Bethesda and Xbox have announced that Starfield , the hugely hyped open-world RPG from the team behind The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, is going to miss its much-publicized 11.11.22 release date. In fact, it’ll now release at some point during the first half of 2023. Having been hyping up this date since June 2021, this delay is more than a little bit surprising. And dare I say it, a legitimate reason for people to be annoyed.
It’s not that we haven’t become accustomed to seeing images posted on official publisher social media accounts detailing delays. When Covid hit and workforces sensibly moved to remote working, we saw tens of them – company logo, clear font, apology, the right thing to do, etc. Games getting delayed is nothing new, and I think people now expect things to move around the release schedule. The key point with Starfield is how far in advance of the planned release we were given the date. It’s been 11 months since 11.11.22 was given to us. It was so far off (another 6 months from today) that it felt locked in. Why date something that far off unless you’re absolutely sure, right?
Delays are clearly a good thing when it comes to the quality of the game in question. Nobody wants Starfield rushed out, resulting in months (perhaps years) of updates along the lines of the Cyberpunk 2077 saga. But I think it’s fair to ask why this release date was promised so far in advance. It set up expectations when none were needed. If the plan was always to aim for late 2022, wait until summer 22 and announce the date then. Give yourself some time to get it right. We were during the peak of a global pandemic in June 2021. No one would have minded if we hadn’t have been given a date.
Perhaps this is on me, and on others that felt the date wasn’t going to be missed. I’ve already said that delays are practically the norm these days, but (all caveats about doing what’s best for the team/game aside), Starfield has been handled poorly. I took the lack of real footage of the game as marketing. Keep it secret, build the interest, then unleash it six months from release to much applause from press and the gaming community. Now you’ll inevitably see stories about a troubled development, reworks, problems, etc – things that likely wouldn’t even have been dug out if the date hadn’t been missed. People will now understandably be expecting the worst.
Other games will be delayed this year. No doubt some big ones, too. Starfield isn’t just a “big” game, though. It’s THE game as far as Xbox owners were concerned. It’s the game they were told they were going to get in November, and have been told that again and again over multiple content drops. Off the back of absolutely nothing in the first half of the year, it was a beacon of light. Something to look forward to with justifiably high expectations.
Of course, Starfield is just a video game, and there are much bigger issues in the world right now, but even as someone who would likely only play five hours before getting lost and accidentally pushing an NPC off a cliff, I feel a bit duped. Sometimes promises can be broken, but this one stings.