Could over-ambition and extreme hype cause Bethesda's Starfield to meet an undesirable fate?

Bethesda is easily one of the most cherished game-makers and publishers in the modern gaming industry. The Maryland-based company is known for many iconic franchises, from DOOM to Dishonored. However, their gaming studio is universally hailed for two of the biggest IPs to grace gaming: Fallout and The Elder Scrolls.

Fallout takes players to a post-apocalyptic USA, rife with politics and warfare. The Elder Scrolls, meanwhile, is a journey to the fictional high-fantasy world of Tamriel, where countless fantasy beings roam free.

Both games are mechanically similar but fundamentally different franchises. These two alone have been enough to raise Bethesda Game Studios to stardom level. But will their upcoming Starfield fare similarly?


Starfield is Bethesda’s most anticipated game yet

Originally announced at E3 2018, Starfield has been Bethesda’s newest IP in over 25 years. It is an upcoming open-world action RPG with a sci-fi setting. The game aims to take notes from modern-day space science and elaborate upon it to keep the fictional universe still believable. This is a bold view, but it remains to be seen how they will execute it.

This is important to note because countless games these days have made lofty promises, only for things to fall apart in the end.

The most memorable example of this in recent memory is CD Projekt RED’s 2020 sci-fi RPG Cyberpunk 2077. To jog your memory, the studio pulled the wool over fans’ eyes and even the media’s with misleading trailers.

Keanu Reeves himself (who featured in-game as Night City’s star Johny Silverhand) ended up revealing that he has never played the game, despite CDPR’s earlier claims otherwise.

The end product was an unforgettable disaster at launch with broken quests, broken AI, unfinished mechanics, and countless other issues. It was all very unbelievable for fans who had their eyes on the project ever since the 2013 teaser.

It was only then that the poor work culture, PR damage control, and messy development cycle for the game came to light.

This hopefully won’t happen with Bethesda since they’ve claimed they’re confident in a 2022 release. However, they have their own issues to contend with.


Bethesda’s past record isn’t spotless

For starters, given the massive userbase behind both franchises, Starfield has big shoes to fill. The studio has promised expansive worlds, numerous character factions, free-form gameplay, and an ambitious story. But will it all hold up?

It should be noted that despite their popularity, Bethesda’s in-house games have never been technically sound. Their games have often been technically dated, with stiff animations and bland visuals in comparison to their competitors. Bugs and glitches were often part and parcel of these games.

This has resulted in a generation of players overlooking or even romanticizing incompetent products with the “bugs are funny” excuse, thus overlooking a fundamental flaw in video games: the polish.

After Cyberpunk 2077’s mess, gamers should know better. Yes, mods can fix stuff, and so can devs themselves with patches. However, is the bar so low that technical problems and design flaws should get a pass?

All of these are valid reasons to be worried about Starfield. The teasers and trailers they’ve released so far promise something great. However, besides the stellar in-engine visuals, a simple rundown of the overarching narrative, and a few leaked screenshots, we know next to nothing about it.

Of course, that will change in the upcoming months. But until the game is in console/PC drives, people must learn to temper their expectations because no matter how acclaimed a developer is, there is always a first time.


Starfield will be launching on November 11 this year – which is the same date Skyrim was released in 2011. It will be available for PC, PS4, XB1, PS5, and XSX|S.


Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh

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