We need a smooth landing
Well, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom reviews are in and this is quickly becoming a Game of the Year contender already! Sitting at a blistering 96 on Metacritic and 97 on Open Critic, Nintendo’s latest Zelda adventure is seemingly one of the greats – and it’s not even out yet for the general public.
No, this isn’t Nintendo Life you’ve accidently visited here — we’re still team green through and through — but a release like this is something you just can’t avoid when you’re plugged into the games industry. It’s one of the most anticipated titles of the year, and so far, it seems to be living up to the hype.
Naturally, its reception got us thinking about what upcoming Xbox games could get close to delivering the sheer scale, scope and excitement that TOTK seems to be serving up, and you guessed it; Starfield came out on top. If anything can bring a vast open world full of wonder and intrigue to Xbox players, it’s Bethesda Game Studios’ first new IP in decades following years of work on The Elder Scrolls and Fallout.
It remains to be seen whether the team can deliver on the promise of ‘Skyrim in Space’, but the gleeful arrival of the latest Zelda and the unfortunate mishap of Redfall are both adding immense pressure to Starfield’s launch. We don’t want to get too hyperbolic here and claim that everything Xbox-related rides on it, but Starfield is starting to feel more important than ever for Microsoft.
Regardless of what Phil Spencer says about console mindshare, Xbox of course wants to be part of these kinds of ‘GOTY’ conversations and we reckon Starfield is the company’s best shot at that for the foreseeable future. Depending on how you look at it, the game’s September launch is a timely one – it gives Microsoft the chance to right a wrong and also stand toe-to-toe with one of the best games in the business.
And you know what, we have faith that the teams can deliver. Xbox will be acutely aware of the fallout from Redfall and will want to make amends for that, and surely Bethesda knows how important a brand-new IP is to their future as well.
It’s also worth reminding ourselves that not so long ago, Xbox put out a steady stream of really high quality titles. The team was voted Best Game Publisher in 2021 thanks to releases like Forza Horizon 5, Halo Infinite and Psychonauts 2 all delivering fantastic review scores on launch. It’s been a bit of a drop off since then, but the notion that Xbox can’t deliver great games is nonsense.
Hopefully, we’ll have a clearer idea of how Starfield is shaping up in exactly one month’s time, at the Starfield Direct livestream on June 11th. We haven’t seen much of the game at all since last summer’s showing, and the team really needs to come out swinging as we ride the hype to Starfield’s September launch.
We’ll also add though, that if the game could do with a delay, it should absolutely get one. No game needs to launch on a specific date — especially one as important as this — and we’ve all seen how things can turn out if you decide not to delay your AAA launch. We truly hope Starfield is ready to go in September, but if not, give it the time it needs to be truly great.
Bethesda Game Studios is certainly under the microscope with Starfield, then, perhaps more than ever with its newfound position as one of Xbox’s top first-party developers. We hope that the pressure of making up for Redfall and competing with Zelda can help form a truly amazing Xbox title come Starfield launch day on September 6th, 2023.