It feels like fans have been waiting for Starfield forever, but just how long has it been in development?

Todd Howard has previously said that Starfield is 25 years in the making, although this is entirely hyperbolic and is in reference to the fact that it is their first new IP in that timeframe.

So, just how long has Bethesda been working away at Starfield? Below we outline the exact time Starfield began production according to Howard, as well as when the initial idea was conceived.

How Long Has Starfield Been in Development?

Starfield has been in development for 7 years and began production after the launch of Fallout 4 in 2016.

This was confirmed by Todd Howard during an interview on the Lex Fridman podcast. While discussing the production of Starfield, Howard said, “We started the game right after Fallout 4, so 2016.”

Additionally, during the first public reveal of Starfield in E3 2018, Todd Howard said, “Starfield is a game that we have spent years thinking about and working on.”

The player standing next to their ship in Starfield

However, it is worth noting that the word Starfield was first trademarked by Zenimax Media Inc, Bethesda’s parent company, on March 22, 2013, over 10 years ago.

So, at the very least, Starfield has been in development conceptually for 10 years.

You can see the initial announcement trailer for Starfield below:

Starfield’s 7-year production is the longest in Bethesda’s history, with the longest before that being 4 years between Oblivion and Morrowind.

Typically, Bethesda’s games take between 3 to 4 years to produce, with Fallout 76 being the outlier as it is a live service game and is, therefore, still technically in production.

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Whether it's an indie platformer or a 100-hour JRPG, Tom loves talking about games. So much so, he made it his career. Since starting in 2020, he's covered a wide range of topics at sites including TheGamer and The Game Crater.