We now have some interesting information behind the making of Starfield, assuming our source is credible here.
We credit this information from Timu222, who shared a LinkedIn post on his Twitter.
That LinkedIn post comes from one David Reitman, an industry veteran who has worked at companies like Gaikai, and by extension PlayStation. Before that, he was at MMO company Visionary Realms, and later DRC, which put him in a position to be a board advisor to PlayGiga and GreenManGaming. His last work was in the gaming division at Accenture. Accenture did manage community services for game companies, but they also had AI services to extend that work to actual game development, live operations, and more.
Reitman seems to be freelancing as an advisor now, so in that regard, he made this post to sell potential clients who want to get into the video game industry.
Without further ado, here’s what Reitman wrote about Starfield:
“Hold onto your space helmets and grab your popcorn, folks! Bethesda Softworks’ upcoming RPG, Starfield, is like the Marvel Cinematic Universe had a baby with Skyrim, and then sent it to a 25-year-long space camp! The creative vision of Todd Howard, a man who had to wait for technology to catch up for the vision to be realized, is now scheduled for liftoff on September 6! A team of over 500 and a budget of over $200M, this game is promising a universe so vast, you’ll need a space GPS!”
So, let’s parse this down one by one. Bethesda Game Studios (not to be confused with Bethesda Softworks the publisher, this is the game developer) has yet to publicly disclose the staff count of the team who worked on Starfield. They also have yet to reveal the total game budget, or how that broke down between the development budget and marketing budget.
We do know that as of 2021, Bethesda Game Studios employs 420 people. It is somewhat reasonable to believe that not all of these 420 people worked on Starfield, as they are also supporting other games such as The Elder Scrolls Online, Fallout Shelter, and Fallout 76.
In terms of budget, what we can say from officially revealed figures is that The Last Of Us: Part II and Horizon: Forbidden West have games that cost around $ 200 million dollars only in terms of game development.
Making these comparisons does not allow us to verify that the information is real. But, we can at least say that the figures Reitman shares are credible. It’s likely that he made smart guesses himself, rather than being cleared to provide this information. As best as we can tell, Reitman hasn’t shared online if he has any connections or permission to share these figures.
But if we just talk about these figures as smart guesses, they do give us a good idea of how big a project this game has been. Each studio handles workflow, and subsequently staffing, differently, and we also don’t know if Bethesda outsourced some of the work. As one of the biggest game releases in one of the biggest years for video games, it only makes sense that it has such a large scale to require that much work.
Starfield will be releasing on September 6, 2023, on Xbox Series X|S and Windows via Steam. It will also be Day One on Game Pass.