Back in August 2017, the press noticed a leak over at 4chan, a post that spoke at length about Bethesda’s current and upcoming projects. One of these was a new IP for Bethesda called Starfield, listed separately from Elder Scrolls 6.
Coincidentally, Starfield was also rumored just prior to that leak back in June 2017, just before E3 2017. Bethesda had their E3 conference without a mention of Starfield, and we all dismissed the rumor, claiming it was false.
But about a month ago, game director of Bethesda Todd Howard confirmed that the publisher is working on two new games. Howard did not mention either by name, not Starfield nor Elder Scrolls VI. But both are apparently on their way out the door, and with E3 coming up in a few months we might just see an official announcement.
Update: Starfield has been revealed at Bethesda’s E3 2018 press conference. Check out all the information they gave us right here: Starfield Announced at E3 2018
Below is our best guess and current information on the Starfield reveal: What to Expect, When to Expect, & Why.
What To Expect From Starfield
At the moment, all we have on Bethesda’s Starfield are rumors and very little official information. As such, make sure you take all leaks and rumors with a healthy dose of salt. Feel free to draw your own conclusions on the matter and comment below.
Way back in 2013, ZeniMax (Bethesda’s parent company) filed a trademark for Starfield. All the press could derive from it was that Starfield is going to be a video game. The trademark covers all consoles and systems, and there are absolutely no specifics mentioned. If you would like to take a look at the first trademark, the link is right here.
In 2016, ZeniMax renewed the trademark for Starfield. You can see it for yourself right here. Once again, there was no further information or details from the trademark itself, ZeniMax, or Bethesda.
Now, what does it mean when companies file trademarks? Unfortunately, not a whole lot. More often than not, trademarks act as active placeholders. If someone pitches a video game idea to a publisher and the publisher (or developer) names that idea, it is in that publisher’s best interest to file a trademark on the name – whether or not the video game comes to fruition.
If it does not, the company will simply not renew the trademark when the time comes; this is why trademarks have expiry dates, otherwise no one else would be able to use similar names for their IP for all of time.
Just the name, not the concept itself. This is done in order to avoid any lawsuits in the future if someone else comes up with the same name for their product. Or simply to avoid confusion with another IP that might be named something similar.
If you would like a more in-depth explanation of trademarks in the context of video games, Extra Credits has a wonderful video made around the time CD Projekt Red filed their trademark for Cyberpunk. Extra Credits elaborates on what trademarks are versus copyrights, and what that means for publishers and developers alike.
The folks over at ResetEra have noticed something unusual about ZeniMax’s trademark. Specifically, the wording therein that covers all manner of consoles. It seems that there has been a rather significant change, as the text now mentions that Starfield will be covering mobile systems as well. Judging by the rest of the paragraph for goods and services, right next to tote bags and wallets, it sounds like Starfield might be a mobile companion app, rather than a full-fledged AAA game.
As to the legitimacy of this source, you can check out the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Global Brand Database yourself. If this really means that Starfield is a mobile is hard to say, as the text still includes other consoles. As such, it could be that “mobile systems” simply refers to the Nintendo Switch or the PS Vita.
Starfield Leaks And Rumors – 4chan
Now to the really juicy stuff! In August of 2017, a user on 4chan leaked some information on Bethesda’s current projects. The post has since been removed, but luckily Reddit users at the time were on point and copied the information originally posted.
That said, we should start with who this leaker claims to be. They are a permanent coder for Bethesda and they have worked for the company for “several years.” Despite this being “the best job I’ve ever had” the leaker states that they have “grown tired of all the bullshit secrecy.”
Within this explanation of who they are, it seems that the leaker was anticipating an official announcement from Bethesda the next day. However, we never heard a peep from Bethesda, likely due to the leak.
The information itself on Starfield (again, listed separately from The Elder Scrolls VI) explains that space travel, hub worlds, and RNG worlds. What this person probably meant by the latter is that Starfield will have procedurally generated worlds. The leaker compares the gameplay to Minecraft, where the player can “build settlements on any RNG world,” including colonies and cities.
However, Starfield will have more story, quests, and characters for players to interact with than in Minecraft. In fact, there are apparently “12 well-designed companions similar to the companions in Fallout 4.” Each of them can be romanced by the player, to the point of marriage. The player will not have a limit on how many people they can romance at once.
Speaking on those quests, Starfield will have “5 separate questlines based on which faction you join.” If the player does not wish to join a faction, there is that option too. The characters involved will be a variety of alien races (including some “robot-like races”), all humanoid in appearance. Most of which will be playable.
The information mentions combat very briefly, stating that combat will be mostly FPS with melee weapons like lightsabers, “but nothing that obvious.”
The user included a release date for Starfield, setting it for 2017. Clearly, that didn’t turn out.
That Dose of Salt
Can we take this leak seriously? Well, we can’t confirm the identity of the poster so it comes down to the information itself. Bethesda could make a game like this, it sounds like Elder Scrolls in space after all. It must also be pointed out that this information is about as vague as it gets. Bethesda could come out with any RPG and this leak would sound accurate.
In addition, it is obvious that Starfield is far too early in development for the leaker to comment on specifics. In the post, the person states that the developers have not even finished designing which aliens will be included in the game, whether they will be playable, or the colony system players can supposedly build.
It has been about 9 months since this leak, so it is entirely possible that Starfield is on more solid ground now. Though it is interesting to note that this leaker has not made an appearance since their original post.
Starfield Official Information
Finally, we come to the latest and official information for Starfield. On March 14, 2018, game director of Bethesda Todd Howard spoke to The AIAS Game Maker’s Notebook. The interview centered mostly around what it is like to be a part of the game-making industry, the creative process, and how games have influenced the lives of those involved in producing them.
As to the official statement, Howard mentions that Bethesda is working on getting two new games out the door, both are deep in development, and one of them has entered pre-production with a new engine. We don’t know what “pre-production” means, but we do know that getting something out the door means we might see the titles announced soon.
They might be announced soon, possibly at E3 2018, but if the game just got a new engine, we’re not going to see any footage anytime soon. A new engine takes work, no matter how far along the rest of the project might be.
When to Expect Starfield
If we don’t see Starfield at E3 2018, your guess is as good as ours. But, we have a strong feeling that it’s going to be officially revealed at this year’s E3, given Bethesda’s recent chatter about working on “two new games.”
Starfield’s official announcement from Bethesda might be next year, or it might be two years from now. Unfortunately, judging by what little information we do have, Starfield is far too early in its development to accurately guess when we will see an official announcement.
Of course, the same could’ve been set about Fallout 4 and the Doom reboot, but those were released the same year after their first mention.
Why Is Bethesda Making Starfield?
They’re a video game publisher and developer, that’s what they do. Why the new IP? Bethesda makes new IPs all the time and they are great, why not make more. There is no genre that Bethesda hasn’t touched before, especially sci-fi. Only just last year we got Prey, which turned out to be BioShock in space.
That said, some of you might be wondering why Bethesda did not announce Starfield immediately after the leak appeared. because it is very clearly way too early in development. Starfield probably won’t even be the end title, much less anything to do with the game.
What We Want From Starfield
As to what we want Starfield to look like, it’s hard to say. It sounds like a sci-fi title just because of the word “star,” but it could be any genre because we don’t actually know. We can’t take the leak seriously when we can’t prove it with anything official. What official information we do have, doesn’t even mention a title.
So a better question might be: what would we want from a new Bethesda IP? Since Bethesda is a company capable of creating anything, this is a broad question that really just translates to what games we’d like to see a sequel for (Elder Scrolls and Fallout) and what games we’d like to see come out of the industry. However, each gamer wants something different and there is no way we could come up with a general consensus everyone can agree on.
As such, we pose the question to you. What do you want Starfield to look like? Should it be a better RPG than Bethesda’s previous titles? What should they improve on? What do you think Starfield needs to make it unique from other Bethesda titles? Let us know in the comments below!