Starfield had a much earlier release date before Xbox told Bethesda to take its time

Starfield screenshots
(Image credit: Bethesda)

Starfield was originally set to launch much earlier than November 2022 when Xbox acquired Bethesda.

Appearing on a Giant Bomb livestream yesterday on June 11, Xbox head Phil Spencer revealed a new detail about Starfield. In the broadcast just below at around the two hour and 40 minute mark, Spencer stated that when the Microsoft deal to acquire Bethesda parent company ZeniMax closed, Starfield was aiming for a much earlier release date than November 2022.

"Truth be told, when the acquisition closed this game had a significantly earlier ship date than where we're actually launching in," Spencer stated, clarifying that he was referring to the November 2022 release date. Spencer added that he then "sat down with Todd and the team," and explained that they wanted to give this team "the time" to finish Starfield.

The deal between Microsoft and ZeniMax was originally announced all the way back in September 2020. However, the deal wouldn't close until roughly half a year later in March 2021, meaning that as of just over two years ago, Starfield was targeting a release date earlier than its original launch plan.

Of course, Starfield would go on to get delayed out 2022 entirely, eventually announcing a release date for later this year on September 6, 2023. This means there was an original plan in which Starfield launched over a year prior to its now-final release date.

Unfortunately, Spencer doesn't really elaborate on what went on behind the scenes to delay Starfield all the way to September 2023, only mentioning that Xbox wanted to give Starfield all the time it needed. The RPG's delay out of 2022 was down to polish, and on that topic, Spencer jokingly comments that every Xbox console used for quality assurance at Xbox is playing Starfield right now.

Starfield is now on course to release on September 6, but if you pre-order the Digital Premium Edition of Bethesda's game, you can begin playing a whole five days earlier on September 1.

Check out our guide to the Starfield Direct for a full recap of everything announced at the showcase yesterday.

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.