Starfield is “more grounded” than Skyrim, but still has that magic “step out” moment

A piece of Starfield concept art shows an astronaut, a young girl, and a black cat in a habitation module.

Starfield, the upcoming space game from Bethesda Game Studios, is a “more grounded” experience than Skyrim, but game director Todd Howard says you’ll still have that signature experience of stepping out into a marvellous new world – in fact, Howard hints, there are two such moments in Starfield.

In the first of a new series of videos called Into the Starfield, the RPG’s lead developers chat about its lineage and the experience they’ve brought to bear working on it. It features a few new glimpses of Starfield, both in-game footage and concept art. The developers discuss some of the goals the studio has for Starfield, as well as how its new setting provides opportunities for the team to use their varied talents and interests in fields like robotics and engineering.

“It’s got a more realistic, science-based backing to it,” art director Matt Carofano says. “Whereas Skyrim is sort of an epic fantasy, this is a more grounded game, and a grounded setting about exploration. I think that gives us a different take on how we make everything.”

Here’s the full video, which also touches on topics like modding in Bethesda’s games, and how long the developers have wanted to make a science-fiction game.

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Starfield’s setting is in a science-fiction near future, which could hardly be more different from the Elder Scroll’s high fantasy Tamriel. But Howard says it’ll still be recognisable as a Bethesda game.

“The mechanics of the world are entirely different, but there are similarities,” he explains. “And those are things we like. We like playing first-person, we like having all the coffee cups. We like being able to touch everything.”

As footage plays of the vault door opening in Fallout 3, Howard hints at how the studio has upped the stakes in Starfield.

“We always have that ‘step out’ moment into the world, so to say,” he says. “Us being able to do that and have it feel new every generation, every game, is something that is really special about what we do. I like to say that Starfield has two step-out moments – it’s cryptic.”

The Starfield release date is set for November 2022.

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