Mods Will Push Starfield Beyond Its Limits

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Story Highlights

  • Bethesda’s games have always been the pinnacle of the modding community.
  • Starfield has the potential to reinvent Bethesda’s modding community, especially with an updated engine.
  • New mechanics in Starfield will allow different types of mods we have rarely seen in Bethesda games. 

There are two things that are certain in life—death and a Bethesda game getting modded to kingdom come. Every Bethesda title is known for its modding community. From Fallout to The Elder Scrolls games, Bethesda’s modding community is unlike any other. With Starfield soon to release, there is the potential for modders to go one step further than before. 

Bethesda is one of the very few publishers that allows users to download game mods on their consoles. Xbox and Playstation owners can download community-made mods from the starting menu. People have made small mods to massive projects, like the Beyond Skyrim project, which seeks to remake every single province in Tamriel in Skyrim.

Similar mods have been made for Bethesda’s Fallout games. Fallout Miami is one such project, which is an upcoming DLC-sized mod that will recreate a post-apocalyptic Miami within Fallout 4. Mods are the lifeblood of Bethesda games, and the studios themselves encourage the creation and use of mods through Bethesda’s Creation Kit software.

There is one somewhat limiting factor to mods in Bethesda games. Bethesda titles such as Skyrim and Fallout 4 exist in enclosed worlds. There is not much you can do to create mods that exist outside the main map of the games, and mod-created continents or landmasses are usually part of multi-year-long projects, like Beyond Skyrim. 

In Starfield, however, there is the possibility that modding can be taken to the next level. Unlike previous Bethesda titles, almost all of Starfield’s landmass is procedurally generated. There are over 1000 procedurally generated planets that are fully explorable by the player. These are the factors that will push modding in Starfield to the next level.

Procedural Generation

A big part of Starfield’s development is the fact that the game is so huge, thanks to procedural generation. Entire planets are fully explorable, as opposed to a single continental landmass or a metro area in past Bethesda games. 

If Bethesda allows modders to access the Creation Engines procedural generation system, that would be huge for the possibility for modders to create new planets and solar systems. These types of features have been requested by the modding community for years. While people have always been able to mod games to create new landmasses, it has always been a time-consuming task. 

We do not know the variables that go into how Bethesda is procedurally designing its worlds. From the snippets of gameplay we have seen, there are all sorts of planets, from gas giants, to temperate forest planets, to icy worlds and deserts. With these tools available for modders, the community could expand on Bethesda’s creativity or go in a completely new direction, maybe recreating planets from other IPs, like Tatooine. 

A Space Setting Opens The Door To Countless Mods

Starfield is set in space
Starfield is set in space

Starfield’s sci-fi space exploration setting and ship-building mechanics will inspire modders to create projects featuring ships and cosmetics from other science fiction IPs. It is common to find HALO and Star Wars mods in games like Skyrim and Fallout 4, but the open-world space setting of Starfield would make these mods feel much more real. 

A mod Project like Beyond Skyrim is over a decade in the making, with the Cyrodil expansion project starting in 2011. Other projects from different mod teams have been in the works for a similar amount of time. There is no doubt that some modders will come along and make say, a Star Wars conversion mod, a Mass Effect mod, or really a conversion mod from any famous sci-fi IP.

Ship Buiding 

Shipbuilding mechanics in Starfield
Shipbuilding mechanics in Starfield

Building and customizing ships will be available in Starfield. From Starfield footage released by Bethesda, we can see that there is no shortage of customization options and even interior spaces can be customized. Starfield modders may be able to create ships from their favorite franchises or expand on what Starfield already offers.

Imagine playing Starfield, but your ship is the Razor Crest from The Mandalorian or The Normandy from Mass Effect. Space stations have also been shown in Starfield gameplay, it is likely players would be able to mod those as well. Perhaps a modder could create the Death Star or the Citadel from Mass Effect. It all comes down to a modders creativity. 

Vehicles are a new mechanic in the updated version of the Creation Engine, made for Starfield. In the past, Bethesda made all sorts of tricks to make vehicles appear to be real. For example in Fallout 3, a subway train was simply an NPC walking very fast, and their head model was a train car. Vehicle mods in other bethesda games have proven hard to make as the mechanics in the game engine simply aren’t there for them. 

Fallout 3 train NPC
Fallout 3 train NPC

Ships will likely be one of the most modded features of Starfield. It is such a new mechanic for Bethesda games that it will likely receive special attention from modders. From what we know, you can customize your ship with different modules, giving your craft enhancements in things like shields, weapons, cargo, crew etc. The ship will in a way be an extension of the player, mods will surely enhance that experience.

Starfield
All modular components in Starfield

We have already seen in Starfield Direct just how in-depth shipbuilding is, with every single module and weapon system being adaptable and interchangeable. This will allow virtually unlimited creativity from modders.

Base Building

Base building mechanics in Starfield
Base building mechanics in Starfield

In Fallout 4, Bethesda introduced base-building mechanics, and with it came countless mods for the feature. Players could spend hours customizing their settlements, and this customization was infinitely enhanced by mods.  Games like Skyrim and Oblivion had player homes, which in a way were primitive mechanics for what Fallout’s base building would become. 

In Starfield, players can build a base on any planet they see fit, and customize it to the needs they have. Players can recruit a crew to run the base, in many ways reflecting the mechanics of Fallout 4’s settlements. With mods, who knows what players could create? Especially in Starfield’s sci-fi setting. 

Final Thoughts 

There is huge potential for mods in Starfield. From completely custom planets to custom ships and bases, it is exciting to think about what the modding community could come up with for Starfield. Games like Skyrim and Fallout have seen mod teams work on decade-long projects, and Starfield is definitely a game that will have a lifespan of decades.

Everything comes down to the creativity of the mod community. Bethesda has always been appreciative and supportive of the mod community. Todd Howard has said that Starfield will have full mod support like in previous games. Starfield releases on September 6th, 2023. While it may take some time for the mods to start pouring in after release, be assured as Starfield is a game that may very well be played for decades to come.

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