In an effort to remind everyone, themselves included, that Starfield does indeed come out this November, Bethesda Softworks released both an extended trailer and developer diary of the game.
Clocking in at almost 15 minutes, the extended trailer is really less of a trailer and more of Game Director Todd Howard doing pre-scripted interviews with various department heads. There’s a bit of self-aggrandizing—Bethesda constantly references older games like Fallout 3 and Skyrim in an effort to coax excitement from players’ warm memories. Howard often pats himself on the back during these reminders, promising a high quality game in Starfield because they’ve nailed it at least four times over the past two decades.
The roundtable operates on this same principle, with Howard leading a discussion full of developers who sound like they haven’t played an RPG in years. They fill nearly six minutes by talking about their exciting “open world where players can go anywhere,” a trailblazing “story the player makes themselves,” and the never-before-seen “spontaneous and vibrant” comments that companion characters can make. Does any of that sound familiar?
It’s highly possible that I’m being hard on Howard and the team, as they’re clearly very excited for the game that they’ve poured years of themselves into. But it’s worrying when a dev team believes their ideas are novel and not simply standard within the industry. Even the reliance on concept art throughout the trailers easily reads as lacking confidence with the game and engine. Showing artist interpretations of what promises to be a complex and detailed world is not the same as showing the world itself.
A lot about how Bethesda is discussing Starfield fills me with hesitation, but ultimately I am not everyone. Many fans still trust the company and are patiently waiting for the big gameplay reveal so they can (politely or not) gloat about the studio still operating with that same magic of their golden years. It’s really only when the game releases on Nov. 11 on Game Pass and PC that we will have our answer.