You can’t fly Starfield ships between planets and space

Bethesda's Todd Howard said the decision not to let players fly their Starfield ships between planets and space was a practical one

Your Starfield ship won’t be handling any complex landing maneuvers, Bethesda’s Todd Howard said in a new interview with IGN’s Ryan McCaffrey. Rather than letting players fly their craft through the atmosphere and onto the surface of one of Starfield’s 1,000 planets, the space RPG prefers keeping space and planet life separate.

“People have asked, ‘Can you fly the ship straight down to the planet?’ No,” Howard said in the interview. “We decided early in the project that the on-surface is one reality, and then when you’re in space it’s another reality. You go through in your head all the things you want to do in a game like that and we try to say yes as much as possible.”

Howard said the feature doesn’t seem important compared to the amount of engineering involved to make it happen, and he’d rather the team spend that time and effort making your time on the surface and in space “awesome” separately and as good as they can be, though he didn’t mention what to expect from space flight or while on planets.


Elsewhere in the interview, Howard elaborated further on just how big Starfield is. The main quest, jumping religion and all, runs for approximately 30-40 hours and is 20% bigger than its past games, including Skyrim, with over 200,000 lines of dialogue. It also has the most handcrafted content of any Bethesda game, and the hub city of New Atlantis is the biggest city in the studio’s history.

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With exploration meant to be one of Starfield’s primary components, the lack of any actual space exploration seems to put more pressure on the planets themselves to deliver.

While the Xbox Bethesda showcase only showed a tiny sliver of what to expect from Starfield, most of it centered around big, gray rocks and left some players concerned that the vast emptiness of space might just be that – vast and empty.

However much there may be to do on Starfield’s 1,000 planets, the space RPG has plenty to do aside from exploration, including a robust base building system, extensive skill trees, and a collection of character-defining traits. And some bugs – already.