Starfield Optimization Helped by Exclusivity On Xbox, More Details on Gameplay and Difficulty
The console optimization for Bethesda’s upcoming massive role-playing game, Starfield, was aided by the game being exclusive to Xbox.
During the latest episode of the Lex Fridman podcast, director and executive producer at Bethesda Game Studios, Todd Howard, explained that Starfield was able to receive more focused console-specific optimization on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S as a result of being console exclusive.
Howard stated that not putting Starfield on PS5 has helped with a more focused approach to development. He added that Bethesda has always primarily focused on Xbox when it came to consoles. The studio went into development focused on Xbox, therefore the exclusivity isn’t an abnormal situation for the development team. He reminded that it was Xbox that brought Bethesda back to consoles with the release of Elder Scrolls: Morrowind.
It was also mentioned by Howard that top Xbox engineers are currently helping with the development of Starfield on both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. According to him, delaying Starfield was a tough for him and the development team to make, but ultimately the right thing to do. The studio wanted to say they could get it done, but there was too much risk involved to the development team, the game, the fans and Xbox. He added that he would prefer to play the game on Xbox over PC since he’s in front of a PC all day at work.
Howard also revealed some new details regarding Starfield’s gameplay and difficulty. The game world is generated in tiles, much like other Bethesda games. These tiles were made to look like realistic landscapes, so they could be put together, and then wrapped around as a planet. Howard said that the studio is capable of creating a lot more than 1000 planets, but decided to set a limit due to the detail of naming them and having a distinct feeling about each one. He also mentioned numerical levels being assigned to different star systems, which indicate their difficulty.
According to Howard, the studio aims to make space travel dangerous, and this aspect has been dialed back and forth during development. Environmental hazards exist on many of the planets players will explore, such as gasses, toxicity, high or low temperature. The game also features mechs, though they mostly serve some utility. Meanwhile, ships come and go from starports, and they may contact you during your travels.