IGN was lucky enough to speak to Bethesda Game Studios’ Todd Howard today and, in the process learned a lot more about Starfield – not to mention heard a mention of Fallout’s future.
In conversation with Ryan McCaffrey, Howard followed up on a number of elements we learned about for first time during Starfield’s gameplay reveal at the Xbox-Bethesda showcase last weekend. We have full news stories and quotes for every topic mentioned, linked below, but here’s a quick rundown of everything new we learned.
Todd Howard has confirmed to IGN that Fallout 5 will be Bethesda Game Studios’ next game after The Elder Scrolls 6, which itself will follow on from 2023’s Starfield.
“Yes, Elder Scrolls 6 is in pre-production,” he said, “and, you know, we’re going to be doing Fallout 5 after that, so our slate’s pretty full going forward for a while. We have some other projects that we look at from time to time as well.”
Amid a huge amount of new information on Starfield from the Xbox-Bethesda showcase, likely the most-discussed detail was Todd Howard’s announcement that the upcoming sci-fi RPG will include 1,000 fully explorable planets. Howard told us more about the game’s approach to procedural generation, what it offers, and assured us that players can ignore them in favour of a huge amount of fully handcrafted content, if they want to.
Starfield’s main quest is about 20% bigger than previous Bethesda games such as Skyrim and Fallout 4, with Todd Howard saying that means it should take around 30 to 40 hours to complete – without stepping away to do side content.
Howard said the game’s main story is longer than normal due to the sheer number of quests: “This one’s ending up a little bit longer [than our previous games] and we may tune that some still,” he said. “It’s more quests, so it might be 20% more than our previous ones.”
Starfield – Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase 2022
Bethesda’s open world RPGs may vary wildly in setting and tone, but they very often share one thing – what Bethesda calls the ‘step-out moment’, the scene in which your character steps into the world properly, and sees its sheer scale. Starfield won’t be bucking that trend.
Howard was asked if Starfield had a step-out moment, and how it would create a grand reveal of its world considering it includes 1,000 different planets: “There is. Look, the way the game starts is pretty set for everybody, so we definitely have what we call the ‘step-out moment’. And we probably have a few of them given the scale of the game.”
Starfield will have four major cities for players to explore, including New Atlantis, which is the biggest that developer Bethesda has ever made. Howard said that New Atlantis, capital city of the United Colonies, is not just the biggest in this game but bigger than anything in Skyrim, Fallout 4, or any of the developer’s previous games.
“It has all the services you would expect, and you can work on your ship there, the factions touch that,” Howard said. “But that’s also the headquarters for Constellation, which is the faction that you join that is the last group of space explorers – kind of this NASA-meets-Indiana Jones-meets-The League of Extraordinary Gentleman [group].”
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.
“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.”
Todd Howard said Starfield features a unique take on space combat, and that was partly inspired by FTL and MechWarrior. And yes, you can steal ships that you board.
Howard said “there’s been a lot space sims that we’re fans of, and space shooters from the ’90s,” but the team wanted Starfield “to feel [like] something unique”. He went on to explain how both indie darling FTL and classic shooter MechWarrior were unlikely touchstones for the game.
During the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase, Howard revealed the game will have more than one thousand planets for players to explore, what feels like just as many customisation options, and Star Wars-esque dogfighting in space.
Players are also speculating whether our own Solar System will be a plot point in the game but Bethesda has at least confirmed some story details thanks to a new trailer, though fans will no doubt continue analysing and speculating about Starfield until it is finally released in 2023.