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Fact Check: Starfield is a Bethesda Game

Today we’re putting aside the irreverent gaming commentary to bring you the most important fact from yesterday’s Xbox conference. Despite the apparent surprise from huge swathes of the gaming community, Starfield is indeed a Bethesda game.


I can sympathize. Really I can. You follow a game for years and years, straight from its announcement at the Bethesda conference. You expect a brand new Bethesda RPG in space. Then the day comes: gameplay for the first time. But alas, it’s an RPG with shooter elements, deep character control and exploration.

If you’re hurt and confused, you’re not alone. A good chunk of reaction to the game’s reveal last night was “wait – this style Bethesda has built over 30 years is still what Bethesda is making?”

And you just can’t account for that level of intelligence.

Starfield is Made by Bethesda

You can see the Bethesda DNA in every frame of the Starfield gameplay. You just know there are going to be planets populated entirely by people called Dave. There will be crap to pick up in the first hour of the game that you’ll keep in your scrap bag for 1,000 hours just in case you need it.

This is a fantastic thing. Nobody makes Bethesda games. Obsidian – also a Microsoft studio – do an amazing job of creating their own take on the genre, but the immersion and atmosphere are very different.

Fallout 4 came out in 2015. And while 76 has its fans, for those of us looking for a long RPG in this style, it has been a very, very long time.

That it’s going to be bigger, that it’s going to be all-new enemies and locations and that it’s going to be free on Game Pass? How can that be a bad thing?

It would be too easy to put this down to the fact it’s not coming to PlayStation. In fact, it’s easier to presume that maybe gamers really are just a dour bunch. It’s hard to out-develop the weird, ethereal Starfield that is in the heads of every individual following its creation. And that doesn’t just go for Starfield. It goes for every single game. Nothing is good enough, with whatever exceptions we each allow ourselves to give.

That’s not to say that it was beyond criticism. It shouldn’t be and it won’t be. But criticizing it for being Fallout in Space is like criticizing EA Sports for making Soccer but Digital.


And yes, I’ve been around long enough to remember Elder Scroll with Guns comparisons. And then Fallout with Swords when it went back the other way.

This is part of the weird criticism Bethesda has always gotten. That they create games with such huge scope, so many things to see and explore – and yet it gets boiled down to a single soundbite. This is not an Xbox VS PlayStation thing, although I must admit I stopped myself from looking at Twitter. I’m sure the discourse there is absolutely toxic.

The reviews for Starfield will be incredible. The game will be a GOTY contender (even if it releases with the usual Bethesda jank). But yes, it will be a Bethesda game.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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Twitter: @matgrowcott