Starfield, the latest and largest open-world RPG from Bethesda, is out now. The game contains all manner of spaceships, even letting you create your own custom vessel to explore the stars. But when you land on a planet, you don’t get any kind of ground-based vehicle to help you travel faster on the surface. Why? Well, Bethesda’s game director Todd Howard says it’s all about making planet exploration an “experience.”
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Following a five-day paid early access period, Starfield is finally out for everyone and quickly became one of the biggest games of the year. According to Xbox boss Phil Spencer, the game is already Microsoft’s “most played, next-gen exclusive.” So a lot of people are hopping into Starfield’s digital galaxy to explore its hundreds of quests and planets. However, when they go exploring on the surface of these worlds they’ll have to do so on foot, as the game contains no speedy jet cars or hover bikes to aid exploration. Players online keep asking about it, with some wishing they were included in the massive space adventure.
In an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday, Todd Howard was asked about the lack of ground vehicles and said that while Bethesda did at one point consider including them in Starfield, they ultimately decided it would “change the gameplay” too much.
“Once you land in your ship, [and now] you’re on foot, it lets us really, for the players, make it an experience where we know how fast they’re seeing things,” said Howard.
Todd Howard reminds players they do have jetpacks, too
The famous game director behind Starfield and past Bethesda hits also pointed out that players do have access to a jetpack, which—once unlocked—they can use to move around planets at a quicker pace.
“In one sense, you do have a vehicle, you obviously have your spaceship so you can go around space, but then on the surface, you do have a jetpack which you can upgrade. Which is super fun—new experience for us. And obviously, planets have different levels of gravity, which makes that unique for many planets,” explained Howard.
While I can understand some player’s frustration over the lack of ground vehicles in Starfield, I’ve not been too bothered by it in my time with the game.
So much of Bethesda’s latest RPG feels disconnected thanks to all the fast traveling you do to get around. When I’m on a planet, exploring its caves and outposts, I feel like it’s one of the few times when the game feels expansive and reminds me of wandering the wasteland in Fallout 3. Being able to speedily zip across the planets and their various levels of gravity in a jet car might be cool, and modders might add that one day, but for now, I like the slower experience of exploration while on foot. Though I might change my tune in a few months and after 200 or so hours of playing Starfield. So, perhaps Bethesda can add some sick hoverboards or something eventually in any future DLC.