clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Is Starfield delayed or not?

The biggest elephant in Xbox’s room didn’t get any mention on Wednesday

An astronaut in the cockpit of a spacecraft sitting on a planet in Starfield. Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Let’s just cut to the chase. Is Starfield delayed?

Officially, no. And to be fair to Microsoft and Bethesda Game Studios, they already told us we wouldn’t be hearing anything out of Todd Howard’s next epic role-playing game during Wednesday’s Developer Direct showcase. There’s going to be a stand-alone showcase for Starfield at some point. It’s still one hell of an elephant not in the room, especially if two of the four games shown — Redfall and The Elder Scrolls Online’s Necrom expansion — are big Bethesda projects launching in May and June, respectively. It doesn’t seem likely that Bethesda would want to cannibalize interest in those projects (or Starfield) by packing that game into a May or June release window.

Remember that, during the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase last June, Microsoft more or less wrote an IOU to fans, promising that Starfield would be among a large catalog of highly anticipated games launching in the first half of 2023 (and, as first-party games, available the same day to Xbox Game Pass subscribers).

The updates we got Wednesday from Xbox and Bethesda on Wednesday show that the first half of Microsoft’s 2023 game calendar now looks like this:

  • April 18 — Minecraft Legends
  • May 2 — Redfall
  • June 20 — The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom
  • TBA 2023 — Forza Motorsport

Unless the Xbox folks have a surprise shadow drop, à la Tango Gameworks’ Hi-Fi Rush, planned for Starfield — which would seem ill-advised — the sci-fi RPG’s release is starting to feel slippery. (As is Forza’s; Microsoft and Turn 10 seem unwilling to recommit to a first-half-of-2023 window for their racing game.)

The most recent information about Starfield’s launch came last May, in which Bethesda told fans that it had been pushed to a first-half of 2023 launch window (along with Redfall.) Microsoft, during last year’s E3-adjacent summer showcase, made a big deal out of telling fans all the things they wanted to play would arrive by the first half of 2023. Starfield was implied to be one of those things.

In November, Howard, Bethesda Game Studios’ creative director, spoke with podcaster Lex Fridman about Starfield and the difficult decision to delay the game the first time, from a November 2022 launch to the somewhat softer, less definite window it now has.

“I wish it was soon,” Howard said. “We want it out, too. And I wish they didn’t take as long as they did. But, they do.”

We’ve asked Xbox and Bethesda representatives if Starfield should be considered delayed. It’s doubtful they’ll want to comment on that, but if they do, we’ll be sure to update it here.

Update (March 8): Starfield is indeed delayed. Bethesda Softworks on Wednesday announced a Sept. 6 launch for the RPG, which obviously is outside the first half of 2023.

“We know you’ve waited a long time to play something new from us,” Bethesda Game Studios creative director Todd Howard said in an announcement. “Believe it or not, we’re kind of the same. We miss it. We can’t wait for you all to play it.”

Starfield will be the subject of a Xbox Developer Direct showcase on June 11.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon