Starfield “isn’t Star Wars or Star Trek, it’s kind of its own thing”

Todd speaks.

Someone's belongings on a spaceship in Starfield

Starfield is currently the talk of the town following its big release date reveal at Xbox and Bethesda’s E3 showcase. The upcoming PC game’s trailer is an ambient affair that communicates the wanderlust of space travel, though it doesn’t tell us much about the gameplay. We see some in-game footage that shows off some visual prowess but little that gives a sense of how it’ll feel to play.

Bethesda has given a few interviews that touch on how Starfield plays without giving too much away as part of the space game’s press cycle. Speaking to the Washington Post, Bethesda executive Ashley Cheng describes it as “the Han Solo simulator” where you “get in a ship, explore the galaxy, do fun stuff”.

Todd Howard gives slightly more away, telling The Telegraph that Starfield is, in some ways, a return to the studios’ roots. “It’s also a bit more hardcore of a role-playing game than we’ve done,” he says. “It’s got some really great character systems – choosing your background, things like that. We’re going back to some things that we used to do in games long ago that we felt have really let players express the character they want to be. So I think when you see it being played, you would recognise it as something we made.”

Howard is also keen to stress that Starfield has its own distinct spot in the space sci-fi genre. “This isn’t Star Wars or Star Trek – it’s kind of its own thing – and I think as we show more, hopefully, it’ll carve out its own niche,” says Howard. “It’s still a game, but it does like to give you this sense of, ‘I buy the reality of it’, right?”

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Howard uses one of the game’s ships as an example. Putting Starfield 300 years into the future could give you license to design a “much sleeker” ship, though Starfield “has touchstones back to the current space programme”, which is why what you see in the trailer feels more familiar.

Starfield will also be a huge game, which is something it has to be if Bethesda wants people to spend as much time with it as they do Skyrim. As Howard explains, though, the developer could take plenty of notes from its own iconic RPG to make that happen.

“People are still playing Skyrim, and we have learned from that,” he says. “We spent more time building [Starfield] to be played for a long time – if you so chose that, you just wanted to keep playing it. It’s got some more hooks in it for that, that we added later to a game like Skyrim… while still making sure that somebody who just wants to play it and go through the main quests and ‘win’ or feel they’ve accomplished something large is doable.”

The Starfield release date is set for next year, so we still have time to wait. If you’re looking for more information on the upcoming space game, though, we rounded up everything for you.