Starfield dev suggests he wishes they focussed on less planets

Starfield dev suggests he wishes they focussed on less planets
Images via Bethesda

Written by 

Megan Cooke


28th Oct 2023 20:24

Part of Starfield’s draw was the expansive nature of the game and the ‘1000 planets to explore’ line was one of the major selling points for a lot of people.

In hindsight, this may not be the case after all, with several players feeling like the procedurally generated nature of the game left a lot to be desired.

A former Starfield developer has said in an interview with MinnMax that he thinks less may be more after all when it comes to space exploration.

A Starfield dev said he wished they kept the game more focussed

As Starfield players have gone about exploring the further out planets in the game, it has become increasingly clear that the game has given itself some pretty big boots to fill.

As the world feels empty in some places, and locations seem to be repeated, many players have already abandoned the endless space exploration side of the game.

It turns out that players aren’t the only people who wish that the game has been a little bit more focussed in scope.

Starfield developer Bruce Nesmith told MinnMax earlier this week that he felt Starfield would "be a lot better if we restricted ourselves to about two dozen solar systems and focused on them."

He said that when he raised this point in development, a point was made that it is not very different to create 100 solar systems if one is already made,

"Todd pretty much pulled the number 100 for the number of solar systems out of thin air,” Nesmith said. “But the more we went on, the more it was like, 'OK, so all core activity takes place in these two dozen in the settled systems and the rest of it is open space, but people love our big games. They love that open area to explore, so let's go ahead and let 'em have it’.

"How do we make exploration meaningful? Once again, you have to succeed on one planet. Once you've got that formula, you have a formula for all the planets.”

The developer stated that the decision to focus on elements of gameplay like the ability for players to build their own ships, meant that difficult decisions and compromises needed to be made.

"I think some of the exploration stuff didn't come through as well as it could've because they decided to make other choices," he said. "And never misunderstand this. In every game studio on the face of this planet, they know the choices they're making. They know the things that are not going to be in there. They know what the players are going to moan about. But you have got to make the hard choice."

It is likely that Starfield would be a completely different game if it focussed solely on the two dozen solar systems that Nesmith pitched.

Hopefully Bethesda will learn from the experience and take away both the positive and negative feedback to apply it to their future games, namely the upcoming Elder Scrolls 6 title. 

Megan Cooke
About the author
Megan Cooke
Megan is GGRecon's Evening & Weekend News Writer. She has an undergraduate degree in Creative Writing and is working towards finishing her masters in Journalism. When she isn’t writing about games she can be found reading romance novels or playing cosy games like Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing, APICO, and Disney Dreamlight Valley.
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