Starfield, Bethesda’s newest and biggest open-world RPG, is out now for everyone. Well, at least for everyone who owns an Xbox or a gaming PC. And according to Starfield director Todd Howard, the game’s no-show status on PlayStation is actually a good thing, as it made Starfield “a better product.”
After years of teasing and a week of early access for players willing to spend more on fancy special editions, Starfield is finally out in the wild. Players are already speedrunning and modding it as they dig through its hundreds of worlds, space stations, and quests. It’s a time of excitement for Bethesda RPG fans. Well, except for those who don’t own an Xbox or high-end PC. And while Bethesda has previously “apologized” about Starfield skipping PlayStation—as part of Microsoft’s acquisition of the company—now Howard is reminding folks that his game’s skipping over one of the most popular console platforms in the world is actually for the better. Really.
In a BBC interview published on September 5, Todd Howard talked about the just-released Starfield and how much work the team put into designing the massive game. He admitted that at times he and others at Bethesda thought, “Are we in over our heads?” However, what helped wrangle some of the chaos of game development was Starfield being exclusive to Xbox.
“When you’re making something exclusive, then the more you can focus,” said Howard.
He further elaborated that by being only on Xbox, Bethesda knew the hardware and what people were playing the game on. It could pour all of its resources and development time into the Xbox Series X/S versions of the game, and that kind of focus “always yields a better product,” according to Howard.
Early tech reviews of Starfield on Xbox seem to suggest this worked, as the game is the most stable console launch in the studio’s history. In my time with Starfield on Xbox Series X and S, it’s been mostly smooth sailing, with only two crashes in over 40 hours of gameplay.
Still, while it’s nice Starfield runs so well on Xbox, its console-exclusive status does mean many players won’t be able to play Bethesda’s latest RPG. Howard says that he does want more people to be able to play the game, but he thinks that being “with Xbox” gets the game on Game Pass and in front of more players than ever before. The famed game director also suggests that Starfield might end up like The Legend of Zelda, forever connected to its console platform in the minds of gamers.
“I do also think people attach brands to certain games,” said Howard. “When you think of Zelda you think of the Switch and I think there are times when that can be a real benefit.” Not a benefit to PS5 owners, but a benefit to someone for sure…