Todd Howard shares more details about Starfield

Bethesda's game director discussed the upcoming space adventure game's survival elements

Bethesda Softworks made a name for itself with massive open worlds titles like Elder Scrolls and Fallout. When it announced that the next game would be a space exploration game, fans were instantly intrigued and hyped.

Starfield Cover
Todd Howard discusses a number of topics in the podcast including the upcoming space exploration game.

Starfield was unfortunately delayed to sometime in 2023, but Bethesda has constantly kept in touch with fans via frequent updates.

Starfield’s game director Todd Howard recently sat down with Lex Fridman to discuss a lot of things. A part of the discussion concerned what inspired the making of the space-faring game.

"We had always wanted to do something where you explore space," Howard shared. "You know, the explore space role-playing game. So, take the kind of games that we make and give it a little bit of a different spin."

Howard went on to share that Traveler, the first game he made for the Apple II, was one of the inspirations for the game. Starflight, Star Control 2, and Sundog were the other titles that inspired the game director to create Starfield. The team at Bethesda felt like it was the right time to do a space exploration RPG after primarily being focused on the Elder Scrolls and Fallout.

Bethesda’s executive producer explained that the studio had to build a system to render planets that seemed more realistic and had interesting landscapes. Howard may have also taken a dig at the procedurally generated worlds of other space exploration survival games such as No Man’s Sky, calling the landscape of those games "fractal goop" which he defines as something that "looks muddy."

Starfield Art
Players won't run out of fuel and be stuck in some desolate star system in Starfield.

Howard shared that players may find that exploring the vastness of the 100-star system and 1000 planets can be "a lonely experience." He is, however, confident that if the game tells them what resources are on the planet, players would be incentivized to explore, saying, "I equate it to that moment that we said about listening to the wind go and watching the sunset," Howard continues. "And I do think that there's a certain beauty to landing on a strange planet being somewhat the only person there, building an outpost. And we are modeling all of the systems because that's how we like to do things."

According to Howard, the game will have planets that rotate, as well as sunrises and sunsets. He also shared that Starfield will tell players where the handcrafted areas are and where the procedurally generated areas can be found. The star system will also have levels to indicate which ones fit the character’s current progression.

Howard also shared how they made the game's survival elements much easier. "We don't really kill you when you fly out in space but it has a tone of 'there's some effort' and we've dialed it back as we've been making the game whereas we used to run out of fuel. You jump and get stranded which on paper was a great moment. When you get stranded you have to press this beacon and you don't know who's going to come."

Starfield Art
The survival mechanics in Starfield are much easier.

"It turns out that it just stops your game," Howard explains. He then discusses that getting stuck on a planet and forced to explore and mine resources is a "fun killer."

The mechanic where players get stuck and are forced to gather resources is meant for more "hardcore" survival games. However, Howard did say that they may consider it in the future. This may be inspired by how Bethesda added a survival mode to Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim years after the game was released.

Darryl Lara

Darryl has been gaming since the early 90s, loves to read books and watch TV. He spends his free time outside of gaming and books by riding his motorcycle and taking photographs. You can find Darryl on Instagram. Check him out on Steam and Xbox too.
Comparison List (0)