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How E3's Cancellation Likely Impacts Starfield

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  • Posted on 09th Apr, 2022 00:20 AM

With the news that E3 2022 has been canceled, players are wondering how this announcement will impact the upcoming Bethesda title Starfield.

p>One of the year's most anticipated games, Bethesda's sci-fi space epic Starfield still has a while to go until its delayed release. A lot is riding on Starfield's success, including the developer's reputation after a few less-than-satisfactory recent releases, and how Bethesda handles its launch will be a key factor in the title's standing within the video game community. It seems Bethesda is playing the long game when it comes to Starfield after first announcing it way back in 2018. Pitched as a completely new, next-gen experience, Starfield will be Bethesda's first original IP in twenty-five years. It's no wonder that expectations are high for the upcoming game, and fans are waiting eagerly to see if it will be able to live up to the hype.

While Bethesda has been content to reveal only minimal details around its newest action RPG, now that the launch date for the PC and Xbox-exclusive title nears ever closer, the secretive shroud around the game is starting to lift. Details still remain frustratingly vague regarding many of Starfield's aspects, but now that its release window is within reach, players are expecting Bethesda to ramp up its marketing. One thorn in Bethesda's side, however, is the recent announcement that E3 has been officially canceled for 2022, removing a significant stage for the studio to showcase its next big game.

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E3 2022 Is No More

E3, considered by many as one of the biggest and most prominent trade shows in the video game industry, has had a hard few years. The last in-person E3 event was 2019, and after 2020's cancellation and 2021's all-digital affair, many people were looking forward to getting back to business as usual for the massive event. However, E3 organizers already warned that the 2022 showcase wouldn't be held in person, but the news came this week that even the digital event wouldn't be taking place this year.

This is a huge blow for some, and perhaps proof that E3 is losing its relevancy as well, as other digital events and showcases appear to fill the void left by its absence. With Sony's decision a few years ago to not take part in E3 and instead offer semiregular State of Play showcases, and Nintendo's own much less regular Direct streams, E3 seems less and less necessary. However, E3's cancellation has still had a big impact on both gamers and developers, and without it, many studios lose the chance to make a splash with announcements and big game reveals.

As well as Sony and Nintendo's already established solo showcases and streams, THQ Nordic has announced its intention to hold its own summer showcase now that E3 has been canceled for the year. While THQ Nordic may be one of the first to make this move, it will surely not be the last, as publishers look for new ways to get news of upcoming games out to fans. THQ Nordic's showcase will go out on its YouTube, Twitch, and Steam channels in August, and will likely focus on titles like Outcast 2: A New Beginning and the new installment in the Saints Row series.

How E3 Worked For Bethesda

One of the studios that will inevitably feel the impact of E3's cancelation is Bethesda. Many Bethesda games usually get a big showcase before release, and E3 was timed perfectly this year to act as Starfield's huge final outing before its release in November. While details have been fairly sparse surrounding Bethesda's next big release, E3 would have been the best place to dive into the mysteries of Starfield on an appropriately grand scale, and it could have provided a great build-up of excitement ahead of the game's release later this year.

E3 has provided a similar service for Bethesda in the past, with memorable showcases like the one in 2015 where Bethesda blew fans out of the water. Bethesda delivered a pitch-perfect performance with the reveal of Fallout 4 and capped this off with the announcement that it was only a few months away. Bethesda has also had strong showings over the years at E3, but some of its updates and announcements didn't feel as potent in recent showcases after Starfield's reveal. E3 2022 could have been its chance to fully capitalize on the hype around Starfield, but sadly that can no longer be the case.

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The Possible Impact On Starfield

Bethesda has been slowly feeding fans with details of its upcoming release with things like the Into the Starfield videos that have provided a better look at some of the game's features and its development process. These exciting glimpses have revealed interesting aspects of the game, like Starfield's approach to companions, individualized starts based on faction affiliation, and insights into the complex game world. While these videos have been a welcome addition to Starfield's marketing, they hardly have the same fanfare and ceremony as a big E3 showcase.

If Bethesda was relying on E3 2022 to provide the last big push for Starfield's marketing, the studio will now have to look elsewhere for the game's vital pre-release glimpses of gameplay. It will need to continue to build anticipation for the upcoming title, especially with such high expectations from Bethesda and even Xbox boss Phil Spencer, who hopes Starfield will have a greater impact than the fan-favorite Skyrim. Starfield also needs to make sure it's giving players a detailed and realistic look at what it will actually offer, or else risk disappointing fans who might have other expectations for what Starfield will entail thanks to its largely mysterious marketing.

With rumors that Xbox is planning its own E3-style show, this might give Bethesda a platform to show off Starfield before its release. While this is yet to be officially confirmed by Microsoft, it has apparently been approaching publishers to create an enviable lineup for its own digital event this summer. With Starfield's status as an Xbox and PC exclusive, as well as the excitement and anticipation surrounding its release, it would make sense for it to feature front and center of any Xbox showcase. Whatever Bethesda plans to do, it's clear that the next few months will be crucial in continuing to build on Starfield's hype so that it can have a successful launch.

Starfield releases November 11, 2022, for PC and Xbox Series X/S.

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