Amid the massive amount of new information on Starfield from the Xbox-Bethesda Showcase, perhaps the most talked-about detail was Todd Howard’s announcement that the upcoming sci-fi RPG would include 1,000 fully exploreable planets. Howard has now told IGN about the game’s approach to procedural generation based on what it offers, and has assured us that players can ignore them entirely in favor of a huge amount of handcrafted content if they so desire. Huh.
Speaking to IGN, Howard addressed the overwhelming reaction to the news of Starfield’s extensive searchable space: “We pretty much know you throw it away. [information] In the end, people will go ‘What did you just say?’, and then they’ll have a lot of questions. [about] How does this work.”
While Howard says the team will offer a future deep dive into how that material was actually made, and how it feels in action, he did offer us a glimpse into the thinking around it, which is a The same philosophy focuses on: “We try to say yes as much as we can.”
“We do a lot of procedural generation [in Starfield]But I’ll note that we’ve always done that,” Howard explained. “It’s a big part of Skyrim in terms of quests and a few other things. We generate scenarios using procedural systems, so we have always worked on it. [The Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall is] Which we see a lot in terms of game flow. And we were developing some procedural technology and doing some prototyping, and it really started to come to a head with Starfield, in that we think we can do that.”
Although he did not go into details, Howard insisted that the procedural generation of starfields is strong enough to handle the sheer scale of diversity needed to form planets worth 100 solar systems:
“So it starts with this: Can you even draw it visually? You know, a planet. And a planet in itself, if you think about it in a game concept, is just a planet infinitely. If you’re going to do it in some realistic fashion. So once you’re working with that kind of scale, and procedural systems, say, a planet that has some variation on it, and a hundred Planets, or a thousand planets, it’s really not that big of a leap, if it makes sense — once you have good systems working for it.”
“If people want to do what they used to do in our games, and follow a core quest, and discover, you’ll see what you’d expect from us.”
But Howard is particularly clear about that there is a ‘golden way’ (or perhaps the ‘golden freeway’ as it might be more appropriate) through Starfield, which represents complete, handcrafted Bethesda RPG fans, and he emphasized Given that the team has established within their vast procedural galaxy, created more handmade materials than ever before:
“I should also add that we have done more handcrafting in this game, content-wise, than in any other game. We are [at] over 200,000 lines of dialogue, so we still do a lot of handcrafting and if people want to do what they used to do in our games, and follow a main quest, and search, you’ll see that you What are you doing. d is kind of expected from us. But then you have this whole other part of, ‘Okay, I’m just going to wander this planet, and it’s going to provide some gameplay, and some random content, and stuff like that.’ Kind of like a daggerfall, if you go too far back.”
Again, the philosophy here is about making the player say yes, allowing them to circle around in areas the designers were never able to fill in, and provide something to do there, even if it’s part of the main game. Don’t be a part ,
“We are also careful to tell you what [that procedural content] Is. So if you look at space, you know there’s a lot of ice balls in space, so one of our big design ideas on this game was, ‘What’s so fun about a snow ball?’ And that’s okay. Sometimes if the snowballs aren’t there—that’s it. We want them to have you and tell you yes, ‘Hey, you can get over this.’ There’s resources here, you can survey it, and then you can get down there and spend ten minutes there and be like, ‘Okay, now I’m going to go to another planet, on which this There is other material, and I’m going to follow this quest.’
“So we’re very careful to say, ‘Here’s fun, here’s this kind of stuff,’ but still say yes to the player and, ‘You want to land on that strange planet, visit it, and build an outpost. , and spend your life there, and watch the sunset because you like the view of the moons there? Go for it. We love that stuff.”
“You want to go to that strange planet, live your life there, and watch the sunset because you love the view of the moons there? Go for it.”
Starfield will arrive for Xbox and PC in 2023, and the first gameplay shows have shown combat, introduced customization, and even hinted at a journey to Earth and our solar system. . We’ll find out more in the months before release, but the game already feels huge.