Starfield, one of the most eagerly anticipated games of all time, now has a release date. The game will arrive on September 6, 2023, as was recently revealed by its developer Bethesda Game Studios in a new trailer for the game.
The game lets you travel a vast galaxy featuring thousands of planets, carrying out missions for an enigmatic group known as “Constellation”. It was originally slated for release in the first half of the year.
Starfield’s now confirmed launch date means it won’t arrive until late summer, though, having been delayed last year after it missed its much-publicized 11.11.22 launch date. It would have launched exactly 10 years after Bethesda’s much-loved The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim game had it arrived on this date, but Bethesda postponed Starfield’s release in order to give the team more time to finish and polish the eagerly anticipated game.
To make the delay more bearable for Bethesda fans, though, the company will be showing off the game during its Starfield Direct event this June.
“This June we’re gonna bring you into the studio, and give you a deep dive in the game at our Starfield Direct. There’s so much that we still have to show you”, said Starfield’s game director Todd Howard in the video below.
The thing is, will Starfield be a success?
The fact that Bethesda decided to push the game into the second half of the year seems like a good idea, despite the fact the game is one of the most anticipated of 2023, and perhaps of all time. This is because had it launched say, in May, it would have been up against Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, while an earlier release in April would have meant it going toe to toe with Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. Meanwhile, a June release would have pitted it against Square Enix’s hotly anticipated JRPG Final Fantasy XVI and also against Blizzard’s Diablo 4.
So a September release does seem to do the game a favor, and will likely help its sales.
But then again Bethesda is one of the best-known game studios in the world: they are the people behind Fallout 4 and Skyrim after all, even if avoiding heavyweight competition seems like a good idea even for a big-name studio.
Starfield, though, is one of the most anticipated games coming in 2023 for sure: a study based on global search volume online ranked Bethesda’s game number two in its most-anticipated list, behind Nintendo’s new Zelda game but ahead of other heavyweights like Diablo 4.
Also, this will be the first Bethesda game to debut on the Xbox Game Pass service after Microsoft completed the acquisition of the Maryland studio back in 2021. It’s obviously one of the most anticipated games coming to Game Pass this year, meaning it’s likely to get even more attention than its earlier high-profile releases like Fallout 4, Skyrim and Fallout 76 as those subscribing to Microsoft’s service will be able to download and play the game on day one.
A caveat, nonetheless, is that Bethesda will be missing the millions of sales it would have got had Starfield launched on Sony’s PS5 too, but then it’s been known for a very long time that this would be an Xbox exclusive though.
It being a new IP might dent its chances somewhat though, especially if reviews are not that great. Everyone is expecting a quality release, and if indeed this turns out to be “Skyrim in space” (as director Todd Howard has described it) Starfield should end up with a very good Metacritic score. This means more people will be eager to fork out for the game or even subscribe to Xbox Game Pass, it becoming the “killer exclusive” for Microsoft’s platform.
But even if Starfield turns out to be a mediocre game, it’s still bound to do well. Take Fallout 76’s case for instance: it arrived in late 2018 to dismal reviews but was still played by millions. Also, people will be encouraged by the fact that Fallout 76 was supported by Bethesda for a very long time, with the Maryland studio adding content to the game (including NPCs, quests and new factions) over the years, and it’s likely to support Starfield for years to come too.
Starfield, though, is likely to get positive reviews as it seems to stick to the same formula which has made previous Bethesda games successful, and won’t be a multiplayer-centric game like Fallout 76 was at launch.
“The game has many of the hallmarks that you’d expect from us but it’s also a very unique experience”, said Todd Howard in the launch date announcement video.
Encouraging words no doubt, so here’s hoping Bethesda can get the game’s “unique” elements right while also delivering a familiar experience so that both Bethesda fans and newcomers can have a blast playing Starfield this summer, as this is likely to turn out to be another success for Bethesda this year.