Bethesda has confirmed that they are developing Starfield, their first new franchise in 25 years, for an unannounced next generation of gaming hardware. While the game was first announced back in June, described as their “next-generation singleplayer epic”, what was specifically meant by next-gen wasn’t clear. As a marketting strategy, ‘next-gen’ could mean in terms of software, like a new engine, gameplay, like new ideas, or hardware, like a new generation of consoles. Eurogamer sat down with Todd Howard, director and executive producer at Bethesda, earlier this week to discuss Starfield. In the interview, Howard confirms that when they say it is a “next-generation” experience, it is a combination of next-gen hardware, next-gen software and next-gen gameplay.
Todd Howard states “what systems we put it out on – what’s the hardware requirements – is still to be determined. We’re pushing it; we’re thinking very, very far in future so we’re building something that will handle next-generation hardware. That’s what we’re building on right now, that’s where our mind is, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t exist on the current systems as well.”
A new frontier
As stated in the interview, Starfield will be the first new franchise from Bethesda, makers of The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom and Wolfenstein, in 25 years. While Doom and Fallout play with the Sci-Fi genre, Starfield looks to be more of a space exploration game, rather than horror of post-apocalyptic. This is a refreshing change for Bethesda, as the creativity of the technology in modern Wolfenstein games and the Fallout series lend themselves to the endless possibilities of the final frontier. Space is unexplored territory for Bethesda, and with the size of their worlds in Skyrim and Fallout, it will be interesting to see how much they offer the player to explore.
However, the game is far from release. Much like Elder Scrolls VI’s announcement, they are years away from being close to a finished product. While this means fans will be waiting longer, Bethesda believe it’s better to keep fans aware of future products. Howard states “it’s better to say we’re making it. It makes life a little bit easier for us. [If we didn’t say anything] they would be disappointed and they’d still ask ‘What about Starfield?’ and ‘What about Elder Scrolls 6?’. But it’s also exciting! We’re excited; we want to share it with everybody.” While a game like Fallout 4 was released only a few months after its official announcement in June 2015, Howard also states that realistically they had been working on the game since 2004.
Starfield is definitely promising, but as it is being developed for the next-generation of console it feels like the development will resemble actual space exploration. Hopefully the long wait is worth it for fans.