Only 10% Of Starfield’s Planets Will Have Life, According to Todd Howard

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                                                                            Story Highlights

  • Starfield is a sci-fi first-person RPG by Bethesda Game Studios, developers of prolific titles such as the entire Elder Scrolls series, as well as Fallout 3 and 4. 
  • When speaking to Kinda Funny Games, Starfield director Todd Howard confirmed that merely 10% of the games’ thousand-plus planets will have life on them.
  • Starfield will not have any land vehicles and players will instead explore using the jetpack. 
  • Starfield will also feature a wide variety of biomes, some of which actively encourage pre-preparation before landing on them to survive their harsh environment. 

When speaking on the Kinda Funny Games podcast, Starfield director Todd Howard confirmed that only 10% of the game’s planets will have life in them. Howard states that this aims to ensure Starfield’s livelier planets feel a lot more meaningful in comparison. He describes it as a “Goldilocks zone” between having the larger more meaningful planets with more life and ones that are more barren and meant for resources. 

The quote — which can be found at the 18:00 minute mark — was a response to a question raising concern about the process of creating Starfield’s open world. The statement itself goes as follows: 

We’re pushing it, about 10% of those planets have life on them. We’re pushing it to the edge of what do people think, what planets are in that goldilocks zone vs planets that have resources.”

Howard further stated that players will be able to explore these barren planets for resources and exploration, he also delved more into the reasoning behind pushing life for just 10% of the game’s one thousand-plus planets. 

We will generate certain things for you to find on them, and if you look at a planet and you see the resources, it has things you want. It’s a difficult design thing, if you add too many things, if you generate too many abandoned bases or towers or things to find it starts feeling too gamey in some of those locations. I think we’ve dialed that in pretty well depending on the planet that you’re on.”

At 21:20, Howard also goes into detail regarding the diversity of biomes between all the planets in Starfield, addressing concerns by many over whether or not it will be varied enough. Certain biomes will even require preparation in advance such as various upgrades to your suit to survive their harsh environments with factors such as temperature, gravity, and radiation to take into account.  

Moreover, Howard says that players can additionally scan the flora and fauna of planets for information that could be then exchanged for credits. Howard describes it as bringing an almost “Zen-like” quality to the game’s experience but also threatening to an extent as some of the fauna is particularly hostile and aggressive, adding a sense of danger to exploration.

If you fully survey a planet, that data is actually worth a lot of money — credits in the game that you can sell — so there’s a whole part of the game that’s really just doing that. It’s a little more zen-like. Now you can get on a planet where the creatures there, some of them can be aggressive or it can get dangerous as you’re exploring the planet.”

At 23:30, Howard also confirms that there will be no land vehicles in the game, instead, players will be using the jetpack for traversing the game’s many planets. The jetpack will be upgradeable to give it various utilities and will essentially serve as the closest thing you will have to an actual vehicle on land. 

Starfield is looking to shake up the open world genre once again with Bethesda’s signature focus on engaging exploration heightened to a literally universal scale. Whether or not it lives up to its promise remains to be seen but fans are already appropriately excited as the game shot up to Steam’s top sellers mere hours after its showcase. 

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