Xbox's Starfield: 'It's like Skyrim in space' says Bethesda's Todd Howard

Starfield Trailer Caps 2021 June
Starfield Trailer Caps 2021 June (Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios)

After leaking the trailer for Starfield early, Washington Post put out an interview with Bethesda's Todd Howard, offering up more details on what players can expect from their mysterious new game.

"It's like Skyrim in space," executive producer Howard said, which should immediately give you an idea of what you should expect. You will join an organization called Constellation, who are a faction of space explorers. Players will set up their character's background, with Skyrim-like customization as you might expect from a Bethesda title.

Bethesda describes Starfield as a "Han Solo"-like experience. "Get in a ship, explore the galaxy, do fun stuff." Says Bethesda's Ashley Cheng, who also says that the Starfield universe could grow to be as big as Star Wars in terms of breadth and lore. The interview notes how Fallout is getting a TV series with Amazon, in reference to the possibility of Starfield hitting streaming services as a live action product.

Bethesda admitted that they had some trouble nailing down the game's art style, but eventually settled on the term "NASA punk" for the game's identity, created by Istvan Pely. It sounds as though Bethesda is taking some Star Wars-like attention to detail to its designs, with space ships and environments that feel "lived in."

"[Pely] knows what all the buttons do on the ships. Even though it's science fiction, your mind can sort of draw the line all the way back [to NASA]. It all should feel lived in, even for a ship." They describe the style as being realistic sci-fi. Rather than pristine shiny Star Trek-esque ships, it sounds as though the ships will feel realistically lived in. The Post mentioned an MRE called "Chunks," which is some kind of futuristic processed space food.

Indeed, Bethesda reveals that Starfield is set 300 years into the future, which isn't really too far compared to some other franchises out there. The tech seems familiar to some degree, albeit with a space era twist. Bethesda is building out an entire internal library dedicated to expanding and recording Starfield lore, detailing various factions, robots, tech schematics, and much more stuff. This sounds as though it will be as rich as the likes of Fallout and Elder Scrolls for lore breadth and consistency, which is something you'd expect of Bethesda's premier studio. Starfield will also leverage a new-gen only version of Creation, dubbed Creation 2, which should help Bethesda sidestep some of the quirks of its past games.

Starfield Trailer Caps 2021 June (Image credit: Bethesda)

Starfield Trailer Caps 2021 June (Image credit: Bethesda)

Starfield Trailer Caps 2021 June (Image credit: Bethesda)

Starfield Trailer Caps 2021 June (Image credit: Bethesda Softworks LLC)

Source: Bethesda

Todd Howard says that Starfield will dive into deep topics that often accompany the space opera genre, exploring spirituality and humanity's role in a vast unfeeling cosmos. And we're here for it. Starfield is targeting 11.11.22, exactly 11 years after Skyrim launched. And as we previously wrote, it is indeed exclusive to Xbox and Windows, hitting Xbox Game Pass on day one.

"This is going to sound cliche, but I mean it. When you look up in the sky, there is this drive to know, what is out there? Are we alone? What are the origins of space and time and all of those things? What role does religion play in some of that as well? So, we do get into some big questions. I think a game like this is a good place to do that. There are movies and books that have done it as well, but we haven't seen a game do it in this way. And we'll see how successful we'll be."

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!