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Starfield’s Todd Howard sees everything as an RPG now

Starfield director and Bethesda's Todd Howard has talked about RPG game expectations in the triple-A space, and how the team's new game aims to fit into that.

Starfield RPGs Todd Howard: a young woman with shoulder length pink hair

Starfield director and Bethesda’s Todd Howard has talked about how so many triple-A games these days incorporate light RPG elements into their design, and what this meant for how the team approached its newest game.

This talk of RPG games and Starfield comes from a recent Game Maker’s Notebook interview, where Insomniac Games founder Ted Price talked to Howard all about Bethesda’s newest game. We even learned about how and why the Starfield planets got nerfed in the same interview.

During the interview, Price asks Howard if player expectations of the RPG genre have been changing, to which Howard says “Yeah, I think dramatically.”

As spotted by GamesRadar, Howard and co seem to be acutely aware that the RPG-ification of genres and IPs has been on the rise in triple-A games, and what this means for how the team at Bethesda approached Starfield’s design.

“I think the genre itself has blended in everything,” Howard continues. “I can’t look at a game that doesn’t have XP now, and leveling up, pick any game you want, like that sort of bled in. So what makes an official RPG?”

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“I think if you’re an old-school RPG fan, you’ll have your own list of rules for that. I love the genre because it can be anything, right? It can have action in it, you can have other game types breakout.

“We built a space shooter as well,” Howard adds of Starfield. “Is that an RPG? Yes and no. How do we bring those elements that we think are important to an RPG. How can I develop it over time and improve it to make it even more of my own?”

I find Howard’s discussion here really insightful, as you’ll find RPG elements across countless triple-A games these days, even if those games themselves aren’t really RPGs at heart. Instead of falling into this trap Bethesda wants to make an RPG that pushes the genre as a whole, or at least that’s the team’s vision.

You can enhance your experience in the Settled Systems already with the best Starfield mods, and we’ve also put together some essential guides that break down exactly how Starfield outposts and Starfield shipbuilding work, and how to get the most from each system.

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.