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Starfield Release Date, Trailer, And Gameplay - What We Know So Far

Starfield has been on industry radars for a while — ever since 2013, in fact, when publisher Bethesda filed a copyright claim for the title. The still-mysterious game was kicked around as an idea in 2004, according to a VentureBeat interview with Bethesda's Todd Howard, and has been in development since 2015. 

Now, in 2020, Starfield is getting more attention not because it's ripe for release, but because of Microsoft's surprise purchase of ZeniMax Media, which includes Bethesda. The official press release from Sept. 21, 2020 announcing the acquisition specifically mentioned Starfield when it said Bethesda's games would be added to Xbox Game Pass as soon as they launch on Xbox and PC. 

People understandably want to know more about this space-based role-playing game, but there's not a lot of official information out there yet. In June 2018, Howard did say the game was "playable," which is progress, at least. Here's what we do know about Starfield so far. 

What is the release date for Starfield?

Given the game's "playable" status as of two years ago and its long development cycle, players might hope that Starfield will be out sooner rather than later. Bethesda's Todd Howard did say in 2019 that Starfield is the priority right now.

However, there are some signs that it might take a bit longer to get a solid launch date. After all, there's been a recent change in the game's potential fortunes. Journalist Imran Khan revealed in the wake of Microsoft's purchase announcement that Sony had been in the process of negotiating timed exclusivity with Starfield "as recently as a few months ago." Now, it's looking like that exclusivity may lie with Microsoft's console.

There are sure to be other changes to come to Bethesda's operations now that Microsoft is in charge, even though Microsoft seems to be developing a more hands-off philosophy towards the companies it acquires. As for the release date, that is currently unknown.

Does Starfield have a trailer?

Bethesda released an announcement trailer at 2018's E3 that wasn't much more than a teaser, and nothing has really been seen since. The trailer is just over a minute long, and is clearly meant to evoke an atmosphere and mood rather than impart any tangible information. It shows a star, cresting over a planet, while the word "Constellation" seems to appear and disappear in the lower left of the screen. The camera pans to reveal a flower-shaped space station in its wake. Suddenly, some sort of tear opens in space and appears to warp or pull at reality. And that's all there is to it. 

Although the trailer may be evoking a particular mood, it's such a tidbit of a scene that it may not have quite done the job of making people anticipate the title properly. In the comments, people still seem to be more excited about a new Elder Scrolls release — even viewing Starfield as an obstacle to be overcome before they can get to the good stuff. Starfield is getting plenty of publicity right now, but a new look at the title is way overdue. 

What is the gameplay like in Starfield?

statement from Todd Howard after Microsoft's acquisition announcement said that Starfield would usher in "new technologies" and Bethesda's "largest engine overhaul since Oblivion." That statement indicates that more time is going to be needed to make this sci-fi game complete, but also gives fans a hint about the gameplay, which looks like it'll be similar to what's seen in The Elder Scrolls and Fallout. Beyond that, little is known, although the icing over of the screen and the drifting of the camera in the trailer may show us that some anti-gravity mechanics will be added to the mix.

As with other epic Bethesda games, you'll probably be able to experience plenty of quests, side quests, characters, and dialogue options in an open world where your decisions matter. But it's not clear whether you're playing in just one region of space or traversing galaxies and wormholes. Hopefully, Bethesda won't keep fans in the dark too much longer, as people definitely want to know more about its first new original franchise in 25 years.