Starfield at gamescom: Todd Howard and Phil Spencer Introduce Never-Before-Seen Gameplay 

Xbox’s biggest-ever gamescom booth opened this morning with a special presentation focused on – what else? – Starfield. In a purpose-built 300-seater theatre, attendees kicked off their gamescom experience with an extended look at the opening of the hugely anticipated new spacefaring RPG from Bethesda Game Studios. And, in a surprise appearance, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer and Game Director on Starfield Todd Howard introduced the game for the press and creators this morning. 

“It’s totally awesome to be back at gamescom,” began Spencer. “It’s been so long, I couldn’t remember the last time I was here, I think it was 2017… It’s nice to see everybody back here at gamescom having a great time.” 

The Head of Xbox went onto dive into why this is Xbox’s biggest ever booth, with over 50,000 square feet of floor space, 30 playable games, 150 demo stations, and multiple theatre spaces. Spencer also introduced some of the games at the show, from first-party titles like Towerborne and Forza Motorsport, to third party titles. He gave a special shout-out to STALKER 2, and the incredible work of its Ukrainian dev team, which received a round of applause from the crowd. 

“I’m going to introduce someone who’s been a friend of mine for an awful long time,” he continued, “a friend of Xbox’s for an awful long time. But more importantly, someone who’s created some of the most amazing games, that literally tens of millions, of not hundreds of millions of players have played his games over the years. 

“Two things when Todd talks about Starfield: ‘Over 25 years in the making’, which isn’t the development schedule – that’s how long Bethesda Games Studios has been around. And he also calls it ‘irresponsibly large’. For those who begin to play and see what he and the team have been building, you’ll see just a massively epic game, so please join me in welcoming Todd Howard to the stage.” 

A photo of Phil Spencer at Gamescom

From here, Howard took the mic to huge applause. “This is the first time I have ever been to Gamescom,” he began. “I’ve heard about it for so many years, and what an incredible group of people come out. 

“Thanks for all of your support – to the games that we’ve done over the years, and especially on this one. We have really poured ourselves into it for a long period of time, and it’s just a really, really special game to us. 

“The other thing to say is how great it’s been to be part of Xbox – coming here and seeing this giant booth and their support. Like Phil was saying, we’ve known each other for a long time, we started working together over 20 years on the original Morrowind on the Xbox. So it’s been this long journey, and it feels like… culminating on a game like this, that I think in many ways we couldn’t have built without doing these other games. So we hope you like it!” 

From there, we settled in for 15 minutes of Starfield, a mixture of gameplay and live-action trailers and, the centrepiece, an extended gameplay segment being shown only at Gamescom. 

The booth itself is dressed in a navy blue galaxy map design, and even the holding screen before the event ran through some key terms from the game, from the Grav Drives that allow explorers to jump between star systems, to the background of the United Colonies’ capital city, New Atlantis. The impact of the musical score and visuals in this theater offer a good reminder: you’re going to want to experience Starfield on the biggest, loudest screen you can. 

And what better way to show off the game than by revealing its opening moments? We’re introduced to the game amid a mining operation, where we see the player-character thrown immediately into the mystery at the heart of the game – and we saw a high-speed runthrough of the character creation process to establish a new member of the explorers’ group, Constellation. 

As an opening to the game, it has a bit of everything – both on-foot and space combat, companions, threats, and even a trademark Bethesda “step-out moment”. Our time with Starfield ends as key character Sarah Morgan introduces herself by saying, “Welcome to Constellation – we have a lot to talk about.” Yes, we very much do. 

Thankfully, you won’t have long to see it for yourself – Starfield will be released on September 6 (with pre-orders offering early access from September 1) on Xbox Series X|S and PC (with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass). 

We’re off to a great start from Cologne, Germany! Please keep checking back with Xbox Wire this week and next as we share news and details for many of the biggest titles at gamescom.