clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Starfield: What we know about Bethesda’s next RPG

Not much! But Todd Howard and friends want you to dig

If you buy something from a Polygon link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

a large spacecraft marked “NG1350” with a base behind it, sitting on the rocky surface of a planet in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks

Starfield is the next large-scale, AAA role-playing game from Fallout and Skyrim makers Bethesda Game Studios. It is scheduled to launch Nov. 11, 2022. The spacefaring RPG, first teased in 2018, is Bethesda’s biggest all-new video game world in the past 25 years. Here’s what we know about it, so far.

What is Starfield?

Skyrim in space,” Todd Howard told The Washington Post. Howard is the executive producer for Bethesda Game Studios and the creative leader of its Elder Scrolls franchise since 2000. In other words, this is the full-featured Bethesda Game Studios RPG experience, seen in games like The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim and Fallout 4, just applied to an all-new, science fiction setting.

In the same interview with the Post, Bethesda managing director Ashley Cheng called it “the Han Solo simulator. Get in a ship, explore the galaxy, do fun stuff.”

What’s the story of Starfield?

In an interview given to The Telegraph, Howard mentioned “The Constellation,” which is “this last group of space explorers.” Their activities are “like NASA meets Indiana Jones meets The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” Howard said. The Constellation is one of multiple factions within the game — players of Fallout and The Elder Scrolls would expect no less. But “it’s the main one you’ll become a part of,” Howard said, although players will encounter and can align with other groups as Starfield’s role-playing narrative moves on. The player is in a timeline about 300 years ahead of ours.

Outside of that, Howard and Bethesda aren’t saying. The trailer shown on Sunday says it involves “humanity’s final journey.”

Hey, what’s that thing I saw, you know, in the Starfield trailer?

Howard and Bethesda’s developers seem to want fans to fixate on Sunday’s announcement, frame-by-frame, to decipher clues to what Starfield will be when it launches next fall. “When asked about a plant growing in the background of a spaceship shown in the trailer, [Howard] demurred,” said the Post. To The Telegraph, Howard figured that fans would start picking up the pieces “in a few hours when you can stop every frame and look at it in 4K. There’s a lot there.”

The Telegraph astutely pointed to a book on the astronaut’s shelf in the narrative trailer — Sailing Alone Around the World, a memoir published in 1900 by Joshua Slocum, the first person to make a solo circumnavigation of Earth. He vanished at sea in 1909. “It all has relevance,” Howard said. “I’ll just say that.”

Is Starfield exclusive to Xbox?

Microsoft acquired Bethesda Softworks parent ZeniMax Media last fall. The studio is honoring exclusivity commitments to PlayStation, such as Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo, but Sunday’s E3 video made it clear that Starfield is for Windows PC and Xbox Series X. It’s not coming to PlayStation 5. Starfield is also going to launch day one on Xbox Game Pass.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon