An illustration of the new Starfield cover.
Illustration by Olivia Woolfrey, Ringling College of Art and Design
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An illustration of the new Starfield cover.
Illustration by Olivia Woolfrey, Ringling College of Art and Design

Could there be a better game than Skyrim or Fallout? This game may be coming for them.

As games have evolved over the past few decades, they have become more expansive than ever. With Bethesda revealing its newest game, Starfield, will contain over a thousand worlds for players to interact with, some are becoming concerned with just how many of those worlds are designed to waste time.

What Is Starfield About?

Bethesda, best-known for Elder Scrolls and its Fallout games, announced in June 2021 that it would release a brand-new video game, untied to any of its other franchises, in the year to come. The game, which we now know is titled Starfield, is a space role-playing game (RPG) that will be Bethesda’s first new series to come out in 25 years. And after seeing many years of success from The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, it’s easy to understand why the company strayed away from constantly producing new games.

Bethesda described Starfield as a “next-generation role-playing game set amongst the stars” where players can “create any character [they] want and explore with unparalleled freedom.” The game will take players on a journey through space that is unique to their decisions and unlike anyone else’s.

The 15-minute gameplay trailer released by the company covered everything from character creation to learning how to fly a spaceship. Gamers can see that they will be able to customize their character’s looks, background and personality traits — all of which can and will drastically affect how the game is played. The gameplay also showcased the fighting style, which looks a lot like what fans saw in both Skyrim and Fallout. The aiming feature seems more similar to Fallout’s, which makes sense when you consider the fact that the two games use similar weapons.

Starfield Release Updates

On May 12, Bethesda announced via Twitter that the release of Starfield needed to be pushed back further than its original November 2022 date, attributing the decision to the developer’s desire to ensure that the “best, most polished” version of the game is released to fans. The game is now set for an unspecified date in the first half of 2023, giving Bethesda and their developers anywhere from a few more months to another year to work on the final version.

With the announcement of this delay, Bethesda has gained additional time to continue to inform eager players about the different aspects of the game. The company has been steadily releasing promotional stills, wallpapers, concept art and — most notably — a series known as the gameplay diaries, in which a different portion of the game or development process is covered in depth by the developing team.

The gameplay diaries currently have four episodes, titled “Into the Starfield: The Journey Begins,” “Into the Starfield: The Endless Pursuit,” “Into the Starfield: Made for Wanderers” and “Into the Starfield: The Sound of Adventure.” The first video, which they have labeled the prologue, introduces the game’s concept, almost a teaser trailer for the official teaser trailer. The next, identified as Episode 1, is the first real look at the details of the game as Todd Howard, game director, Matt Carofano, art director and Angela Browder, studio director, go over the history of Bethesda and what the game will mean for the company’s future.

Episode 2 is the first big look at the gameplay and player capabilities. Once again, Todd Howard sits down with game artists and quest writers, who go over the different storylines that players can explore, including the breakdown of “factions,” which each represent things we see in society today. Episode 3, the latest episode, goes over the soundtrack of the game. Bethesda has long been known for its game soundtracks, including Jeremy Soule’s “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Original Game Soundtrack,” which won four major awards. The video sits down with Inon Zur, a composer, as he goes over his inspiration for the game’s music.

More episodes may be released between now and 2023, in which fans will learn even more about the game, almost making the anticipation hard to take.

What Is an Open World Game?

An open-world video game allows players to roam freely and make whatever decisions they would like. It is a type of game mechanic that uses a virtual world to allow the player to explore and approach objectives “out of order.” This differs from a linear game, where players have a structured set of objectives that they must complete to finish the game.

Both Fallout and Skyrim were open-world games, so it is not surprising that Bethesda has opted to make Starfield open-world as well. However, there have been some shocking things revealed about the open world of Starfield, as it is drastically different from anything gamers have seen before. In the official gameplay trailer, Howard goes over the unique traits of the game, one of which is the many planets that players can interact with. Howard states that there are over 100 systems and over 1,000 planets for gamers to explore. And while this does sound intriguing at first, it has raised some serious questions about the potential for excessive time-wasting in the game.

Video game content creator, writer and developer Alanah Pearce immediately shared her concern on Twitter, stating that:

“I might be alone here but my near-immediate reaction to ‘there are 1,000 planets!’ is way more concern than hype. I’m excited to play Starfield for a bunch of reasons, but 1,000 planets just makes me go ‘ok most of those must be very barren/uhh I don’t have time for that’.”

Many were quick to agree, saying that it is impossible to create 1,000 unique planets and that there are bound to be repetitive features shared between worlds. Some even stated they would prefer quality over quantity. However, there were some who were equally excited about the idea of putting in the hours to explore each planet and see what it offers. Each player is different, and an open-world game is the best chance any developer has at being able to please one style of gamer with one universal game.

In the End

There has been a growing trend in the past few years of games, films, television shows and albums being pushed back by their creators. Whether this is because of the state of our world today or something unrelated, we can’t be sure. But it is important to note that video game fans always want the developing teams to publish a game that they are proud of and one that they feel adequately represents the world they wanted to create. Fans can also rest easy knowing that if 1,000 planets seem too daunting for them, they don’t need to worry about having to explore them all! The game is open-ended and free to explore, leaving the fate of the game in the hands of the players themselves.

With Starfield, fans trust that Todd Howard and the rest of the Bethesda team will continue to impress, as they have for many years before.

Writer Profile

Janey Schmidt

Columbia College Chicago
Bachelor of Arts in English

I have always been an avid reader no matter the format. I am especially eager to read, write, and talk about all things fantasy!

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