I’M not going to be bother doing a big recap of all the major announcements from the Bethesda/Xbox Showcase this year for the simple reason that we’re all on the same internet so if you’re reading this you already know what was in the showcase and doubtless have some thoughts of your own.
I am, however, going to talk about Bethesda’s upcoming sci-fi RPG Starfield, because we finally got a decent look at some gameplay from it and this pleased me.
I’ve been looking forward to Starfield since it was first announced and I really enjoyed the footage in the showcase – it looked to me like the game is blending elements of Bethesda’s RPGs (Skyrim and Fallout), Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky, Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds and BioWare’s Mass Effect games.
I woke up to a social media feed full of people making “No Man’s Skyrim” jokes and memes, which is to be expected (it is the internet, after all) – but you know what?
Even if the game ultimately turns out to be a cross between No Man’s Sky and Skyrim, that still sounds awesome and something I want to play and explore anyway.
Many years ago (back in 2007) Bethesda acquired the rights to the Fallout games and announced they were making a 3D version. This was a marked change from the isometric viewpoint of the first two Fallout games (which were, and are, among the epitome of old-school RPGs) and a lot of fans were not enthused by this turn of events.
“You can’t make Fallout into a 3D RPG!” they said. “That’s not Fallout! It’ll just be Oblivion with guns!”
Yet Bethesda did indeed make Fallout into a 3D RPG (the proverbial “Oblivion with guns”) and I thought it was amazing – one of the best games I’d ever played, a title it held until being buried under the sheer brilliance that was Fallout: New Vegas a couple of years later.
In fact, the “Oblivion with guns” thing actually made me more interested in the new game – I loved Oblivion, I love Fallout, I like games with guns in them. Combining them all sounded like an entire KFC full of chicken dinners to me. While Fallout 3 hasn’t held up as well as its successors today, at the time it was still a watershed moment in gaming for me and its legacy continues to live on
While the Bethesda/Xbox showcase video for Starfield certainly does make the game seem like a cross between No Man’s Sky – which, let the record show, I really enjoyed at launch – and Skyrim (which I also liked, but not as much as I likethe Bethesda Fallout games), I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
I like those games. I like science fiction, I like RPGs, and I don’t expect every AAA game out there to reinvent the wheel. There’s nothing wrong, broadly speaking, with taking bits and pieces from other games that worked and combining them into a different game to create a distilled gaming experience.
The game isn’t out until next year and since the Cyberpunk: 2077 preview at E3 2019 I’ve learned to be wary about getting too excited for unreleased games based on vertical slices (don’t get me wrong, I loved Cyberpunk: 2077 but it wasn’t the same game the I thought the devs were making it out to be in the preview), but based on what I’ve seen of Starfield so far, I am cautiously optimistic.
I like the setting, I like the idea of literally building my own spaceship and selecting my own crew, I like the idea of having entire solar systems of planets to explore, and given how much I’ve enjoyed Bethesda’s previous RPGs and my fondness for science fiction generally, Starfield is still very much on my wish-list.
After all, if nothing else, Starfield still represents another sci-fi RPG and I’m always down for those.
While I’d like to see more of the game (and ideally get some hands-on time, or even better, chat to the developers), there’s plenty of time before launch for that – and I’m looking forward to finding out more about the game as its development progresses.