Starfield. It’s the game everyone wants but nobody has actually seen. We’ve only ever seen a trailer released at E3 2018, and since then it’s been radio silent. We know the game exists. We know that Bethesda is still working on it. But we know nothing else other than the setting, which will apparently be somewhere in space.
And we know one other thing: it apparently needed to have its whole engine rewritten to accommodate next-gen consoles.
Speaking on the most recent Xbox Podcast, Bethesda Studios director Todd Howard told Phil Spencer and Pete Hines that Starfield’s engine needed to be rewritten to play on the new Xbox Series X.
“I would say that it’s a really exciting project that we’ve been doing for a long time, and once we got on the new systems, the things we found we could do…” Howard said. “And so it’s a major engine re-write on that game.”
The Xbox Series X, much like the PS5, makes use of ray tracing and other advanced features to provide reportedly unmatched visual fidelity for next-gen games. With Starfield’s development starting even before 2018, it’s likely that things like DLSS and ray tracing weren’t even on Bethesda’s radar during the game’s conception, and so the only solution is to upgrade the engine to take advantage of the latest advancements in gaming technology.
Howard added that they’re “closer to showing [Starfield] than we were at the beginning of this conversation,” but he still prefers to wait as long as possible before making gameplay trailers.
Games journo Imran Khan noted that the timing for the Microsoft/Bethesda acquisition was “absolutely fascinating” given the fact Sony was negotiating to make Starfield a timed exclusive on the PS5 “as recently as a few months ago.” Bethesda is still going ahead with earlier PS5 exclusives Ghostwire: Tokyo and Deathloop, but other games are said to be taking a “case by case basis.”
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