Following Microsoft’s $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax Media in 2021, it was confirmed that the studio’s upcoming sci-fi RPG would be released for Xbox Series X/S and PC, but not for PS5.
Bethesda publishing boss Pete Hines discussed the game’s console exclusivity on Thursday during Microsoft’s court case against the US Federal Trade Commission, which is seeking to block the Xbox maker’s proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
Asked if Starfield would be coming out this year if it wasn’t exclusive to Xbox and PC, Hines said (transcribed by journalist Derek Strickland): “In my opinion, no, this game would not be coming out in nine weeks if we were supporting an entirely different platform.”
“Focusing on fewer platforms has been a big benefit to that team,” he added. Being on more platforms would mean “it’s going to take longer, it’s going to cost more. It’s just a far greater risk in my mind.”
Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty told Giant Bomb this month that if Starfield was released now, it “would already have the fewest bugs of any Bethesda game ever shipped”.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer also told the site that Starfield had a much earlier release date before Microsoft acquired Bethesda and delayed the game twice.
He said of Bethesda: “The team has definitely matured. They’ve got Fallouts and Skyrims and Elder Scrolls under their belt. When the acquisition closed, this game had a significantly earlier ship date, earlier than the date we had first set for Starfield. We sat down with Todd and the team and explained we wanted to give them the time.”
Hines also told the court that Bethesda’s in-development Indiana Jones game is now an Xbox console exclusive.
He revealed that the game was originally planned to be released for PS5 too, but that following Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax, Microsoft renegotiated the deal that had previously been struck with Disney for the title.