Starfield Director: “We’ve Hit a Real Sweet Spot” With Character Depth

Todd Howard discusses the trick of starting choices and the amount of depth “if you’re playing for 20 hours, 50 hours, 100 hours, or 500 hours.”

Bethesda Game Studios’ Todd Howard has revealed several interesting tidbits about Starfield, the studio’s upcoming first-person RPG, in an interview with Kinda Funny Games. He confirmed that of the 1000-plus planets in the game, only 10 percent have life on them and that there will be a “whole bunch” of different biomes. Sadly, there are no vehicles or mounts for planetary exploration aside from the Boost Pack.

He also touched on the character creation system. While players can customize their characters and select traits for positives and negatives, there are also Backgrounds for unique starting skills and role-playing possibilities. As Howard notes, “We’ve done several games over the decades that have various character systems, and I think we’ve learned a lot in terms of ‘how does it feel when you start a game? What are those first choices like before you understand what the actual rules of the game are?’ That’s always a trick to get right.

“And then ‘how much depth does it have if you’re playing for 20 hours, or 50 hours, or 100 hours, or 500 hours?’ I think we’ve hit a real sweet spot with Starfield of giving you that flavor right out of the gate, where you pick some starting skills, with your background. But that also has flavor – people want to role-play. They don’t want to see it as a list of numbers.”

He gives the example of the Chef, which was discussed during the recent Starfield Direct. “I’m a chef, okay. What is it – What can a chef do? How does that factor into the dialogue or other choices in the game? The traits – it’s a little bit of an original throwback to Fallout. These are optional. They come with positives and negatives.” We also caught a glimpse of that with the Adoring Fan from The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion making a cameo. There’s also Parents, which is a “really, really great one that we all love.”

All these choices encourage playing the game at the end of the day. “So it lets you, if you’re going to start over even, play the game differently.”

Starfield is out on September 6th for Xbox Series X/S and PC, with Premium Edition owners gaining early access on September 1st.