Starfield includes more crafted content than any Bethesda game, in addition to its procedural galaxy

Amid a massive amount of new Starfield information from the Xbox-Bethesda showcase, probably the most talked about detail was Todd Howard’s announcement that the upcoming sci-fi RPG will feature 1,000 fully explorable planets. Howard has now told IGN more about the game’s approach to procedural generation, what it offers, and assured us that players can skip it in favor of a huge amount of entirely handcrafted content, s they wish.

Speaking to IGN, Howard spoke of the huge reaction to the news of Starfield’s massively explorable space: “We’re pretty aware you’re throwing this away. [information] towards the end, people will say “what did you just say?”, then they will have a lot of questions [about] how it works.”

While Howard says the team will offer in-depth analysis of how this content was created and what it feels like in action in the future, he offered us some insight into the thinking behind it, centered on a single philosophy: “We try to say yes as much as possible.”

“We do a lot of procedural generation [in Starfield], but I would keep in mind that we’ve always done that,” Howard explained. “It’s a big part of Skyrim in terms of questing and other things that we do. We generate landscapes using procedural systems, so we’ve always worked on them. [The Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall is] one that we look at a lot in terms of gameplay flow. And we had been developing procedural technology and doing prototypes, and it really started to come to a head with Starfield, in that we think we can do it. “

Although he doesn’t go into detail, Howard pointed out that Starfield’s procedural generation is robust enough to handle the scale of variety required to build the equivalent of 100 solar systems of planets:

“So it starts with: can you even achieve it, visually? You know, a planet. And a planet itself, if you think about it in a game concept, a single planet is infinitely large if you’re going to do So once you’re dealing with such scale and procedural systems, the difference between, say, one planet that has variations and a hundred planets, or a thousand planets, it’s actually not that a big step forward, if that makes sense – once you have good systems that work for it.”

“If people want to do what they’re used to in our games, and follow a main quest, and do the questlines, you’re going to see what you want from us.”

But what Howard seems particularly clear about is that there is a “golden path” (or perhaps a “golden highway” might be more appropriate) through Starfield, which represents everything RPG fans Bethesda would be waiting, and he points out that the team has created more crafted content than ever before, set in its giant procedural galaxy:

“I also have to add that we’ve done more tinkering in this game, in terms of content, than any game we’ve done. We’re [at] over 200,000 lines of dialogue, so we’re still doing a lot of tinkering and if people just want to do what they’re used to in our games, and go through a main quest, and do the questlines, you’re going to see what you’d kind of expect from us. But then you have this whole other part of, ‘Well, I’m just going to roam this planet, and it’s going to provide gameplay, randomized content, and that kind of stuff.’ Kind of like a Daggerfall would, if you go back.”

Again, the philosophy here is to say yes to the player, allow them to detour into areas the designers could never have filled, and provide something to do there, even if it doesn’t. part of the main game. .

“We also take care to let you know that this is what [that procedural content] is. So if you look at space, you know there are a lot of scoops of ice in space, so that was one of our big design considerations on this game is, “That is there any fun in a scoop of ice cream? And it’s okay sometimes if the scoops of ice cream aren’t – that’s what it is. We’d rather have them and tell you yes, ‘Hey, you can land on that.’ Here are the resources, you can study them, and then you can land and spend ten minutes there and say to yourself, ‘OK, now I’m going to leave and go back to the other planet that has all this content, and I’m going to follow this series of quests.

“So we’re very careful not to say, ‘Here’s where the fun is, here’s this kind of content’, but always say yes to the player and ‘You want to land on this strange planet, check it out and build an outpost , and live your life there, and watch the sunset because you love the view of the moons there? We love that kind of stuff.”

“Do you want to go and land on this strange planet, live your life there and watch the sunset because you like the view of the moons there? Go.”

Starfield is coming to Xbox and PC in 2023, and the first gameplay reveal showed off combat, introduced customization, and even hinted at a visit to Earth and our solar system. We’ll know a lot more in the months leading up to release, but the game already looks massive.

Joe Skrebels is IGN’s news editor. Follow him on Twitter. Any advice to give us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an e-mail to

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