Bethesda hints at how big a tech leap Starfield will be over previous games

By Alex Calvin, Tuesday, 3 November 2020 13:41 GMT

Games firm Bethesda has made a colossal tech leap with its new sci-fi RPG Starfield.

That’s according to the company’s Todd Howard, who said in an interview at Develop:Brighton Digital with GamesIndustry’s James Batchelor that the Creation Engine that powers the game has been massively overhauled for this upcoming project. In fact, the developer has said that Starfield represents a bigger leap when it comes to things like rendering, animation and AI than the jump from Morrowind to Oblivion.

Bethesda is using procedural generation for both Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI, meaning the games’ maps will likely be larger than the company’s previous output. The former is also being worked on by four-to-five times as many developers as Skyrim and Fallout 4.

“The overhaul on our engine is probably the largest we’ve ever had, maybe even larger than Morrowind to Oblivion,” Howard said.

“There are things we do that we still like, the way we build our worlds, the way people can mod it — these are things I think are fundamentally good about our tech stack. But from rendering to animation to pathing to procedural generation… I don’t want to say everything, but it’s a significant overhaul. It’s taken us longer than we would have liked, but it’s going to power everything we’re doing with Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6. When people see the results, they’ll hopefully be as happy as we are with what’s on the screen and also how we can go about making our games.”

Howard also said that the game is completely single-player, but it is going to be a long time before it is released. The developer said that it wanted to show Starfield off when it is ready rather than relentlessly teasing the sci-fi RPG for a long period of time.

Following Bethesda’s $7.5bn acquisition by Microsoft, it’s perhaps unsurprising that both Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI will both be coming day one to the platform holder’s Xbox Game Pass subscription service.

Starfield was revealed at E3 2018 and is set to come out before The Elder Scrolls VI.

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