'Let’s make sure it’s awesome': Todd Howard's vision for Starfield's dual reality
Todd Howard, the creative force behind Starfield, recently revealed that the space exploration game will not include seamless flying from space to its 1,000 explorable planets, focusing on 'awesome' gameplay on surface and in space instead.
“Not that important to the player,” were the words used by Todd Howard when discussing the decision to omit seamless space-to-surface travel in Starfield, his latest ambitious project. A year after his candid interview with IGN, let's take a dive into the philosophy that shaped one of the most anticipated games of recent times: Starfield.
Dual Realities, One Universe
Howard’s words ring out in the void of Starfield's 1,000 explorable planets: “The on-surface is one reality, and then when you’re in space it’s another reality.” These weren't just abstract concepts, but the core of the game's design philosophy. The team made the deliberate decision early in development to split the gameplay into two distinct realities. The goal was clear: to make each of these realities as captivating as possible for the player.
After Starfield's reveal, observers were quick to draw parallels to the space exploration game, No Man’s Sky, which banked heavily on seamless planet landings. The absence of this feature in Starfield stirred up discussions, with Howard holding firm that crafting that segue would not deliver the desired payoff for the player experience.
1,000 Worlds of Adventure
Despite Howard's apparent dismissal of a seamless in-between transition, the ambition for Starfield was sky-high. Over 1,000 planets were crafted for players to explore and engage with, offering a breadth of experiences like never before. “Let’s make sure it’s awesome when you’re on the surface and awesome when you’re in space, and those realities look and play as good as they can be,” Howard declared.
One might argue that the lack of seamless transition from space to surface is a missed opportunity. However, Howard and his team were determined to prioritize the quality of the two realities - space and surface. The question of whether this dual reality approach has paid off remains the talk of the gaming community, with Starfield’s continued success keeping us on the edge of our seats.
While Howard's decision may have sparked debate, one thing is certain: Starfield’s creation has been an ambitious endeavor from the start, and its impressive offering of over 1,000 planets to explore makes it a space odyssey of epic proportions.
(Several parts of the text in this article, including the title, were generated with the help of an AI tool.)