- Starfield's release is less than a month away, and the hype surrounding it on social media is overwhelming.
- The transparency of Todd Howard and Bethesda in sharing information about the game is reassuring.
In case you haven't been on social media in the past couple days, let me be the first to inform you that we're officially less than a month away from the launch of Starfield. I knew this already, of course, thanks to the handy-dandy release date guide we keep pinned to our front page here at DualShockers. But if you're like me, and you can't tear yourself away from social media FOMO, then this news is no surprise to you, because like me, you've been hit with an absolute deluge of similarly slapped-together one-month-out posts and tweets.
It's become an inescapable fact, as everyone from the game's official social media team to fellow gaming journalists to regular schmoes who are just excited for the next big Bethesda release wants to herald the good news.
But as hyped as the subsection of the gaming community that doesn't shape its personality around crapping all over anything Xbox-related is for Starfield, it seems like there's still some concern out there that we haven't got to play it yet, and we probably won't until it officially releases on September 6. I hadn't really considered that—not every game needs to have a playable demo, after all—but after a report from a few days ago that public attendees at Gamescom (which is scheduled for later this month) still won't get a chance to play just two weeks away from launch, it seems like the sentiment that Starfield might not be worth all the hype is a growing one. I don't buy into that, though, and here's why.
Todd Howard and his team at Bethesda have been more than forthcoming with information on their big, upcoming space-exploration RPG; they've been downright transparent. I started out here around a year ago, and even back then, full interviews were being shared with good ol' Todd talking about the massive amount of dialogue recorded for the game and the argument over whether the science behind Starfield can be considered "hard sci-fi." Granted, those interviews were carried out and posted by Bethesda, but it sure didn't seem like the development team had anything to hide. And less than two months ago, we were treated to a full Starfiled Showcase immediately following the June Xbox Direct Showcase, with the single-game showcase's 45-minute runtime rivaling every other game in the opening show combined (and with Howard, as usual, appearing front and center.)
And all that transparency makes sense. Every major single-player RPG release from Bethesda Game Studios has become an instant classic (and yeah, I included "single-player" in there because Fallout 76 kind of hurts my case, so I don't wanna talk about it, kay?). You could make the argument that a couple of Bethesda's RPGs were almost a guaranteed lock for success, since they're just continuations of a different series that other developers dreamed up before they went under and got bought out, that series being Fallout. And as someone who had been obsessed with Fallout since its first installment, I admit that I experienced a little trepidation with the new developer, but I'd also been playing The Elder Scrolls since Morrowind, and it remains my go-to western fantasy RPG series to this day.
Speaking of Morrowind, it was the first game Bethesda Game Studios ever put out, back in 2002, after The Elder Scrolls' original development studio, Bethesda Softworks, switched its focus to publishing under ZeniMax Media. And in that 21-year span from then to now, Bethesda Game Studios has put out an astronomical... thirteen games? That can't be right, can it? But it is (as long as you're not counting DLC expansions). And if you leave out the easily-forgotten pair of drag racing titles, the two free-to-play smartphone games, the two VR ports of Skyrim and Fallout 4, and the "Special Edition" copy of Skyrim, that only leaves room for six big-budget RPGS in a little over two decades, with one being an MMO.
Bethesda doesn't rush things, is what I'm saying, and if Starfield were having problems this close to the finish line, given the transparency Todd Howard and his team have shown us so far, it feels like someone on the inside (probably Howard himself) would either come out and say so or the team wouldn't keep hyping the game up this much.
But that still leaves the point that got us here in the first place: Why isn't anyone allowed to play it? Well, to me, that seems like a bit of a silly question. Sure, lots of games have demos, and maybe the fact that a major competitor for top RPG of the year, Baldur's Gate 3, which hits PlayStation 5 the same day Starfield hits Xbox Series X|S, has not only had an Early Access version available for years but released its full version on PC ahead of schedule. And that's not even taking into account the bickering between fans of the console-specific games.
Remember, though, this is Bethesda we're talking about, a studio that tends to release RPGs with plenty of bugs but even more charm, (and the bugs tend to get ironed out with time anyway). It's a studio that unleashed Fallout 4 on the world without a demo, and while Skyrim got a non-downloadable one for brief, in-person play at conventions in the days leading up to its release, that was twelve years ago. Times change. We're more connected than we've ever been, and Bethesda has been doing a great job of keeping us connected to Starfield. I'm happy to bathe in the wealth of knowledge Todd Howard has already showered me with and trust that this game is going to be great.
God, I hope I'm right.