Todd Howard has said that Starfield won’t allow you to fly seamlessly from space to its 1,000 explorable planets, saying the feature is “really just not that important to the player” to justify the engineering work involved.
Speaking to IGN after the gameplay reveal at the Xbox-Bethesda showcase, we asked Howard about his philosophy of ‘saying yes to the player’, and whether that meant the team had tried to implement every single idea it had for the game. Howard explained that, while the philosophy was key to things like procedurally generating 100 solar systems (allowing players to explore more freely than in previous Bethesda games), the team did say no to ideas that weren’t deemed as crucial to the experience. He gave a key example:
“People have asked, ‘Can you fly the ship straight down to the planet?’ No. We decided early in the project that the on-surface is one reality, and then when you’re in space it’s another reality.”
After the Starfield reveal, many commented on the game’s seeming similarities to fellow space exploration game No Man’s Sky – to the point where the older game trended on Twitter. However, seamless planet landings were a big part of No Man’s Sky’s pitch ahead of release, helping sell an idea that you were exploring a single, gigantic open space.
Howard, however, saw a different need for Starfield, explaining that the time spent making that feature work didn’t offer the pay-off the team was looking for in terms of quality:
“If you try to really spend a lot of time engineering the in-between, like that segue, you’re just spending a lot of time [on something] that’s really just not that important to the player,” Howard reasoned. “So let’s make sure it’s awesome when you’re on the surface and awesome when you’re in space, and those realities look and play as good as they can be.”
As we learned during Sunday’s showcase, the game will feature over 1,000 planets to land on and explore, one of which may well be Earth. Starfield will arrive for Xbox and PC in 2023, and the first gameplay reveal showed off combat, and introduced customization among many other things.
Source: IGN Video Games All