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All of Starfield’s planets are explorable, at your own risk

Bethesda's Pete Hines has doubled down on Starfield's planet exploration, confirming players will be able to roam across whole planets.

A Starfield explorer looking out over a planet.

Starfield, Bethesda Game Studios’ hugely anticipated RPG game boasts over 1,000 planets, spread across 100 star systems. And, as reiterated by Bethesda’s Head of Publishing Pete Hines, you’ll be able to roam across the surface of every single one of the Starfield planets – that’s assuming the new world that you’ve stumbled across has a solid surface, anyway. Trying to land on a gas giant could have hazardous consequences for your health.

Starfield director Todd Howard previously confirmed you’d be able to explore planets. And, replying to an enquiry from a would-be player, Hines doubled down on this sentiment. “Walk on, brave explorer”, he responded.

Yes, walk, because one snag about Starfield’s planetary exploration is that there won’t be any ground vehicles. You’ll spot the odd Starfield mech or six lying around but you won’t be able to hop in and stomp around the landscape, as in No Man’s Sky.

On top of that, speaking on the Kinda Funny Xcast, Todd Howard confirmed that only around 10% of planets will have signs of life. So actually exploring a planet could be a real test of stamina, not unlike the infamous Desert Bus, just heading off into the featureless wilderness.

At what point do you realise there’s nothing out there and either turn around and reload? Or do you just keep going, too heavily committed to your course?

Procedural generation has played a part in creating Starfield’s galaxy, and I’m reminded of Bethesda’s earlier game, The Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall. There were thousands upon thousands of cities, towns and dungeons, most procedurally generated. They just weren’t particularly interesting.

In Starfield’s case, it’ll be true to life, because Star Wars, Star Trek and their ilk have spoilt us a little. If you were able to hyperspace out of our solar system, chances are you’d find an awful lot of barren planets, the Trappist 1 system being a case in point. But I and, I suspect, an awful lot of other players, will welcome the freedom to explore this new frontier.

With the game nearly here, maybe you’re wondering how long to call in sick.. er, set aside for the game? Here’s how long it’ll take you to beat Starfield. And if you’re eagerly anticipating the appearance of the Starfield Adoring Fan, here’s how and where to find him.

Still looking for more? While a good Starfield wiki can be a handy source of information, our new Starfield Database goes further, offering you daily news, searchable databanks, and even interactive tools.