Starfield director feeling ‘a lot of pressure’

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Starfield director Todd Howard has revealed that he’s feeling a lot of pressure to make the game the best it could possibly be, ever since his development studio, Bethesda, was acquired by Microsoft.

In an interview with the Lex Fridman podcast (via VGC, thanks!) Howard said that due to the acquisition by Microsoft, and the game becoming an Xbox exclusive, he and the development team have been feeling a lot of pressure and a lot of responsibility to make the game a system seller for Xbox.

“We’ve had a lot of success with the games that you talked about but we’ve never been kind of the platform seller,” Howard said, “So there is a lot of pressure, there’s a lot of responsibility there to make sure we deliver for everybody.”

Starfield has been described by some as “Skyrim in space”, owing to the fact that it’s being made by the same core development team as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and its scope is just as big, if not bigger. It was, at one stage, presumed to be in development for both the Xbox Series and the PS5, but since the acquisition of Bethesda by Microsoft has been confirmed to be an Xbox platform exclusive.

It’s not the first time that a Bethesda game has been exclusive to an Xbox platform, however. As Howard mentions in the interview, the last three Elder Scrolls games have all had some sort of exclusivity on Xbox.

“We were traditionally a PC developer in the beginning. We transitioned to Xbox [and it] became our lead platform,” Howard said, “Like, Morrowind’s basically exclusive to Xbox, Oblivion was exclusive to Xbox for a long period of time, Skyrim DLC was exclusive.”

Howard says that, at this point, developing for the Xbox is “kind of the norm”, but that he’s been enjoying being able to focus on just one machine. He says that the team is working closely with top engineers at Xbox, and intends to make the game look “incredible” on the Series S and X.

As incredible as it might be on the Series S and X, it could look even better on the next Xbox. Unfortunately, that’s not going to be for quite some time, as both Microsoft and Sony confirmed in recent filings to the UK’s competition regulator that there won’t be any new Xbox or PlayStation consoles before 2028.

That might not be an issue though, as the head of another Xbox game, Flight Simulator, wants new content coming until 2032. Flight Sim head Jorg Neumann said that he wants content coming for the next decade at least, but fitting it on a console as-is might be a bit difficult, as it’s already pushing 300GB in file size.

Written by Oliver Brandt on behalf of GLHF.

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