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Why Elden Ring may have been the reason for Starfield’s delay

Leaked posts and rumours says Starfield wont be released until it can compete with Elden Ring…. Read more about the Starfield delay.

By now we have all heard about Bethesda delaying Starfield (and Redfall) until early next year [*fingers crossed*]. However the decision behind the push back still remains a mystery. The official statement from Bethesda mentions the delay due to ensure they deliver “… the best, most polished version of [Starfield]”. However, was there actually a more prominent reason for delaying such a highly anticipated game, with an already fixed release date, that they don’t want to share?! Continue reading to hear our verdict.

As suggested in the now deleted reddit thread, Bethesda’s main reason for delaying Starfield may have been about at a less than satisfactory feeling concerning the level of completion the game was currently at. In particular, with the successful release of Elden Ring back in February of this year. Bethesda apparently feared competing with the game so closely by rolling out within the same year of release. In fact allegedly (according to the leaked post sourced by the Reddit thread), Todd Howard felt competing with Elden Ring might compromise the GOTY award for Starfield itself.

Bethesda has a pedigree of winning GOTY awards for its top releases. With The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim winning a number of them. Fallout 4 however, missed out on a number of award recognition compared to its predecessor Fallout 3. This was due to competing with The Witcher III: Wild Hunt back in 2015. It wouldn’t be unlikely for Todd Howard to attempt preventing history repeating itself with Elden Ring.

Elden Ring may be responsible for Starfield delay
Has Elden Ring proves too much of a competition for Bethesda?

What in Starfield still needs ‘polishing’?

Bethesda have openly admitted that the game needs more work to be ready. But what exactly about the game still needs perfecting to require the Starfield delay so suddenly? There are a number of alleged leaks around the cause of this also. The first, and most likely reason being the suggestion that not enough is ready for the original November 11th release date. For the game to meet its promised deadline, a lot of content would have to be cut initially from available play. For Bethesda (especially considering the competition between Elden Ring) this was not a plausible option.

The game lacks the desired feel and quality at present

Another allegation against Starfield’s current state is the lack of quality in areas of its gameplay. According to a former employee working on Starfield, a lot of the game was still in development, however a playable version was operational. The OP admitted ship flying was still left much to be desired (in their opinion). Significant elements of the game not being ‘up to scratch’, could have been the driving reason for the Starfield delay.

The mystery poster however did share some other interesting insights into the state of Starfield currently. Apart from his dislike of the flying dynamics, they admitted to the game look of good quality with constantly improving lighting and display. The game has as much ranged content as we thought; described as “an overabundance”. And they were also skeptical about meeting the promised release schedule. The verdict was overall positive of Starfield’s current state. You can read the quoted post for yourself below.

“… Starfield is looking good, weekly Thursday playtest since the beginning of the year, more and more stuff coming online. Shooting feels alright, flying is terrible atm imo just not fun for me. Lightning and stuff is looking better and better, tho it’s not at the level of HFW or anything like that but still a good looking game. In terms of if it will ship on time, well they will try that’s for sure, they’ll cut what they did to etc, they have an overabundance of content, probably too much, so that’s no the issue, finding the fun and of course bug fixing is the big thing. It’s a sexy date tho and you only get one of those, beta is this summer, that’s when the picture will become truly clear.”

Source: resetera.com

Creation Kit is currently not yet available

Another suggestion for the Starfield delay is its alleged non-existent Creation Kit which Bethesda were hoping to launch with. There have already been known discussions between Nexus Mods and Bethesda about providing Starfield’s mod directory and infrastructure. Modding with use of their Creation Kit software has been a distinctive element of Bethesda’s games since The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. And potentially part of the continuing success and playability of Skyrim; which has seen a significant interest from the modding community since its initial release. It may have been felt that delaying the availability of the Creation Kit for Starfield upon game launch, could hurt its reception among fans eager to enjoy additional modifications of the game. Delaying Starfield for a short period until such features are up and running could keep Starfield’s and Bethesda’s reputation intact.

Bethesda Construction Kit for Skrim Screen Grab
Skyrim’s Construction Kit
(Image Credit: BethesdaGameStudios YouTube)

Starfield’s performance on the Series S is currently inadequate

The last leaked reasoning behind Starfield’s delayed release, according to the withdrawn post, is its lacking performance on the Xbox Series S compared to the Series X. As of March 2022, the series X/S has sold collectively an estimated 16+ million units worldwide. Competing closely with the Playstation 5, games like Starfield are big hitters for securing this generation’s of Xbox’s future as a front runner in the ever continuing ‘console wars’. Microsoft’s costly acquisition of Bethesda is proof of that. However, the games performance across both of its consoles is essential.

Phil Spencer, the executive vice president of gaming and Microsoft has said himself about the S series eventual dominance over the X. The console gaming giant expects the sales performance of the S series will surpass its more powerful brother the X eventually. Microsoft therefore enforcing Starfield would be available and perform flawlessly on both consoles is a necessity. And as the new governors of Bethesda Studios, they would have had little choice but to delay until Starfield could meet Microsoft’s desired specifications.

How long will the Starfield delay release be for?

Bethesda have yet to specifically specify when the new release date for Starfield will be. Labelling the expected launch to now be first half of 2023, it could likely be before July next year. Although if the decision to have a staggered release between Starfield and Redfall is also an unknown. Which may push the delay back even further. What is for certain is Bethesda won’t be releasing Starfield until both the software game developer and Microsoft are happy it can compete against its rivals Elden Ring, and opposing console PS5.

As many have suggested, the Xbox/Bethesda Showcase happening June 12th, will likely be the next big reveal for Starfield and its gameplay. There we hope to see more of the working game in practice. And see just how far Starfield is into its development for ourselves. Maybe a new release date will be teased; and responses to some of our theories and questions, will finally be answered.

Written for www.starfieldguide.com. Starfield Guide is a fan run unofficial guide site about Bethesda’s game Starfield. You can tweet us @GuideStarfield, or you can follow our official Facebook, Instagram and YouTube Channel.

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Images: Elden Ring gameplay by Bandai Namco from YouTube

Want to read more about Starfield News and impressions of the game so far? Check out all of our articles.

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