Starfield - one of the most anticipated games of 2022 - has been delayed into next year, with its developers saying they need additional time to realise their "incredible" goals.
The delay will be seen as a blow for the Xbox platform - Starfield was to be the first major game from Bethesda after the studio was acquired by Microsoft in March 2021.
It was to be an exclusive game for Xbox, which has struggled in recent years to keep up with the quality of Sony and the first-party titles it creates for its PlayStation consoles.
It still will be of course, but the delay now means - at the time of writing at least - Xbox’s upcoming first-party slate for the remainder of 2022 looks rather barren.
Here is everything you need to know about it.
What is Starfield?
Starfield is a sci-fi action RPG described as a wholly new, next-generation experience set in an entirely new space-themed world.
It takes place within The Settled Systems, a region of the galaxy that stretches outward from our Solar System for around 50 light-years.
Around the year 2310, the game’s two most powerful factions, the United Colonies and the Freestar Collective, fought a deadly Colony War, and the game takes place 20 years after this event.
With the groups living under an uneasy truce, players take control of a customisable character who is a member of Constellation, a space exploration organisation.
Starfield will be the first new intellectual property in more than two decades for Bethesda, the creators of critically acclaimed RPG series like Fallout and Skyrim.
Bethesda has been delving into space-themed games since 1994, according to director Todd Howard.
But due to several cancelled projects, such a game never came to be, and the studio was waiting for a concept that would set it apart from other science fiction games already produced.
When can I play it?
During the summer of 2021, a teaser trailer for the game was released, confirming that Starfield would be released for PC and Xbox Series X/S on 11 November 2022.
However, Bethesda has now officially stated that the game’s release date has been pushed back to the first half of 2023.
Why has it been delayed?
Bethesda said in a statement that it needed more time to realise its "increible" goals.
“We can’t wait for you to play Starfield, but we need some more time,” it said. “We’re so thankful for all the support and encouragement and are excited to show you the game soon."
In another statement, Bethesda advised that "we want to ensure that you receive the best, most polished version" of the game, which will be getting a gameplay deep dive "soon."
It’s presumed that deep dive - and the first look at Starfield gameplay - will arrive as part of the Xbox Games Showcase livestream in June.
Following the revelation, Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox and Microsoft Gaming CEO, turned to Twitter to express his disappointment with the delays.
“These decisions are hard on teams making the games and our fans,” he said. “While I fully support giving teams time to release these great games when they are ready, we hear the feedback.”
According toone industry insider, developers working on Starfield were apparently concerned that the 2022 release date might result in a rocky launch, or perhaps the "next Cyberpunk," referring to the long-awaited 2020 sci-fi game that failed to live up to its own promises.
That’s not to say Bethesda’s game is looking as bleak at the time of writing; this discussion apparently took place a year ago, so is likely not indicative of where the game currently is in its development.
What is Redfall?
Alongside Starfield’s unfortunate delay, Bethesda confirmed that another of its 2022 projects has also been pushed back.
Redfall was perhaps slightly less publicised by the company, but still presented an interesting premise from French developers Arkane Studios, who have a good track record making first-person shooters under the Bethesda banner.
Redfall is a first-person shooter set within the titular island town of Redfall, Massachusetts.
A legion of vampires attacked and secluded the town from the outside world after a disastrous scientific experiment, and players must pick from four different survivors to defeat their adversaries, including vampires and humans.
The game features both single-player and cooperative multiplayer modes, with the studio behind it focusing on deep worldbuilding and inventive game mechanics.