In a new interview, Starfield director Todd Howard it took quite some time for the studio to find the fun in its epic sci-fi RPG.
While the idea for Starfield has been kicking around in Bethesda for much longer, GQ's interview with Howard suggests that the game has formally been in development for eight years. Howard says that Starfield only "clicked" into being fun to play sometime in 2022, adding that "I thought we would find the answers faster."
It's not an uncommon story for games to only really come together in the final stages of development, though while development cycles for major games are ballooning to well past the half-decade mark, eight years still seems like an unusually lengthy dev period. While Starfield was announced to the public in 2018, its first concrete release date wasn't set until E3 2021, when Bethesda promoted a November 11, 2022 launch - apparently around the time that the studio was finally making the game fun.
Another fun detail from the new interview is that Starfield was initially codenamed Genesis, a name which was apparently inspired by both the Bible and Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan. (No apparent connection to the American name for Sega's most notable console, though Howard has noted some big retro gaming influences on Starfield in the past.)
Howard also revealed that Starfield will have some kind of "twist" on a New Game+ mode, and that he has some regrets over how the Elder Scrolls 6 announcement happened.