Any on-record mention of Starfield is sure to whip the game's prerelease community into a frenzy, apparently even if that's affirmation Starfield won't be making an appearance. Hence the hubbub sparked by the news that Starfield will be skipping the now-confirmed January 25 Xbox Developer Direct showcase in favor of a "standalone deep dive" later in the year.
Xbox and Bethesda broke the news today, and were quick to clarify that, "to dedicate the proper amount of time for a deep dive into Starfield, a standalone show is in the works." Cool, so no big Starfield news this month, but more to come in the not-too-distant future.
Alas, this apparently wasn't enough to satisfy the hype goblins currently operating the brains of some frothing (opens in new tab) Starfield fans (opens in new tab), leading them to speculate that the game could still make some kind of appearance at the Developer Direct. You know, in spite of Xbox and Bethesda specifying the entire lineup – out of an understandable desire to set and control expectations after some conflicts last year – and rolling out a whole new stretch of red carpet just for Starfield.
This comment from Weighted_Overlay (opens in new tab) about sums it up: "They announced a dedicated show for Starfield and literally within an hour we have posts speculating that Starfield info will be at the Developer Direct anyway. You guys do this to yourselves."
Will the Starfield release date be announced at the January 25 Developer Direct? No, in no small part because that would kill the presumed grand finale for its personal showcase. Will Starfield's showcase be held in February? Maybe, though at earliest it would probably be very late in the month to give news (and logistics) from the Developer Direct time to cool, and even that's a bit of a stretch. I'd hedge my bets closer to spring for now. Starfield and Redfall are still currently targeting the first half of 2023, and I have a hunch we'll get Redfall first.
Finally, and I can't believe I have to say this, will Starfield be shadow-dropped on the heels of its big show? No. A thousand times no. Get off Reddit, get off Twitter, go outside and press your face into the grass and shout no until your lungs give out or the earthworms file a noise complaint.
This game has been marketed to Hell already, but not quite to the ninth circle of Hell, and Xbox and Bethesda are clearly determined to get it there, which is going to require some time between the show and launch. There are simply too many eggs in this basket to "experiment" with its release date a la Apex Legends, as some – and some is far too many – copium inhalers over on the Starfield subreddit have wished. This is Elden Ring all over again; I'm worried about y'all, I swear.
A Direct of its own is just what Xbox needs after a weak 2022, and one way or another, Starfield will be the most important Xbox game of this generation.