Bethesda’s upcoming game, Starfield, promises to be an exploration-filled experience set in a vast galaxy. The game will feature large planetary spaces for players to wander, but it won’t be without its risks. Hazards in the environments can afflict players with specific conditions, adding an element of danger to the exploration. However, these hazards were originally intended to be even more complex.
In a recent interview with Insomniac’s Ted Price for the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Game Maker’s Notebook podcast, Starfield’s director, Todd Howard, discussed the development process and the decision to scale back certain elements of the game. One area that underwent significant changes was the concept of hazardous environments and afflictions.
Initially, Bethesda planned for players to navigate through different hazardous zones by using specialized suits that would protect them from various dangers such as extreme temperatures or radiation on specific worlds. Each suit would impose different afflictions and damage types on the player, requiring them to adapt and respond accordingly to survive.
However, as development progressed, the studio decided to simplify the mechanics. According to Howard, they “nerfed the hell out of” afflictions and environmental damage, making them less punishing and more manageable for players. The intention was to create more flavor and atmosphere rather than a complex gameplay system that players would have to constantly manage.
While afflictions were significantly toned down, Howard hinted that environmental damage might undergo further changes in the future. He suggested that the affliction system could be something that Bethesda addresses as the game evolves over time.
It’s worth noting that Bethesda has already indicated that Starfield will continue to evolve after its initial release. The studio plans to add missing features and has not ruled out potential gameplay additions like a hardcore mode to increase the difficulty. Additionally, advanced mod tools are expected to be introduced in 2024, allowing players to customize their Starfield experience.
In conclusion, while Starfield’s hazardous environments and afflictions were initially planned to be more complex and challenging, Bethesda decided to scale them back to create a more accessible and enjoyable experience. However, the studio remains open to addressing and potentially expanding these mechanics in the future as the game evolves. Fans can look forward to exploring the vast galaxy of Starfield when it releases.