It Could Take 130 Hours To Start Starfield, Bethesda Exec Says

Bethesda’s forthcoming space epic Starfield is apparently so long, it’s made the developer’s head of publishing Pete Hines lose all sense of time. At a Bethesda MainStream event during Gamescom 2023, Hines said he felt like the action role-playing game didn’t “really […] get going” until he took 50 hours to finish its main quest. That was after he’d already dropped 80 hours into sidequests.

“80 hours in, I went from doing one game to a completely different game where I started really focusing on the main quest,” said Hines, “and then I got so caught up in the main quest, that I spent the next 50 hours just doing that. […] I’m here to tell you that this game doesn’t really even get going until you finish the main quest.”

“Telling somebody, ‘Oh, I played Starfield for 40 hours’ tells you nothing about what that person has done,” he said.

130 hours is an intimidating amount to put into anything, let alone something that turbo-blasts blue light directly into your eyeballs and brain. But try not to worry for your ocular health yet—it might not take you as long as it took Hines to bring the game to max speed.

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In 2022, Starfield director Todd Howard estimated its main quest would take a player around 30 and up to 40 hours to beat. I suppose that isn’t much of a difference from 50, but at least you could have around 10 more hours to, like, go outside. Or play Crash Bandicoot.

Read More: Starfield Is An Xbox Exclusive, And Pete Hines Is Sorry

In any case, Hines maintains that Starfield will claim a huge portion of your time. In another Gamescom conversation, this one with IGN, he said, “If I’m being honest, there’s really not an amount of time that I’m comfortable enough [with saying] ‘Now you’ve played enough Starfield to get what this game is.’ Because, like, I’m at 150, 160 hours on my current playthrough, and […] I haven’t even come close.”

Start clearing your schedule, then. Premium or Constellation Edition buyers can play Starfield in Early Access starting September 1, and the game is officially out for everyone on Xbox Series X/S and PC September 6.


Starfield Players Get Excused From Work By Bethesda Exec

Bethesda’s head of publishing Pete Hines posted a boilerplate excuse note on Twitter for any Starfield fan who, ahead of the game’s official release on September 6, is rapidly starting to feel a little bit…feverish.

Your stomach is twisting into tight knots. Your hands are slick and shaking, your whole body shivers with the exciting prospect of handing a multibillion-dollar company your $70. It’s okay. You’re safe now with Hines, whose name on Twitter currently specifies that he is “(not a doctor).”

“To Whom It May Concern: Please excuse ____ from work/school/chores for the foreseeable future,” begins his magnanimous excuse note. “They are currently undergoing treatment for an infection from [a dinosaur-like Starfield creature] Ashta bite after a recent expedition to [planet] Tau Ceti II.”

Hines’ note isn’t the first time a developer has tried to help you get out of responsibilities in order to play their new game. Ahead of Baldur’s Gate 3’s August 3 release, developer Larian Studios posted a “request for special dispensation” form, and encouraged players to hand it to their boss so they could spend hours upon hours in an expansive RPG world. Starfield, which similarly promises a thousand explorable planets and side quests, seems like another game that might suck up all your free time.

It’s also not the first time Hines has offered gamers a sick note to play his company’s latest game. He shared a much shorter, simpler sick note two days before Fallout 4’s November 10, 2015 release date. “I figure some of you might need a note from your doctor for your upcoming ‘sick day(s)’ this week,” he wrote then. As far as running gags go, it could be worse.

Will this Starfield sick note work? It’s unlikely, but your boss, professor, or mom can judge for themselves if Pete Hines, described on the note as an “MD, LAN, PhD, ARS” and “Head Physician, Constellation,” wants what’s best for you.

Read More: Here’s When You Can Actually Start Playing Starfield
Pre-order Starfield: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

“Whether you need time off to play Starfield starting tomorrow in early access,” Hines said on Twitter, “or next week at launch, Uncle Pete has you covered.”

“Already asked my boss earlier this week (and was approved),” said one commenter. “But, man, you should’ve sent this earlier.”

“Literal people are going to use this,” another Twitter respondent said. “Genius.”

Starfield launches in Early Access at 8 p.m. Eastern on August 31.


Bethesda Exec Pete Hines Leaving Company After 24 Years

Bethesda publishing head Pete Hines is retiring from the Starfield developer after 24 years, he announced on Twitter (or X) on October 16. Hines’ decision comes only a few days after Microsoft, which owns Bethesda Game Studios, was rubber-stamped to complete its $69 billion Activision Blizzard buy.

“I […] will begin an exciting new chapter of my life exploring interests and passions, donating my time where I can, and taking more time to enjoy life,” Hines wrote. “This was not a decision I came to easily or quickly, but after an amazing career, culminating in the incredible launch of Starfield, it feels like the time is right.”

“This is certainly not goodbye by any means,” Hines continued. “Working with the amazing people, teams, and studios at Bethesda has been the greatest experience of my life. […] Love you guys.” Kotaku reached out to Hines for comment.

Bethesda was equally gushing in its own Twitter announcement post, saying “Pete’s public presence was only a small part of his role at Bethesda, although the way he represented us carried over into the values he nurtured here: authenticity, integrity, and passion.” Later, the developer posted a doctor’s note addressed to Hines (in the past, he’s liked pardoning gamers from work during a huge Bethesda release cycle), prescribing him “lots of gaming, devoting care and affection to foster pups, […] and of course…more games!” It’s an interesting treatment plan, but it seems like it could work for Hines, who sunk 130 hours into Starfield earlier this year.

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“More games” are also likely in Bethesda’s future—Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard merger promises to “bring players together,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer wrote on Twitter, and along with the franchises it’s absorbing, it will add 10,000 employees to its union-neutral workforce. 10,000 employees, but Pete Hines ain’t one.

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