When Bethesda revealed the first teaser trailer for Starfield back at its E3 2018 presentation, a decent portion of the internet cried foul. It was basically a one-minute-long collection of space-related images — a planet with the sun cresting beyond its horizon; a spaceship shaped like a pineapple, which suddenly either jumps to lightspeed or is eviscerated by a pulsating burst of gamma rays — followed by the title stinger. It’s like a restaurant menu written by a poet laureate that encapsulates the essence of the food conceptually, though without telling you if the cheese on that bean burger is pepper jack or Gruyère.

It was unapologetically a teaser, heavy on suggestion, letting viewers’ imaginations fill in the gaps without committing to any one feature or element. Bethesda even admitted as much, stating in no uncertain terms that they had nothing to show; they just wanted to assuage any fears and coddle those who were afraid the game would never see the light of day. This teaser was basically an attempt at saying, “Relax, this game is real,” rather than showing you what you might be doing and experiencing within that game.

In case you missed that teaser, here it is:

So now let’s jump forward to the Xbox and Bethesda joint presentation at E3 2021. There we saw the reveal of a brand-new teaser trailer for Starfield. Again, it is mostly just imagery with only suggestions of what to expect from moment-to-moment gameplay. There’s really nothing concrete or substantial here.

I’ll share that one too in case you haven’t seen it:

And I guess all of this is fine. Bethesda either doesn’t feel comfortable showing more, doesn’t think it’s the right move financially, or just doesn’t have anything worth showing yet. It could be a number of things, just one thing, or nothing at all.

And I’m not saying that this new Starfield teaser trailer isn’t gorgeous and well-crafted, because it is those things and then some. It’s incredibly polished and immaculate, and it does offer glimpses of small details that add depth and nuance to this this world. There are shots of items that are oozing with craftspersonship and intent. This is all great stuff. I like pretty videos, and this video is hella pretty.

It seems like everyone is losing their mind over this Starfield trailer. In and of itself, that’s fine; it’s good to be excited about things. The problem with all of this, though, is that we really don’t know anything more than we did after the 2018 reveal.

I mean, it’s nice to know that sandwich tech in video games has gotten stupid good, and it’s nice to get a general sense of space in Starfield. And, I mean, it’s good to know that the spacing bits seem to be spacey enough. But are those things really worth releasing a whole friggin’ trailer over?


I’m waiting to see actual gameplay before I get hyped for Starfield. Especially considering how far Bethesda has been straying from the more traditional role-playing elements of their games, taking a more action-orientated, base-building approach. I mean this specifically for Fallout 4, and to a greater extent (although not exactly one-for-one), Fallout 76. But it does seem to me that classic elements of the series — like using dialogue choices to actually shape your character’s journey — have been greatly downplayed since Fallout 3.

Even though it is nice to see a more fleshed-out trailer for Starfield, and it’s great to have an actual release date (November 11, 2022, pending any future delays), an in-engine teaser that is heavy on imagery but scant on details doesn’t give me much to work with here. This is just a pretty trailer; it’s not really indicative of anything until we know how Starfield will actually play. Aside from a recent quote that Starfield is Skyrim in space,” and a “Han Solo simulator,” whatever that means.

By all means, get hyped for Starfield. But I have to keep my own hype in check until we get more than just a polished CG short. At the end of the day, this teaser was merely a more elaborate placeholder for details which will come at a later date.

Bethesda is still promising the stars, but they have yet to even deliver the moon.

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