The Biggest Games of 2023 – Starfield
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Release Date: 09.06.2023
Platforms: Xbox Series X/S, PC
A new Bethesda Game Studios RPG is a big deal. But a new Bethesda Game Studios RPG in a wholly original setting? Well, that’s almost as rare as seeing Halley’s Comet.
Strictly speaking, Starfield is the first original role-playing universe Bethesda has made in nearly 30 years, after the fantasy world of The Elder Scrolls. (Keep in mind it bought the rights to Fallout, its other big property, from original creator Interplay.) To say expectations are sky-high would be an understatement. Expectations, fittingly enough, have breached the stratosphere and headed into deep space.
Set more than 300 years in the future, Starfield casts players as a member of the space exploration organization Constellation (say that 10 times fast) in a universe where humanity has settled a swath of space extending 50 lightyears from our own solar system. The universe exists in an uneasy peace following a war between the United Colonies and the Freestar Collective, with other factions, like megacorporations and space pirates, populating the various worlds.
While you can expect plenty of space combat and gunfights against both hostile humans and extraterrestrial wildlife, your ultimate objective, as you chart your course through missions and align yourself with different groups, is much loftier than simply defeating an enemy. What you’re searching for, in essence, is an answer to the deepest question held by humans since they’ve looked up at the night sky: Where did all this come from? Are we alone in the universe? Though there will be plenty of Han Solo–style swashbuckling, it’s clear that Starfield’s approach to science fiction will be underpinned by a different perspective than the space opera of Mass Effect or Star Wars, with a philosophical bent more akin to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Ambitious? Sure. But after delivering some of the most memorable RPGs ever, Bethesda has certainly earned a chance to shoot for the stars.