Starfield Risks Becoming The New Cyberpunk 2077

Todd Howard recently announced to the world that Fallout 5 is coming and will be released after Elder Scrolls 6. On the face of things, that seems obvious – so obvious in fact, that maybe it’s worth not mentioning at all? Starfield is a new property, not just for Bethesda but for Microsoft as well. It is the first exclusive title by the video game maker for the Xbox Series X/S (and PC), and it should be treated with all the attention it needs, especially as based on what we’ve seen so far, the game looks a bit stiff, not that beautiful and, well, in need of work.

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Aesthetics have never been the key focus for Bethesda, but they do need to be given more attention than this. Bethesda’s Creation Engine has always been a bit on the shonky side, and with Starfield using Creation Engine 2, it doesn’t look like its improved all that much. Perhaps it’s more a case of not selecting the right footage for the trailer, but the planet we see the action taking place on looks painfully drab – like No Man’s Sky without any of the color. After the bad word of mouth and feedback they received for Fallout 76, it should have been a back to the drawing board moment for them. Better to wait longer than have to deal with another Cyberpunk 2077 type of fiasco.

Game development is a long hard road, and many hours are put into projects by very passionate teams. However, it does feel like more pressure from shareholders and board members is being placed on development teams to get a game out before it’s ready. Doing so results in bugs, negative press, and people demanding refunds. For what? So the people at the top can get deeper pockets sewn into their pants?

Bethesda has a storied history of releasing buggy games that are later patched by the community (or releasing broken console games that aren’t fixed until weeks after release – I’m looking at you, Fallout 3 for the PS3). Continuing to delay games is not necessarily a bad thing. Better to wait an extra year or two to play a great version of Starfield than one that is unplayable. The game has been in development since Jack drew Rose on the Titanic, but that’s okay because more time in development should mean more time to ensure a higher quality game is released, especially since Microsoft finalized its $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda in March 2021.

More money should mean fewer problems and better quality, but even after that and all the time in development, Bethesda put out a gameplay demo that looks pretty ‘meh.’ This is the first major original idea from Bethesda in decades and the trailer should’ve aimed to blow people away with not just the 1000-planet scale but the quality of what you could do within its galaxy. Instead of announcing another Fallout sequel, Bethesda and Todd Howard should have said their primary focus is on Starfield and until it is released they do not have plans to work on other titles.

Yes, people want another Fallout game, but pushing back the next game in the series would be understandable, especially when working on a title as massive and as important as Starfield is. There’s no doubt a lot of pressure on Bethesda and I do not envy them – they have to make a great new IP not only for themselves but for their parent company which has billions invested in them. As a fan, you just have to hope they don’t feel the need to skip some ingredients and take this game out of the oven before it’s ready.

If Starfield comes out and underwhelms players, you can bet that part of the argument against it will be that Bethesda was more focused on getting the game out and working on its existing IPs instead of launching the best original game they have released in a long time . I do not want Starfield to fail, but as the saying goes, “slow and steady wins the race,” and the company should take all the practice laps and fine-tuning they need.

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