One of Starfield’s developers responded to criticism of the game having “boring” planets by essentially saying “nuh-uh.”
Starfield‘s procedural planet generation has been the subject of much debate since the game’s release. The game automatically generates biomes and terrain as the player approaches each planet but while some planets are meticulously handcrafted with points of interest and unique quests, most are functionally identical or have little or no meaningful content.
Bethesda defended this approach, saying that it is consistent with its vision of space exploration. A recent developer comment also doubles down on this perspective.
Is Starfield fun?
Fan and media reviews have criticized Starfield’s slow start and typically empty planets. In response to the latter point, a Bethesda developer on Steam said that some of the planets in Starfield are empty by design and that they’re essentially supposed to be, even if fans label them “boring.”
“When the astronauts went to the moon, there was nothing there…they certainly weren’t bored,” the developer said.
This isn’t surprising, as the developer has previously boasted that the game has a “very realistic take” on space, and even coined the term “NASA-punk” to express the game’s grounded sci-fi atmosphere. The moon analogy is specifically taken from Bethesda’s managing director Ashley Cheng from interviews during the buildup to the game’s release.
“We could have made a game where there are four cities and four planets, but that would not have the same feeling of being this explorer…some planets really are empty so players get some periods of loneliness,” Howard said.
That said, many players still see this as a problem and are waiting for mods to bring more life and content to the game’s planets.
Fans will be the ones to make Starfield less “boring”
Mod support is confirmed to be coming to Starfield in 2024.
Starfield mod support exists but is much more limited in scope than what fans have seen in past Bethesda titles. This partly comes down to the Creation Engine 2. Starfield is the first Bethesda game to use this new engine, and the same engine is being used to develop the upcoming Elder Scrolls 6. There are several differences between this engine and the previous Creation Engine used for Skyrim and Fallout 4. Starfield also doesn’t yet have the Creation Club, which offers “official” mods for Bethesda games.
Allowing modders to create various landmarks or missions could let PC players make planets less boring. For now, players just have to accept that most planets just aren’t worth visiting.