Todd Howard says you can’t run out of gas in Starfield

Howard responds to whether or not Starfield is “hard science fiction”.


There are two types of science fiction: soft science fiction, which resembles Star Wars and Star Trek, which does not try to explain the fantastic things that people can do in their universe, and then there is the hard science fiction. This category is more concerned with making an accurate representation of the future. Think cyberpunk stories like Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell, or classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey.


Bethesda CEO Todd Howard said in a recent interview that Starfield would be more like “hard science fiction, where you can draw that line from ‘okay, this is how man explores space. “and you can even look at our ships and say ‘okay, that has some visual identity to that.’

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“But that’s a trick question because it’s a video game. A hard sci-fi video game would be ‘you die in space cold’.”

As an example, Howard pointed out Starfield’s space travel and how your ship’s gravity drive would go through fuel. Initial implementations of gravity drive seemed “punitive” to the player because “your ship would run out of fuel and the game would simply stop”. However, the latest version of Starfield changes direction to essentially prevent the player from running out of gas and getting stuck in space. Basically, the system will only let players travel as far as their gas tanks will allow.

“We recently changed it to where your ship’s fuel and gravity propulsion limit how far you can travel at once, but it’s not running out of fuel,” Howard explained. “Maybe there will be an update or a mod that will allow that, but that’s what we’re doing now.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Howard talked about Starfield’s list of “super fun” traits, but cautioned that every trait will have a downside. However, these negatives can be cleared later if the player takes on a certain quest or performs a certain action.

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