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Topic: Starfield

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themightyant

I’ve been thinking about Starfield and SPECIFICALLY that they announced the precise release date of 11 Nov 2022 over 19 months in advance. That was super weird, I’ve never seen a specific release date well over a year in advance. However I have a theory on why this date.

Xbox Series consoles released on 10 Nov 2020 and Phil Spencer had said all games would be cross platform for the first 2 years.

Is Starfields release date, the first day after this a strong suggestion this will be next-gen ONLY and the first date they could release while still keeping Xbox true to their word?

Edited on by themightyant

themightyant

LtSarge

@themightyant I think the reasoning behind the release date is that it will come out on the same date that Skyrim came out on, which was 11th of November, 2011, i.e. 11-11-11 and on 11th of November 2022, it will have been 11 years on the dot since Skyrim came out. I think it's already been confirmed that Starfield is a next-gen only release.

LtSarge

themightyant

@LtSarge That was my initial impression too and what was publicised. This is just a hairbrained theory that makes logical sense. Doesn't make it true though, but doesn't make it false either

EDIT: Yes I believe it IS now expected to be next gen only. But I don't think that was known before this was announced. I just think it's a possibility that it added to the decision. Had they released 6 months earlier SOME people would have, perhaps rightly, said you promised everything in the first two years would be cross-gen. Rumour has it the game is playable and they are polishing and want the extra time to make it the most polished Bethesda title to try and repair their slightly battered reputation.

Edited on by themightyant

themightyant

themightyant

@LtSarge Yes that was the same trailer with the date. My point is was this part of their thought process. Not the single reason, but one of many.
From edit above (we posted at the same time)
Had they released 6 months earlier SOME people would have, perhaps rightly, said "you promised everything in the first two years would be cross-gen why not Starfield?" Rumour has it the game is playable and they are polishing, and want the extra time to make it the most polished Bethesda title to try and repair their slightly battered reputation.

Edited on by themightyant

themightyant

BAMozzy

@themightyant The quote was the next year or two from Phil and even Matt Booty said this...

"As our content comes out over the next year, two years, all of our games, sort of like PC, will play up and down that family of devices," Booty tells MCV. "We want to make sure that if someone invests in Xbox between now and [Series X] that they feel that they made a good investment and that we're committed to them with content."

Of course, there is the other side to this, the 'developer' side. As games take years to develop, they would of started out being developed for older gen hardware, built the 'traditional' way with that 'hardware' in mind. MS could 'artificially' lock that game off of Xbox One just to make the Series S/X have more 'exclusives', or they can scale it 'up/down' across the range. These games are not relying on Hardware Accelerated RT for example to properly light the scene, add shadows, ambient occlusion, SSR etc (like the Matrix Demo or Metro Exodus full RT edition), not relying on the 'engine' to scale High geometry Assets down (like Nanite, Mesh Shading etc) but had to make different LoD models for every asset, make textures to replace the look of actual Geometry etc.

To me, it made perfect Sense. What it means is that games like FH5 and Halo Infinite, the games they expected to release in the first year or two of the Series S/X would not be artificially kept from the XB1 just to force people to upgrade to play those games which in the Past, platform holders have done and no doubt will continue to do so. After a year or two, they expected that we should start seeing games built specifically for the next gen from their first party studio's so don't expect them to continue releasing games on that hardware.

Flight Sim isn't available on last gen - at least not as an official last gen release and released in the first year after Series Consoles. Streaming may well allow last gen Gamers to play 'next-gen' only games on that hardware so there is that option too. If you go back to most 'Console' releases, you will see a pattern of Platform holders basically stopping their First Party games releasing on older hardware yet 3rd Party releases continue to release cross-generational versions of their game because the Platform holder wants their older gen gamers to upgrade as soon as possible. What MS are saying is that if there games can be scaled down because of the way they are 'built', then they will release the game on Last gen too instead.

What we have seen so far with the vast majority of Games is that they are essentially 'last gen' games, built in a 'traditional' way and so using the 'extra' power in the Hardware to dial up the graphical settings and/or frame rates (or in the case of last gen, dialling back Graphical settings and/or frame rates. We are seeing 'some' next gen features (like Variable Rate Shading, some RT usage etc) but 'bolted' on to 'older' game engines. What we see is the RAW spec difference - 1.4TF vs 6TF vs 4TF vs 12.1TF and not the Difference between a Game built to use the Velocity Architecture and Mesh Shading and relying on Hardware Accelerated Global Illumination to light the scene accurately, create shadows, reflections etc instead of 'fake' lighting (Baked Shadows, Ambient Occlusion, Screen Space/Cube Map reflections, Shadow Maps, point lighting etc).

A building in a Traditional game may not even be 3D at a distance - just a 2D placard with a 'texture' fill to look like it windows, doors etc and as you get closer and closer, different LoD's will pop-in but with Mesh Shading, you only have the high quality 3D model where everything is 'geometry' and scales automatically with the Pixel count (or whatever parameter the Devs choose) so you don't get 'pop-in'.

That workflow doesn't allow for last gen 'ports'. Last gen hardware would need to have 'faked' lighting applied, and that would also mean redoing a LOT of the Assets, making textures (as last gen can't handle the Geometry and polygon count) and baking in shadows to make them 'look' 3D, make them look like its being Lit properly by a light source bouncing around the environment.

I don't know what Starfield may be doing, how its built, but if its relying on DX12 Ultimate features like Mesh Shading and DX Ray Tracing for GI example, then its obviously not coming to last gen hardware - at least not as an official platform release but maybe able to play via streaming.

Basically, that statement really just said that MS has games they were working on that can be scaled up/down across their current hardware. To far along to change the way they are made to take full advantage of next gen hardware features and not going to artificially block the game from last gen to force people to upgrade. However, they also have games being developed that were at a year or two away (probably still a while off after continued Covid impact) that can't be scaled. Its reassuring those people who can't upgrade for whatever reason, that Xbox will continue to support that platform whilst its still able to do so and not 'drop' it because they want you on Series S/X hardware as soon as possible. Delays and hardware Shortages seem to have changed the normal platform holders approach to First Party as Sony too will continue to release cross-gen games for at least a year or two too.

11.11 is an important date for Todd Howard and I think he would wait months to release his game on that date. He seemed very confident that the game would be finished quite some time before 11.11.22 and allow for months of polishing and bug fixing - which seems 'odd' based on the scale of the game, how little we have seen, the heavy use of concept art etc which makes it seem 'early' in development, not less than a year away...

Edited on by BAMozzy

A pessimist is just an optimist with experience!

Why can't life be like gaming? Why can't I restart from an earlier checkpoint??

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LtSarge

To add on top of @BAMozzy's post, Microsoft has kept their promise by also offering Xbox Cloud Gaming on Xbox One, letting us play Series X titles on the system. You can e.g. play The Medium and Serious Sam 4 right now on your Xbox One, and presumably all upcoming Series X games including Starfield.

Edited on by LtSarge

LtSarge

Balta666

themightyant wrote:

EDIT: Yes I believe it IS now expected to be next gen only. But I don't think that was known before this was announced. I just think it's a possibility that it added to the decision. Had they released 6 months earlier SOME people would have, perhaps rightly, said you promised everything in the first two years would be cross-gen. Rumour has it the game is playable and they are polishing and want the extra time to make it the most polished Bethesda title to try and repair their slightly battered reputation.

It does not really matter as Xbox One owners will still be able to play it though cloud anyways

Edit: did not realize @ltsarge already beat me to it

Edited on by Balta666

themightyant

@BAMozzy @LtSarge @Balta666 Interesting insights.

Was just a random thought that MAYBE if a first party dev wanted to have a next-gen only game they'd have to wait for this date and perhaps that factored into their decision making.

Regardless I think it was Jez Corden on his podcast saying it was in a playable state (not that that means too much) and they wanted it to be as polished as possible, as did MS, hence they were so confident on the release date so long in advance. Still was weird to give a precise date 19 months in advance. Don't remember ever seeing that before. Looking forward to it!!!

Edited on by themightyant

themightyant

BAMozzy

@themightyant Lets just say that if a Dev wanted to make a next gen only game built from the ground up to take full advantage of the next-gen hardware to the point that last gen hardware just couldn't run it, Taking full advantage of RT lighting and Mesh Shading, you are talking about a 'few years' of development at least so if they approached MS a year or so before the Series S/X released, its still going to be several years away so it would still fit in with MS's statement that for the first 'year or two' would still get games coming. Most games take several years to build and no doubt the first couple of years of their 'own' game releases were initially built with Current Gen as the 'lead' console, maybe at most switching to Series X as the 'lead' later in the development.

MS will have an idea of what games are in development, how far along, how they were being made and whether or not they 'could' be scaled up/down across both generations. They would also know when each game was 'expected' to complete and release, when 'new' Game Engines were expected etc so perhaps knew that those games being built specifically to take advantage of the next-Gen hardware - from a first party perspective - were still at least 1-2yrs off when they made that comment and instead of 'blocking' those to 'artificially' boost the number of console exclusives on 'next-gen' systems, they said they would continue to support the older gen hardware.

Obviously they are not 'forcing' devs into making games specifically to be 'cross-gen' as we have seen games like Flight Sim release within that first year - I think its more about if it can be scaled, and bearing in mind that most games started out as XB1 games using 'traditional' methods which are not necessary for next-gen, already baked in lighting, already made textures and different LoD models to pop-in at the right distance etc so with graphical tweaks, would scale and get released.

It's basically saying that they don't expect any of their 'first party' studio's to have any games specifically built for Series hardware to release in the first year or two which is 'understandable' because Games take 'years' to build. That was also said long before they announced that Streaming would come to last gen so even next-gen built games can be 'played' on last gen hardware.

That Matrix demo took over a year to make with a reasonably large team, albeit under difficult circumstances and of course on an Engine still under development. Therefore its understandable that even a year before the Series consoles launched, that any game being built to take advantage over next gen features to the point that they couldn't be scaled down would be at least 2-3yrs away (at least 1-2years after launch)...

A pessimist is just an optimist with experience!

Why can't life be like gaming? Why can't I restart from an earlier checkpoint??

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themightyant

@BAMozzy You make some good points. But I think you assume a lot of things. What if their only or main concern was not being on an 8 year old Jaguar CPU that was pretty behind the times when it launched in 2013. It doesn't have to be about newer GPU technologies like RT, mesh shading etc. just some extra CPU power.

Re: Matrix. I haven't read that it took a year or large team. Where did you read that? The Digital Foundry article said "At the core of The Matrix Awakens is a procedurally generated, then customised, open world capable of being delivered by a very small development team." EDIT: My understanding is a large part of the purpose of the demo was to show that devs can create almost photorealistic worlds like this quickly and efficiently.

Edited on by themightyant

themightyant

BAMozzy

@themightyant In the 50 minute video, they said about 70 (I thought) people involved. Maybe that included the people that helped with optimising and tweaking (like the Coalition),making the introduction, or the on rails section not just the 'team' that built the world that was all set in - the core of it all.

The whole experience took over a year according to the video but again, that maybe the entire experience inc the intro sequence about what's real/not and that 'on rails' section was probably built after the City portion was built too.

Point is, it can take a 'small team' of developers to build an entire highly detailed city 'months' to make and much quicker - especially as they don't have to make textures of geometry to fill low polygon models/billboards depending on distance, don't have spend time running RT simulations to try and work out where to bake shadows and then baking them, worry about where to put point lighting or where light is leaking all the other issues with trying to make a scene look properly lit, even populate it with traffic and NPC's...

However it takes a LOT more people time and work to build a 'game', a worthwhile reason for players to want to spend their time in that City, construct stories, missions etc and that's more than just a handful of people who spent months making a City which is absolutely incredible in itself and not discrediting the fact that a '70ish' (I forget what was said) which is reasonably large team, managed to put together the entire Matrix demo in a year. You'd expect a LARGE team spent years making that city in that much detail let alone the size of team that would have to build a game-play sequence (even if basic) within that and a CGI team months to create the intro....

CPU could be a crutch too but again, if they were going to build a game to utilise the multi-thread core of the CPU that can't be scaled down to just 8 cores, have some really insane physics and/or AI that just couldn't cope even if you scale back even further on other CPU intensive operations - culling more objects to reduce draw calls etc, then again you'd think that their first party developers wouldn't of approached MS to suggest making it until they knew that the Series consoles would have CPU's to cope. Even then, those games aren't going to be made in a few months,maybe 2-3yrs at best, which assuming gets OK'd to go on and develop a full game a 'year' before launch, its still not coming out until a year or two after launch...

Point is, all the developers had games in development and MS would know how far along every game is. They would know that for the first 1-2years, pretty much all those games releasing that have been 'years' in development are finally out to the public and those developers can 'start' on their next game with Series X as the lead. Since 2018, the list of Studio's has grown, but even those have yet to show a 'new' game that was developed specifically for MS as most were still finishing off projects they started years before. So any 'new' game started for Series S/X in particular from these would be 'years' off...

Unless you expected some small/short 'Standalone DLC/AA budget' game quickly thrown together in a year or so, specifically created around a specific feature (like fast loading or RT reflections) to showcase the new shiny graphics in a franchise you already had a LOT of high quality assets ready made to cut a LOT of the work down - especially if you can easily tweak them a bit to make them look different (change season for example), I really don't think you'll see a big AAA budget 'next gen' only game within the first year or two on either console and MS knew that when they said it...

Whether Starfield or not would of released on Last gen, whether it does play natively or only playable by streaming on last gen, whether it uses tech that would of prevented it from releasing on last gen, I don't think anyone really knows yet. Back when MS said that about the first 1-2yrs, Bethesda wasn't part of Microsoft and even if they were in talks, it would of been to early to have considered Starfield as part of their 'future first party' releases...

A pessimist is just an optimist with experience!

Why can't life be like gaming? Why can't I restart from an earlier checkpoint??

Feel free to add me but please send a message so I know where you know me from...

Xbox Gamertag: bamozzy

BAMozzy

Launch date : September 6th 2023

Starfield in-depth Showcase : June 11th 2023

Edited on by BAMozzy

A pessimist is just an optimist with experience!

Why can't life be like gaming? Why can't I restart from an earlier checkpoint??

Feel free to add me but please send a message so I know where you know me from...

Xbox Gamertag: bamozzy

Tharsman

Bit disappointing that it’s slipping that late into the year.

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PSN | XBL | Steam: Tharsman

themightyant

Thanks! Split between disappointment that it's later than was planned, but happy it's earlier than I feared! I had it pegged as 11/11/24 (one year later) but 6/09/23 it is, not June but September. lol

As with all these things, best they take the time they need.

Shame the showcase is so far away though, thought that would at least be well before E3!

UPDATE: Although looking at my diary I get back from holiday start of September and have HAD a big gap, which is now filled. How long do you schedule for Starfield? Months? Years?

Edited on by themightyant

themightyant

Balta666

@themightyant how many hours do you have in Skyrim? That should give you a ballpark for the time you should allow to .
For my part I am not big on replaying with different races and abilities but like to do all or close to all sidequests therefore something in between 100-200h of gameplay and a couple of months!

Edited on by Balta666

themightyant

@Balta666 At least 500+ but that's across X360, PC, Switch, XSX & now Steam Deck. (And I wants it on PSVR2. lol)

First main playthrough was similar to yours, around 150-200 hours I think, maybe over 2-3 months before I decided to go again with a few shorter more focused playthroughs with different build/playstyles.

That does actually make me wonder if there is going to be much build diversity in Starfield.

Edited on by themightyant

themightyant

NintendoByNature

6 months away, not too bad. I realize the waits been long, but we're almost there!

NintendoByNature

TheSilverFalcon

@Balta666 More than 2000 hours into Skyrim, and same as @themightyant , across 360, Xbox one, Xbox Series,PC, PS 4, PSVR, not on switch though.

Will wait patiently for Starfield, and waiting for the special collectors edition to be announced , i want the watch edition

TheSilverFalcon

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