As the Starfield release date draws ever closer, I’ve been thinking about how Bethesda announces its new RPG games. There has been a slow stream of information since the Starfield E3 2018 announcement, and Bethesda has understandably been playing its cards closer to its chest with reveals and new information, waiting to show us what it can when it’s ready. The thing is, there’s actually a way for the upcoming Starfield showcase to shine, and Bethesda already showed it to us with Fallout 4 at E3 2015.
When it was released, Fallout 4 did have the benefit over Starfield of being a pre-existing IP that had already seen two Bethesda-published games, Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas, but there’s a lot that this Starfield showcase could emulate from that Fallout 4 reveal for a stellar showing.
Bethesda undoubtedly wanted to drum up some early hype for its new space game and show the industry what it’s cooking to help with recruitment when it was first revealed, as the Starfield team is apparently now 500 or so people strong, but it doesn’t change the fact that we’ve been waiting for so long.
We’ve been drip-fed news with the occasional blowout over the course of five years and, while this new Starfield showcase is on the way, Bethesda needs to go for the jugular with this – what will likely be final – Starfield showcase, and Fallout 4 provides the perfect template.
Fallout 4 was revealed at E3 2015, and came out in November of that same year, just four months later. Starfield, as a new IP, definitely needed longer to be marketed properly, but Bethesda may have benefitted from a much shorter time between the reveal and release. It’s still going to do gangbusters, mind you, but this will likely be the last major reveal before the Starfield Game Pass release, so it needs to be special.
Bethesda has had the power and industry reach for years to do bombshell reveals and shorter times between them and release. Fallout 4 had a jam-packed 30-minute reveal, and if Starfield can get anywhere near that with even more raw gameplay, accompanied by the dulcet tones of Todd Howard, it might just work.
I’ve gone back and watched the Fallout 4 presentation, and it’s definitely up there as one of the all-time great reveals. Howard comes out and starts us off with some concept art, before just diving into exactly how Fallout 4 opens. There’s almost no fluff, and Bethesda is so close to release that they can show us exactly what to expect later that same year. If Starfield’s presentation starts with a taste of how the RPG will open and a deeper look at its character creation tools, I’d get goosebumps.
There was so much raw gameplay in the Fallout 4 reveal too, all punctuated by the occasional interjection from Howard. Some of what he said did just sound like videogame buzzwords, sure (‘volumetric lighting’ anyone?), but Bethesda let the unedited gameplay do most of the talking because they were clearly so confident in it. I can see them doing the same with Starfield, hopefully, and jamming lots of new details into this showcase.
Right at the end of the Fallout 4 reveal, the same-year release date gets cheers that could rival the return of a fan-favourite wrestler, and this is the moment that ties the whole showcase together. Starfield could absolutely achieve this too, and I think if we don’t get the Starfield release date at the end of this showcase it’ll sour the entire presentation.
None of this will negatively impact the experience of actually playing Starfield, to be clear, and I applaud Bethesda for delaying the game from November last year to make sure it’s as good as it can be at launch. That said, I’m confident that Starfield would have benefitted from less time between the reveal and release… it’s been a long five years.
While we still have to wait on the Elder Scrolls 6 release date, a blowout Starfield showcase that ends with a spectacular release date reveal is exactly what Bethesda needs right now. They proved they can do it with Fallout 4, so hopefully they can tap into this again for Starfield.
If you want to learn more about Starfield in the meantime, we’ve put together some handy guides breaking down everything we know about the game so far, like how Starfield ship builds will work, the purpose of Starfield skills, and exactly how the Starfield persuasion system works as well.