Starfield Release Date, Requirements, And Everything We Know About Bethesda's New RPG (2024)

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Starfield is Bethesda's first new intellectual property in 25 years, and as such, there is a lot of hype surrounding the upcoming project. Here's everything we know about it so far.

By Eddie Makuch , Phil Hornshaw , Darryn Bonthuys , and Jessica Cogswell on

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Starfield releases very shortly, and as we get very close to liftoff, both Microsoft and Bethesda have been sharing details about what to expect in the RPG's vast cosmos. Deep-dive videos have shown off the game's combat, the playable planets, spaceships, in-game factions, and more--it's enough for anyone to get excited, and it looks to be Bethesda's most ambitious game to date. You can also check out our Starfield review now for our thoughts.

Many details were revealed during June's Starfield Direct showcase, covering everything from the highly flexible ship customization system to the most-detailed character creator to ever appear in a Bethesda game, all of which is being used to give players more agency in their adventure. Bethesda's first new intellectual property in 25 years, there's a lot of expectation for Starfield to be one of the highlights of 2023, no small feat given just how impressive this year has been in terms of high-quality releases. With all of the information gathered up from recent interviews, trailers, and gameplay teasers, we're taking a look at everything that we know about the game so far.

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Now Playing: Starfield Trailer Breakdown

Table of Contents [hide]

  • Platforms
  • Starfield will be on Xbox Game Pass
  • Preorder
  • Release date
    • Starfield Global Launch Unlock Times
    • Starfield Early Access Launch Unlock Times
  • When will Starfield be available to preload?
  • Starfield PC requirements
    • Minimum specs
    • Recommended specs
  • What frame rate does Starfield run at on Xbox Series X|S?
  • Starfield file size
  • Yes, Starfield will be available on disc for Xbox Series X|S
  • Will Starfield be on Xbox One?
  • Starfield reviews
  • Will there be a Starfield beta?
  • What can the age ratings tell us about Starfield?
  • Trailers
  • Into the Starfield
  • It's an open-world, "more hardcore" RPG
  • The story so far
  • Bethesda's engine got an overhaul for Starfield

Platforms

Starfield is coming to Xbox Series X|S and PC. Game director Todd Howard said being able to focus exclusively on Xbox and PC is in the best interests of Starfield.

Starfield won't be available on PS5 or PS4, and there's no indication that it will arrive on the Sony platforms in the future.

More recently, Howard talked about how he is feeling a new kind of pressure to deliver with Starfield because it’s a first-party game meant to help sell consoles and drive adoption to Xbox Game Pass. “We've never been kind of the platform seller, you know 'the game' for a platform for a period of time," Howard said. "And so, there is a lot of pressure, there's a lot of responsibility there to make sure we deliver for everybody."

Starfield will be on Xbox Game Pass

This is a bit of an obvious one, but it bears repeating. With Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda, the publisher announced that new Bethesda games would appear on Xbox Game Pass at release--and that includes Starfield. So you'll have instant access to it on PC and Xbox Series X|S.

It's also been confirmed that Starfield--and all of Microsoft's AAA first-party games--now cost $70 beginning in 2023. Xbox’s Phil Spencer said Microsoft tried for as long as it could to hold off on raising prices and following in other companies' footsteps, but something eventually had to give. The price hike to $70 is yet another compelling reason to sign up for Game Pass.

Preorder

Starfield will launch in several different editions, and preorders are now available for the game's premium Constellation Edition and a cool upgrade kit that adds a steelbook case to your purchase. Regardless of which edition you preorder, there will be bonuses available, and for the added touch, you can even play the game with a special-edition Starfield Xbox controller and headset right. PC players who want to play via Steam can save big on their preorder. For more details, you can check out our Starfield preorder guide.

Release date

While Starfield was originally scheduled to release on November 11, 2022--the same day The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim did back in 2011--the game was then delayed several more times. It was scheduled to come out sometime during the first half of 2023, but Starfield's current release date is now set for September 6, 2023.

Microsoft is also offering a $35 Premium Edition upgrade that includes the early access perk, which unlocks the game on September 1. This edition also includes the Shattered Space story expansion (when it releases) and in-game items like the Equinox Laser Rifle and more. Players also get the Starfield digital art book and soundtrack.

Starfield Global Launch Unlock Times

  • 5 PM PT / 8 PM ET on September 5 - US
  • 9 AM JST on September 6 - Australia, New Zealand, and Asia
  • 1 AM BST on September 6 - Europe

Starfield Early Access Launch Unlock Times

  • 5 PM PT / 8 PM ET on August 31 - US
  • 9 AM JST on September 1 - Australia, New Zealand, and Asia
  • 1 AM BST on September 1 - Europe

When will Starfield be available to preload?

Starfield preloading is already available for Xbox Series X|S and for Windows PC (through the Xbox Store), and for Steam users.

Starfield PC requirements

You'll need an SSD in your PC to play Starfield, one that has a significant amount of storage capacity as the game requires 140GB of space. For the specs, the game isn't too demanding on the minimum requirements, as you can play Starfield with an AMD Radeon RX 5700 or NVIDIA GeForce 1070 Ti graphics card. The recommended specs up the ante here, and on PC, it looks like owners of AMD graphics card will be catered to, which unfortunately means we may not see Nvidia-only features like DLSS supported.

AMD and Bethesda announced an exclusive partnership for Starfield on PC back in June, which will see the game optimized for Ryzen 7000 Series processors and Radeon 7000 Series graphics. "These optimizations will both accelerate performance and enhance the quality of your gameplay using highly multithreaded code, that both Xbox and PC players will get to take advantage of," explained AMD SVP Jack Huynh in a video announcement.

Minimum specs

  • OS: Windows 10 version 22H2 (10.0.19045)
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 2600X, Intel Core i7-6800K
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 5700, NVIDIA GeForce 1070 Ti
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 125 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: SSD Required

Recommended specs

  • OS: Windows 10/11 with updates
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X, Intel i5-10600K
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 125 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: SSD Required

What frame rate does Starfield run at on Xbox Series X|S?

Microsoft has confirmed that Starfield will be locked at 30fps on Xbox Series X|S, primarily due to an artistic decision by Bethesda to create a more cinematic experience. "At some point, not to get all geeky about it, there's render time per frame, and teams can either way to go horizontal or deep on a frame. It's a creative choice," Xbox boss Phil Spencer said in an interview following the June Xbox Games Showcase. "We obviously have games that are running 4k/60[fps] on the platform; it's not a platform issue. ... I trust what [Bethesda's] decisions they make and I trust what I'm playing."

Starfield file size

The universe is a big place, and accordingly, so is Starfield. On Xbox Series X|S, the game is about 126GB, and on PC, you'll need to reserve 140GB of space. According to lead landscape artist Matt Carofano, the reason why Starfield is so damn big is because of Bethesda's goal to deliver freedom on a galactic scale.

"In every one of our games, we always put so much care into all those little details that breathe life into our worlds. But Starfield isn't just a Bethesda Game Studios world. It's a Bethesda Game Studios galaxy. So why go this big with Starfield? Because we want to give you freedom on a galactic level," Carofano said. "A freedom to experience both the exciting planets and the quiet ones."

Yes, Starfield will be available on disc for Xbox Series X|S

Contrary to reports and a now-deleted tweet claiming that Starfield will be a digital-only game for Xbox Series X|S, physical disc versions of the sci-fi adventure will be available. According to a Starfield blog post posted on June 11, a game disc will be included with the purchase of the Xbox standard edition. The post reads, "Starfield Standard Edition is included with Xbox Game Pass. Game disc included with physical purchases of Xbox Standard Edition."

Will Starfield be on Xbox One?

Technically, yes! Starfield will be playable on Xbox One by way of streaming when it releases in September, but the quality of the experience will be dependent upon the strength and consistency of your internet connection. Otherwise, Starfield won't be coming to Xbox One via more traditional physical and digital methods.

Starfield reviews

If you're looking to get a general idea of how the game handles, then you can read a Starfield review from multiple outlets starting on Thursday, August 31 at 9 AM PT / 12 PM ET. Review codes have gone out, and the soonest that these features will be allowed to go live will be a day day before Starfield's early access period begins on September 1 for people who buy the Constellation Edition or who purchase an upgrade.

Will there be a Starfield beta?

Despite what a Google sponsored link might have suggested, no, Starfield will not have a beta before launch. The ad for the alleged Starfield beta claimed that people could "join the adventure" to play the open-world game with friends, but this is a paid-for and sponsored result that's meant to dupe fans into opening a website that supposedly contains an executable file. And who knows what could be in that file? Probably not Starfield, that's what.

What can the age ratings tell us about Starfield?

The Australian Classification Board has gave Starfield a rating of R18+ in March, which means the game contains content that is "considered high in impact" for players. The R18+ rating mainly stems from Starfield's depiction of unspecified "drug use" and is notably higher than the ratings given to Skyrim and Fallout 76, which are MA15+ in that region. Starfield received a "very mild impact" rating, and a "none" for sex, although the rating description didn't provide any specifics regarding these content sections.

While you probably won't see any overt sexual content in the game, The Entertainment Software Rating Board has given the game an M rating related to "some suggestive material" for players "after sharing a bed with characters. One specific example is: "Life is a sexually transmitted disease that's a hundred percent fatal," and there's also a goofy line like this: "I'm all for getting a little wild, but next time let's try it without the jetpacks."

Trailers

Back at E3 2018, Bethesda teased Starfield for the first time with a very brief trailer that revealed only the barest sense of what it might be like.

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Starfield - Official Announcement Trailer | E3 2018

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The trailer showed the sun flaring over a planet before also revealing a space station with a very current-technology look. A second later, a rip in space appears that seems to suck everything in. It has the look of a bright Star Trek-like warp field, but it could have been anything--a singularity, a wormhole, a space anomaly, or a cool special effect to end your trailer on.

After a long wait, Bethesda finally unveiled a new trailer for Starfield at E3 2021. It was yet another short glimpse, but it further nailed down the look and feel that the game has, which Bethesda describes as NASA-punk. The trailer followed an astronaut preparing to lift off from an alien planet. All the while, a monologue playeds, discussing the endless frontier of space. Some fans believe that the trailer has an Elder Scrolls clue hidden in it.

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Starfield Gameplay Reveal | Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 2022

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During June 2022's Starfield Direct, Bethesda gave fans a closer look at Starfield they had been waiting for with a significant chunk of gameplay and more details regarding the game's size, skill tree, and space exploration.

Since then, Microsoft and Bethesda have begun regularly revealing more about the game, and in June, even held a Starfield Direct presentation after the Xbox Games Showcase. More content has been rolling out since then, as the game creeps closer to its release date.

Into the Starfield

In November 2021, Bethesda kicked off a new video series for Starfield called Into the Starfield. In this series, the game's developers, including Howard, discuss the ambitious RPG and reveal new details about what fans can expect. In the debut episode, The Endless Pursuit, Howard, art director Matt Carofano, and studio director Angela Browder talked about how Bethesda's ambition and passion have shaped the team and what they are hoping to achieve with Starfield.

Carofano said Starfield is more grounded and realistic than Skyrim, though at its heart the two projects share an ambition to give players the freedom to explore.

"It's got a more realistic, science-based backing to it. Whereas Skyrim is sort of an epic fantasy, this is a more grounded game, and a grounded setting about exploration. So I think that gives us a different take on how we make everything," Carofano said.

Howard said the mechanics of Starfield, compared to Skyrim, are "entirely different," though there are some similarities. One of those is how Starfield is presented with a first-person camera (with a third-person option), and this helps make things seem more believable, he said.

"Being able to watch the sunset and nighttime come, and just sit there and watch the world go by, seems like it's not gameplay. But it is vital to how you feel through the rest of it," Howard said.

"There has to be an emotional trigger that occurs," Browder added. "As time has gone on, I think we're able to paint an even better picture that triggers that emotional thing."

Also in the video, Howard teased that Starfield has two "step-out" moments, referencing the points in past Bethesda games where you leave the starter area and step out into the open world.

"Technology's changed, we've all changed, so our expectations when loading up a game--like, 'OK, I'm going to step out and there is going to be this moment'... Us being able to do that and have it feel new every generation, every game, is something that is really special about what we do," he said. "I like to say that Starfield is two step-out moments--that's cryptic."

More recently, Bethesda launched a new video series called “Constellation Questions” featuring Todd Howard answering fans’ burning questions about Starfield. The video is a treat, as Howard digs deep into a number of fascinating elements of Starfield. Take a look:

It's an open-world, "more hardcore" RPG

Bethesda is known for its expansive open-world RPGs, like The Elder Scrolls series and the Fallout series. However, both series' massive worlds pale in comparison to the universe we'll be exploring in Starfield.

During June 2022's Xbox-Bethesda Games Showcase, Howard confirmed players will be able to visit "over 1,000 planets" throughout the game. While a handful of these locations are full-fledged cities, like the hub city of New Atlantis, many will be procedurally generated and ripe for exploration. Others, such as the desert moon of Kreet, lie somewhere in the middle, with outposts occupied by treacherous space bandits.

According to Howard, Starfield is also more of a "hardcore RPG" than Bethesda's previous work, something made very clear in our first look at Starfield's character creator. While the physical aspect of the game's character creation is pretty par for the course (though Todd Howard confirmed during a Reddit AMA that players will be able to select their own pronouns), the wide variety of backgrounds and traits players are able to choose from is impressive. Based on your choices, your character will have their own unique set of talents and flaws that can make your intergalactic adventure truly your own.

However, this is not where Starfield's emphasis on customization ends. The game will also allow players to customize the look and performance of their guns and spacecrafts, as well as construct their own outposts. The mechanics for building these outposts seem significantly more complex than those in Fallout 4, allowing for even more personalization and creativity in designing your base.

Base-building isn't the only fun mechanic in Starfield. On top of the usual exploration and combat we've come to expect from Bethesda games, players will also be able to freely fly their own spacecraft and engage in galactic dog fights. Recent gameplay also showed off a lockpicking mechanic and a persuasion mechanic inspired by Oblivion.

In a trio of animated trailers Bethesda showed off some of the worlds in The Settled Systems that you'll explore. Supra Et Ultra tells the tale of space courier Kent and his visit to New Atlantis in the United Colonies, The Hand That Feeds shows off the pleasure city Neon on Volii Alpha, and Where Hope Is Built is set in Akila City on the planet of Akila, the capital of the Freestar Collective.

Just don't expect to be exploring planets from behind the wheel of a rover-esque vehicle, as game director Todd Howard confirmed that no such vehicle will be available to players. But while you won't have wheels, you will have a jetpack, and that's an arguably better mode of transportation. "There is not [any vehicle or wild mount]," Howard said in an interview with Kinda Funny Games. "But we do have the Boost Pack. You saw some of that in the [Starfield Direct] video, and you have the skills for [upgrading] the Boost Pack. So the Boost Pack almost acts like this vehicle."

"[The Boost Pack is] super fun," Howard continued. "You can fly through [the environment], and then the low-gravity planets are just something really, really special in the game."

The story so far

While we might not know just what Starfield's main campaign entails, thanks to the recent Xbox-Bethesda Games Showcase, we have much more information regarding its setting. Based on Starfield's first gameplay trailer, the game will be set in the year 2330, long after man conquered the stars. In fact, humans are so well-adapted to space travel, they've managed to settle a whopping 50-light year radius around their own solar system. This area is referred to as the "settled systems."

While you'll be able to explore seemingly every nook and cranny of these systems, the main hub of Starfield is New Atlantis, capital city of the United Colonies and home to Constellation, "the last group of space explorers." Starfield begins with your character, the Spacefarer, receiving an invitation to join this organization.

However, the United Colonies aren't the only space-faring society. There is also the Freestar Collective, who call Akila City their home. While these two factions are no longer at war with one another, the end of their conflict is still fresh, and their peace, an uneasy one.

In addition to the United Colonies and Freestar Collective, there are also a few other notable groups Bethesda has mentioned: Ryujin Industries, the Crimson Fleet, and House Va'Ruun. As you might be able to infer based on their names, Ryujin Industries is a mega corporation, the Crimson Fleet is a band of space pirates, and House Va'Ruun is, well, a religious cult, to put it bluntly. Based on the game's intense focus on role-playing, it seems safe to say you'll be able to join up and/or get in all sorts of trouble with these folks.

During 2021's Tokyo Game Show, Howard revealed that Starfield has more than 150,000 lines of dialogue--which is more than any Bethesda game before it. While your character is not voiced, it seems like just about everyone else is, making for a very immersive experience. We should also mention that companion characters make a return in Starfield, with VASCO the utility robot confirmed as one of them. Last but not certainly least, Howard also announced the main campaign should take around 30-40 hours to complete. To put that into perspective, Fallout 4's main campaign takes around 30 to beat, while Skyrim takes about 25.

Bethesda's engine got an overhaul for Starfield

In September 2020, Bethesda released a statement about how much the acquisition by Microsoft and the release of its new Xbox Series X and S were impacting the work the studio was doing on its games. In that statement, Howard said the new technology had led to "our largest engine overhaul since Oblivion."

"With each new console cycle, we evolved together. From bringing mods to consoles with Fallout 4, now over a billion downloads, to the latest technologies fueling Xbox Series X/S," Howard said. "These new systems are optimized for the vast worlds we love to create, with generational leaps not just in graphics, but CPU and data streaming as well. It's led to our largest engine overhaul since Oblivion, with all new technologies powering our first new IP in 25 years, Starfield, as well as The Elder Scrolls VI."

For years now, Bethesda has powered its games with its Creation engine, which is the technology behind The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, as mentioned, as well as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout 4, and Fallout 76. So this makes it pretty clear that Starfield also uses the Creation engine--albeit an overhauled version that takes into account a whole lot of new technology and hardware capabilities.

Microsoft is also talking a big game for the state of Starfield when it launches, as compared to some of its infamously buggy game launches, Starfield will have the "fewest bugs" of any Bethesda game ever shipped according to Xbox Games Studios boss Matt Booty. "I see bug counts and just by the numbers if it shipped today, Starfield would already have the fewest bugs of any Bethesda game ever shipped," Booty said to GameSpot sister site Giant Bomb.

Doom Eternal developer Id Software also helped Bethesda out during development, but surprisingly, it wasn't for combat in Starfield! The studio assisted Bethesda on the "graphics side" of Starfield as some Id Tech elements were used in the game's Creation Engine.

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