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Bethesda's Starfield is single-player and procedurally generated


Starfield – don’t expect any more details this year (pic: Bethesda)

Todd Howard has offered the first real details about Bethesda’s new sci-fi game Starfield, but warned a full reveal is a long way off yet.

It’s probably just coincidence, but when Microsoft bought Bethesda they did so at one of the company’s quietest points in recent history, with no major games due to be released anytime soon – just smaller scale titles such as Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo.

Fallout and The Elder Scrolls developer Bethesda Game Studios certainly don’t have anything currently scheduled and while Starfield is known to be their next game they’ve said virtually nothing about it.

Starfield has been implied to be a space exploration game, perhaps similar to Elite or No Man’s Sky, but no-one’s really sure. Although studio head Todd Howard has now confirmed it’s single-player only.

It’s very unusual for any of Microsoft’s games to not have any multiplayer elements but Howard also confirmed that, since it’s now a first party release, Starfield will be available day one on Game Pass.

He didn’t, however, get into whether it would be an Xbox and PC exclusive or whether it would also be released on the PlayStation 5.

Instead, Howard gave an hour long speech as part of Develop:Brighton Digital 2020 and spoke about how the game would use procedural generation to create its worlds.

Although it seems likely the game will have multiple planets that was never explicitly confirmed and apparently the same process will be used for The Elder Scrolls 6, so he’s really just talking about a way to create realistic worlds without having to design every inch by hand.

In a nod to one of Fallout 76’s many controversies Howards also confirmed that non-player characters would play a large role in Starfield and that it will feature much larger cities than previous Bethesda games.

Howard claims that the team making Starfield is four to five times larger than the one that made Skyrim (although that was nine years ago now, so that’s not much of a surprise) and the improvement in graphics is bigger than the jump between Morrowind and Oblivion.

Many will still be disappointed that Bethesda is just upgrading the existing Creation Engine though, rather than making a brand new graphics engine, so let’s hope we’ve finally seen the last of Bethesda’s potato-faced in-game people.

On the big question of when we’ll be able to see the game in action there’s still no answer, with Howard saying simply that it’ll ‘be a while’. Which makes it sound like talk of a release next year is probably overly optimistic.

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