Before Starfield, Bethesda built and canceled another space game
Starfield is set to push the RPG game genre to new heights. Building on Fallout, Skyrim, and the rest of the Elder Scrolls series, what we’ve seen of Starfield gameplay promises a huge galaxy, a seemingly endless number of quests and characters, and incredibly deep customization. As we stand on the brink of the Starfield release date however, a little dive into gaming history reveals this is not Bethesda’s first interstellar trip. Back in the ‘90s, another space adventure from the Starfield maker was planned and partially built, but ultimately never saw the light of launch.
From Starfield missions to Starfield romance and even Starfield plants, we’ve seen a ton of new material relating to Bethesda’s latest over the past couple of weeks. By all accounts, it’s looking like a landmark not just for the developer, but the sandbox game genre as a whole. Back in the late ‘90s, however, Bethesda was already thinking about the final frontier.
The 10th Planet was co-developed by Bethesda and film production company Centropolis, co-founded by Independence Day, Moonfall, and The Day After Tomorrow director Roland Emerich. Using the same XnGine technology that powered The Elder Scrolls Daggerfall and FPS game The Terminator Skynet, The 10th Planet was a space dogfighting sim originally slated for launch in 1996.
Set in the distant future, it would involve a sinister alien race that planned to invade Earth from its staging area aboard a mysterious tenth planet beyond Pluto. Rather than exploration or RPG-style quests, The 10th Planet would focus on dogfighting, similar to Star Wars TIE Fighter, which launched in 1994.
The 10th Planet’s launch date was later pushed back to 1997, and then 1998, until the game was canceled entirely. Though specific reasons for the cancellation are undocumented, Centropolis, which was responsible for The 10th Planet’s story, was also working on the 1998 film Godzilla.
At the same time, Bethesda was busy producing the two Daggerfall spin-offs Redguard and Battlespire, meaning both companies were already facing relatively packed schedules.
Nevertheless, The 10th Planet lives on, in some form, via the Starfield space combat. We also wouldn’t be surprised to find a few 10th Planet easter eggs hidden in Starfield as well.