With the much-anticipated 2023 release of Starfield fast approaching, Bethesda has started a new Q&A video series, and in the first installment, director Todd Howard answers a number of community requests – including sharing some thoughts on features, dialogue and whether Starfield can be described as a “hard sci-fi” game.
Howard started the chat by detailing some of Starfield’s inspirations – the 1984 space sim SunDog: Frozen Legacy and the pen-and-paper role-playing game Traveler, in case you’re wondering – before moving on to the “hard sci-fi” question . This, he said, is a little tricky to answer since different people probably have different definitions of “hard sci-fi,” but for Bethesda, “It’s harder for us where you draw that line from, okay, so he researched.” human space, and [then] Look at our ships and say, alright, that has a visual identity back.”
However, he also called the question a kind of trap “because it’s a video game. Like a harsh sci-fi video game, you die cold in space.”
As an example of how hard sci-fi doesn’t always translate well into games, Howard revealed how the team initially “really got into fuel and how gravity drive works and I read articles on quantum physics and space curvature in front of you”. But when As Bethesda attempted to implement some of these more realistic systems, it became “very punishing for the player.”
“Your ship would run out of fuel and the game would just stop,” Howard explained, “You just want to go back to what you were doing, far you can go at once.” But we’re not running out of fuel.” This could perhaps be changed through a future update or mod, he added, “but that’s what we’re doing now.”
Elsewhere in the chat, Howard revealed a little more about Starfield’s customization and trait system, calling the game’s current traits “super fun.” Everyone, he explained, has “some kind of negative,” but these can all be removed for the duration of a playthrough by completing an in-game activity or quest.
Concluding the brief Q&A, Howard elaborated on Starfield’s dialogue system, reiterating that it sees the return of what he called “classic Bethesda-style dialogue” where players look at a character, see them react and from which to choose a number of choices.
“The scope of the game, the amount of content we’re creating is a little bit bigger than we’ve done before in terms of quests and things like that,” he added. “With the dialogue we have just exceeded 250,000 lines”. For comparison, Fallout 4 is said to have contained 111,000 lines of dialogue while Skyrim contained 60,000. “That’s a lot of dialogue,” Howard continued, “but we went through it and the impact is really there. And that includes my favorite language persuasion system. It feels like it’s part of the dialogue, but you’re spending points to convince her. It feels natural, not like I’ve entered another mode where I’m not engaging in regular dialogue.”
And that was all Howard had to say in this first part of Constellation Questions. Expect a lot more from Bethesda ahead of next year’s Xbox and PC launch of Starfield.
https://www.eurogamer.net/todd-howard-talks-starfields-hard-sci-fi-approach-in-new-developer-video Todd Howard discusses Starfield’s “hard sci-fi” approach in a new developer video