Starfield’s Space Flight and Combat Gameplay is Influenced by FTL and MechWarrior

Creative director Todd Howard reveals some of the the games Bethesda Game Studios has looked to while crafting Starfield's space-faring gameplay.

Posted By | On 16th, Jun. 2022

starfield

Traveling through space and exploring its boundless wonders is obviously going to be a huge focus in Bethesda Game Studios’ upcoming sci-fi open world RPG Starfield, and following its recent gameplay demonstration at the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase, plenty more details have emerged on that specific aspect of the game.

In a recent interview with IGN, creative director Todd Howard talked about space flight and combat gameplay in Starfield, and explained that though the development team’s primary goal has been to make it feel unique, it does take some inspiration from other games out there.

When it comes to flight mechanics, for instance, Starfield borrows a little bit from FTL, in that it will task players with figuring out how to distribute powers across different systems of the ship while flying it, which is something that will require consistent involvement from the player.

“Your ship has various power systems,” Howard said. “[There’s a] little bit of FTL there in terms of putting how much power into three different weapon systems, then your engines, and shields, and the grav drive is what lets you jump, and sort of get out of some situations that you have to put power to.”

Meanwhile, in terms of space combat gameplay, Howard says Starfield will take some cues from the slower pacing of MechWarrior’s combat, rather than twitchy dogfighting movement and mechanics, while there will also be some other mechanics that haven’t yet been revealed..

“One of the games I love that we sort of look at for pace is MechWarrior, believe it or not,” he said. “That’s probably a little bit slower, but in terms of systems and power and being able to line things up – it’s a little bit faster than that but you know what I mean as opposed to a twitchy dogfighter.

“We also have some other systems that we’ll show later that you can add to your ship that adds some more interesting gameplay.”

He then went on to explain that Starfield will also offer players plenty of different activities to tackle (including being able to steal ships) when out and about in space, as you’d expect from a 30-40 hour game that supposedly has the most handcrafted content in any Bethesda game to date.

“It’s not just dogfighting, like, the ship stuff includes – you can see it in the video – you can dock with other ships, you can disable them, you can dock, you can board it,” he said. “There’s actually some quests that involve that. You can steal the ship, there’s dialogue in space, there’s starstations you can visit, there’s smuggling. All the things that we would want. And we’ll be showing some more of that later, but it’s a good chunk of gameplay that we think is really fun when it comes to playing this kind of sci-fi game.”

Recently, Howard also said that Starfield won’t allow seamless space-to-planet traversal, though according to him, that’s not something that’s important in the game. Read more on that through here.

Starfield is scheduled for launch in the first half of 2023, for Xbox Series X/S and PC.


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