Starfield has been a huge name among the Bethesda fanbase for years, even if it was just announced for the first time ever at E3 2018. Rumours about the game had been circulating for years before Bethesda finally confirmed its existence, and as it turns out, that’s because it had actually been on the docket for the developer for a long, long time, at least in some form or another.
Speaking in an interview with VentureBeat, Todd Howard stated that the idea for a sci-fi epic had been burgeoning in his mind for about ten years, and that back before Bethesda acquired the Fallout IP, a post-apocalypse IP of their own or a new sci-fi RPG were the things they wanted to work on most. The idea for Starfield picked up steam about five years ago, which is when they decided to file a trademark and think of the things they wanted to do in the game. Following that, Starfield entered proper development in 2015, as soon as Bethesda Game Studios were finished with their work on Fallout 4.
“After Fallout 4 ended,” Howard said when asked about when the game entered proper development. “End of 2015? But back when we — 2004, we had made a list of what we might want to do in the future. Epic science fiction game, that’s always been on my mind. Post-apocalyptic, Fallout, was our first choice. Sci-fi was our second at the time, when we got the Fallout license. We were going to do our own post-apocalyptic universe if we didn’t get Fallout.”
“We just talked about it, and then I guess it really picked up steam — we’re going to do this, register the trademark — about five years ago,” he continued. “Then we would talk about it from time to time during that period. What are we going to do? And we started work right after Fallout 4 was finished, November 2015.”
It’s also worth considering, however, that Fallout 76 has also probably been in development right alongside Starfield the entire time, though once the game finally launches this November, they will probably be able to shift focus to the former. That said, other projects like The Elder Scrolls 6 and The Elder Scrolls: Blades are also in development at the studio, while Fallout 76, being an online-focused title, will also require constant maintenance and updates. Given the fact that they now have 400 employees, though, it’s likely that they’ll be able to juggle all of that properly.
Development on Starfield has seemingly been coming along nicely. The game’s in full production, and according to Howard, it’s already in a playable state– or at least parts of it are. And while it’s likely that the game will be launching for next-gen systems, Bethesda still haven’t ruled out a current-gen launch for it either.