Starfield lead Todd Howard has sent a heartfelt congratulations to the entire team at Xbox and Bethesda on the eve of the game's Early Access launch.
In the internal memo (obtained and published by Windows Central), Howard tells the story of pitching the game to the late ZeniMax CEO Robert Altman. "It was early 2013, we were developing Fallout 4, and Skyrim was still enjoying enormous success," Howard writes. "I was there to pitch him on our next game. It would not be a sequel to our current games, (he looked concerned), but a grand space RPG and our first new IP in over 25 years (looks curious). It would delve into creation and the search for our place in the universe (slight twinkle). You would explore the galaxy in ways only video games can do. And it would be called - Starfield. (Smile)"
Altman's response, Howard says, was simply this: "Sounds fantastic." Howard notes that "the core development from 2020 to 2023 saw enormous changes in our lives. A global pandemic, Robert’s passing, and becoming part of Xbox."
As for becoming part of Xbox, Howard singles out Phil Spencer for some special praise. "His support of every game and every player has been unwavering and fierce. Joining Xbox brought us closer to so many we had worked with for over 20 years. I cannot imagine a better place to create games, where the diversity of studios, creators, and games are allowed to flourish."
Howard also credits the support of the "magicians" at Microsoft's Advanced Technology Group, "whose spells and incantations helped make this our best performing game." Microsoft has already been confident enough to say that Starfield has the "fewest bugs any Bethesda game ever shipped with," but it seems that applies to the game's performance, too.
"Most importantly," Howard says, "is the team I work with at Bethesda Game Studios. It’s an incredible blessing to be surrounded by so many talented and inspirational people every day. Moments like this make you reflect back. Some of us have been together for decades, some joined more recently, but everyone has the same passion. I could not be prouder of their continued dedication to create something truly special."
Howard concludes the message by noting that everyone at Xbox and Bethesda will get a copy of the game right when Starfield Early Access lands. The game's technically out in Early Access on September 1, but "since it’s one global time you can actually play Thursday evening," Howard jokes. "Thanks New Zealand!"
For live coverage of the Starfield launch, you can follow that link.