Starfield, Bethesda's first new IP in 25 years was recently delayed from November 11, 2022, and given a TBC 2023 release window. Naturally, this made some players worry about how production was progressing on what is arguably the most anticipated upcoming Xbox Series X games. Thankfully, Bethesda Game Studios' game director and executive producer confirmed that the studio has almost completed its work on the game, during a media briefing ahead of E3 2022: "We're putting the finishing touches on Starfield, which is an incredible opportunity for us," says Howard.
Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer also says that he believes Starfield will be seen as a "hallmark" of the ZeniMax Media acquisition, which was completed in March 2021 and brought teams like Arkane, Bethesda, MachineGames, and id Software into Xbox Game Studios.
"Starfield for me is a unique opportunity. Todd Howard has been a friend for an awful long time, and the fact that Bethesda Game Studios is working on a new IP, which has been a long time [coming]... This will be a hallmark for us – in terms of the acquisition of ZeniMax, getting to work with Todd, and bringing this game to market."
"I've seen a lot of this game, people are going to see more of it, and I love setting the goal of: Let's get more players for this game than in any other game."
Spencer has spoken in the past about his ambition for Starfield to be the most played game out of Bethesda – a tall order, considering the ongoing, decade-long success of Skyrim – and he spoke briefly here on how he believes Xbox can achieve that.
"When I think about the platform that we're building, we're building a platform that can reach billions of players. Whether it's on console, whether it's on PC, whether it's through Xbox Cloud streaming – where players on any device that they want to play on should be able to find the content that they want to play, whether it's in a web browser, whether it's in an app, or whether it's on a device that's dedicated to playing games. That's just fundamental to where Xbox is going."
Howard also spoke to the "incredible opportunity" that Starfield presents to Bethesda. "Players out there can experience what we're creating," he continues, "and get it to more people around the world, and in so many different ways than really we ever have before." Howards adds that the studio is excited about "being able to do something that really takes advantage of Xbox – on the machines themselves, with Series S and X, as well as knowing that anyone who is going to play the game can play it on PC, or xCloud, or whatever screens they're on."
"Our ability to transport people, to put them in new worlds where they can have experiences that – for the moment that you're in them – they feel real for what they are, and the emotions you have. We've seen that with our other franchises like the Elder Scrolls, with Skyrim, and the Fallout Series. We're working really closely with Xbox now to make that [Starfield] the best experience it can be. Not just on the hardware, but how people access it, and being able to bring a game like this to more people than any of our games – it really is an incredible opportunity," says Howard.
Starfield is yet to receive a new release date following its delay, although a recent Game Pass advertisement signals that an "early 2023" window may be in sight. Either way, we'll be hoping to see the first Starfield gameplay reveal during the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase that's on the E3 2022 schedule for this weekend.