Bizarre Starfield release date fan theory actually has legs

Starfield’s release date might have been revealed in its gameplay trailer, as one fan theory and our own investigation finds some mysterious coincidences

Starfield player character during customisation

The Starfield release date might actually be confirmed – so claims a bizarre fan theory, which points to some obscure hints in the RPG’s first gameplay trailer, hints that, now we’ve looked into them ourselves, make an alarming amount of sense. So pull on your oxygen helmets, and fire up the Always Sunny clip of Charlie ranting about Pepe Silvia. We’re going off the deep end.

It all starts with a Starfield, Fallout, and all-round Bethesda-game YouTuber, LoneVaultWanderer, who on June 22 makes an appearance on the Defining Duke podcast. Here, LoneVaultWanderer explains how, during the first gameplay trailer for Starfield, a ship can be seen that displays a series of numbers on its hull: 821,393. These numbers apparently match the serial number of the patent filed by the Wright Brothers for their first ever “Flying Machine”. LoneVaultWanderer speculates that since the Wright Brothers filed their patent on March 23, 1903, this is a hint for the release of Starfield.

Eagle-eared fans pick this up, and start a thread on Reddit explaining how, since March 23, 2023 would mark exactly 120 years since the Wright Brothers’ first patent, and that this date will also be a Thursday, when games traditionally release in the US, that the die is cast – this, surely, is the release date.

This is where we come in. Scouring the gameplay trailer for Starfield, it seems like there are no numbers, of any significance, on any of the ships, that is until the very last seconds, when what is apparently the player’s own craft zips past the screen before jumping to hyperspace. It’s small, it’s dark, it’s subtle, but we’ve expanded and brightened it up. There it is – 821,393.

We’ve also linked to the exact spot where you can see it in the trailer:

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That seems pretty conclusive, but we decide to do some extra digging. See, evidence of the Wright Brothers’ original patent went missing in 1980, but as reported by Atlas Obscura, the documents resurfaced in 2016, when they were found inside a cave in Missouri.

They’re tattered and faded, but you can see for yourself: right there, at the top of the document on the left, dated 1903, is the serial number 821,393.

Other documents from the Wright Brothers, dated 1906, also carry this serial number, but these are from when the patent was finally approved, not when it was filed, so the March 23, 1903 date — the initial filing — still stands up.

And so here we are. 821,393 is the number of the Wright Brothers’ first patent, and its place alongside the player’s ship could hint at Starfield’s release on the crucial, 120th anniversary date of humankind’s first voyage into the skies: March 23, 2023.

You can take the helmet off now. We’re back on planet Earth.

If you want to know about some other Starfield fan theories, the game’s opening, and trademark “step-out” moment have also, apparently, been deciphered.