elder Scrolls game was finally announced. And Keegan-Michael Key even showed up in a hilarious reference to the Skyrim meme. With all of those amazing things, the news that Bethesda is creating an entirely new, next-gen IP sort of slipped under the radar. Well now its time to learn more about Starfield.
To refresh your memory, Starfield was given a brief teaser trailer. It showed space, a planet, and a satellite before revealing the logo. Todd Howard, the Bethesda director who delivered the announcement, said "We have also been working on a brand new, next-generation, single-player game, but this one is in an all-new epic franchise."
So what exactly did he mean by next-generation? Will we have to wait for PS5 and Xbox Scarlett, or upgrade our PCs, to play it? Eurogamer interviewed Todd Howard in an attempt to answer these questions and more.
"What systems we put it out on - what's the hardware requirements - is still to be determined," Howard said at the Gamelab conference last week.
"It does mean hardware and it does mean software on our side, and it also means gameplay - what does the next generation of epic single-player RPGs feel like to us?"
Howard elaborated that Bethesda is thinking very far into the future with Starfield, envisioning something that will run on next-generation hardware. But he doesn't count out the possibility that current systems will be able to run it in some form.
As for the gameplay, Eurogamer asked if it would be at all similar to Elder Scrolls or Fallout.
"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," he said. "But it has a lot of new systems we've been thinking about for a while that fit that kind of game really well. We'll talk about it in the future."
That future might be very far off, but Howard has apparently been contemplating Starfield for a very long time. He mentioned to Eurogamer that Bethesda began putting together a team after Fallout 4's launch. Which was in late 2015. However, the initial ideas were born as far back as 2004.
"We talked about [sci-fi] and then it really picked up steam when we registered the trademark about five years ago, and then we would talk about it from time to time, 'What are we going to do?' and then we started work right after Fallout 4 was finished."
To close out the interview, Howard confirmed that a playable version of Starfield does exist. Bethesda's people have narrowed down what Starfield "is" and can play it now. This is the reason the team felt confident in announcing the game at E3 even when it's still so far off. Gamers, however, probably won't be seeing it for a while. At the very least not until we know what the next generation is, or when it's coming.