A video titled, “Into the Starfield: The Endless Pursuit,” was posted on the Bethesda Softworks YouTube channel earlier today. Executive producer Todd Howard, art director Matt Carofano and studio director Angela Browder discussed their experience developing Starfield thus far. This article will focus on the parts of the video that tell the most about Starfield.
Matt Carofano: We’re saying, ‘Ok, we just did that one. That’s over. How do we make it better in every way?’ It’s got a more realistic, science-based backing to it. Whereas Skyrim is sort of an epic fantasy, this is a more grounded game and a grounded setting about exploration. So I think that gives us a different take on how we make everything. So that’s sort of the thing you latch onto when we’re making new areas, making environments, making characters.
The key word here is “realistic.” One of the most difficult challenges of producing sci-fi and fantasy content is walking the line between realism and imagination. In game development, if you lean too hard on realism then the magic of the universe will be lost, and certain mechanics will end up feeling like chores. Vice versa, if you lean too hard on imagination then the universe will lose its relatability and grounding in real human experience and emotion.
This video touches on Starfield’s realism multiple times. Hopefully Bethesda will not lean too hard on that end of the line.
Angela Browder: I also think that because it’s based in a more realistic atmosphere, you have a lot of people on our team who are super into certain things, like robotics, or engineering. And they can use this lifetime of knowledge they have gathered and then use it in their work.
This quote expands upon the notion detailed previous paragraph. Having a team made up of different people with a variety of interests and expertise is a great way to safety walk the line between realism and imagination. A common saying in fiction is, “write what you know,” which in broader terms means, make your story relatable and make the emotion real by grounding it in yourself and developing the content from there outward.
Stories written that way tend to be extremely relatable because they are real human experiences that are simply developed to be entertaining. It sounds like the Bethesda team is using that method to create Starfield, which is wise.
Todd Howard: It starts feeling so real to us. You’re saying we do all that stuff, but then concepting like everything they eat or the toys the children play with. Or, what are their bedtime stories? What is their art? What is their history? What is their entertainment? It is a universe, not just a game.
These are important questions that pertain to world building. This video shows some illustrations of food, toys, and art. Todd Howard has been building terrific worlds for a long time and it appears that he has some great ideas for Starfield. As he notes in the above quote, Bethesda games are not just games, they are much more. The player being part of the universe is integral to the experience.
Fans will be able to delve into the endless pursuit within Starfield on 11/11/22.