Since Starfield was first announced, Bethesda have been pretty quiet on the details. The upcoming spacefaring RPG was revealed at E3 back in 2018 as their new next-gen singleplayer game. But now, Todd Howard has shared a few more titbits. For starters, Starfield’s map will be the largest of any Bethesda RPG yet thanks to procedural generation.
To clarify, Starfield won’t be randomly generated as you play it. Procedural generation is used during development to help make larger worlds, with the details within that world being handcrafted.
“We like to experiment in each game with procedural stuff, and then if it’s not working out, go in and touch it,” Howard says during an interview at Develop: Brighton’s digital event. “The stuff we’re doing now, we’re pushing procedural generation further than we have in a very, very long time.”
Supposedly, this will help them make Starfield bigger than Fallout 76, which is currently their largest game at four times the size of Skyrim.
Howard says an overhaul to the Creation Engine (which they’ve been making games in since Skyrim) is helping them achieve this giant game. It has improvements for rendering, animations and AI, allowing them to build livelier cities full of NPCs who play a “larger role” than they did in previous Fallouts and Elder Scrolls.
“It’s a significant overhaul,” he says. “It’s taken us longer than we would have liked, but it’s going to power everything we’re doing with Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6. When people see the results, they’ll hopefully be as happy as we are with what’s on the screen and also how we can go about making our games.”
Microsoft bought Bethesda back in September, and Howard confirmed during his interview that upcoming games like Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 will be available on Game Pass at launch, which is pretty cool.
Unfortunately, old Todd also says “it’s going to be a while” before we actually get to play Starfield. From the sounds of things they’ll only announce a release date once they know there won’t be any delays. I wonder if they’ve learned from any recent heavily delayed big games (*cough* Cyberpunk 2077 *cough*).