In more ways than one, Bethesda’s Starfield marks the end of an era

In more ways than one, Bethesda’s Starfield marks the end of an era

Bethesda Game Studios is well known for creating massive open-world RPGs that absorb players into its universes for weeks, months, and sometimes years. The studio has released unparalleled role-playing experiences in the past two decades that have garnered enormous and dedicated audiences. All eyes are now set on this upcoming new title from The Elder Scrolls and Fallout studio, Starfield.

Bethesda Game Studios’ upcoming new IP Starfield is set to be the end of an era in a few ways, while also being the beginning of another.

The hotly anticipated Starfield is still pretty much shrouded in mystery, though few things have become crystal clear. Starfield isn’t just a brand-new IP from Bethesda, it’s also a new beginning for this RPG giant that hopes to recover its lost momentum, guided by a new light.

Starfield: A New Universe Full Of Possibilities

Developing new IPs is a risky business, especially in the modern era where AAA games cost millions of dollars to make. These AAA games usually take at least three to four years to develop and, depending on their success or failure, could make or break companies. As such, an abundance of AAA publishers tends to take a safer approach by investing in expanding their existing franchises rather than experimenting.

New AAA IPs from publishers still come out now and then, but they are less frequent than two generations ago. Rockstar Games has been cycling between Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto for the last decade and would presumably continue to do so, given the popularity of both franchises. With the pricing of certain next-gen games increasing from $60 to $70, gamers are bound to be more skeptical about their purchases, which puts full-priced new AAA IPs that are not part of game subscription services such as Xbox Game Pass in a more risky position. This could be a reason why, despite enormous demand, Rockstar Games won’t make a game like Bully 2, which is unlikely to sell as well as Grand Theft Auto 6.

In the current state of affairs, seeing a new IP from a notable publisher is an exciting feat, which opens up endless surprising possibilities for both developers and gamers. Just like Rockstar Games, Bethesda Game Studios have focused on releasing only The Elder Scrolls and Fallout games consecutively for the last 15 years. However, with Starfield, BGS is all set to break its cycle of game releases.

Structurally, Starfield could be Skyrim in space, but an entirely different setting would fundamentally change how certain aspects of the game function. Unlike The Elder Scrolls, Starfield takes place in outer space, which certainly rules out traversing on a horseback. Instead, players will use their spaceships to travel from one planet to another. Similarly, Starfield will introduce new factions, locations, weapons, and lore, which will be fresh for both veteran Bethesda fans and newcomers.

Starfield is uncharted territory for Bethesda Game Studios, whose past games are thematically miles apart from it. While it would primarily attract hardcore BGS fans, it would also appeal to the fans of the sci-fi genre who might not have delved into the fantastical world of The Elder Scrolls or the post-apocalyptical world of Fallout. Starfield has Blade Runner vibes, which is a pinnacle in the sci-fi genre of its own and could easily attract fans with the sheer possibility of exploring a thematically similar universe. Starfield has been 25 years in the making and is being built on the brand-new creation engine 2, the next-gen variant of the infamous engine responsible for a plethora of buggy Bethesda releases that ultimately resulted in memes from The Elder Scrolls and Fallout games. Recent BGS titles are consistently mocked for their dated visuals and mechanics, and while BGS has yet to reveal extensive gameplay footage of Starfield, fans can likely expect significant improvement in visual fidelity and performance.

Starfield: A New Beginning As An Xbox Exclusive
starfield pilot viewed from behind
Ever since Microsoft acquired Bethesda for $7.5 billion, fans have been curious about Starfield’s exclusivity. At E3 2021, Microsoft finally cleared the air and confirmed that Starfield would indeed be exclusive to the next-gen Xbox devices and PC. The news didn’t fare well with the PlayStation community and resulted in Bethesda apologizing to the PS5 players. However, despite titles like Skyrim and Fallout 4 being available on PlayStation consoles, BGS games have primarily been home to the Xbox and PC, and Starfield is ending the multiplatform era of BGS games to go back to the studio’s roots. Bethesda Game Studios has delivered some of its finest role-playing experiences exclusively to the Xbox systems in the past. Morrowind is undoubtedly one of the best RPGs of all time, and set the foundation for future BGS titles. Similarly, the universally acclaimed Oblivion was an Xbox exclusive for a whole year before it came to the PS3. Furthermore, BGS titles tend to be relatively more optimized on Xbox consoles. Skyrim was almost unplayable on PS3 at launch.

With Starfield, Bethesda isn’t just going back to its Xbox roots, but also embracing what made those iconic RPGs – Morrowind and Oblivion – so incredible. Both Skyrim and Fallout 4 toned down certain RPG mechanics from past games to be more accessible to newcomers. With Starfield, Bethesda remains focused on reintroducing “hardcore” RPG elements that made games like Morrowind, Oblivion, and Fallout 3 so iconic in the first place. As such, fans used to the overlying structure of Skyrim and Fallout 4 might be in for a surprise. Although exclusive, Starfield will be the first BGS title to launch directly on Xbox Game Pass – Microsoft’s growing subscription service. It means that Starfield will be available on day one to millions of players across the world who use Game Pass via the Xbox consoles, PC, or Xbox cloud gaming; the latter of which will allow players to access Starfield on their mobile devices.

A refocus on RPG mechanics, a brand-new universe developed on a modified game engine releasing on next-gen Xbox devices, and a growing subscription service put Starfield in a unique position from past Bethesda games. These are just some ways in which Starfield is set to be the end of an era for Bethesda, while also being the beginning of another. Starfield launches November 11, 2022, on PC and Xbox Series X/S.

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