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One key thing separates Star Wars Outlaws from Starfield and No Man’s Sky

There's a clear difference in the approach to level design between Starfield, No Man's Sky, and Star Wars Outlaws.

It seems like no matter how massive video game worlds get, developers continue to find ways to make them even larger. But the ways in which that is achieved vary from one game to another.

We're no longer in the age of 'See that mountain? You can go there!' We're now in the age of 'See that planet? You can fly there!' Two of the most anticipated upcoming games are this year's Starfield from Bethesda, and next year's Star Wars Outlaws from The Division developer Massive.

But while Starfield is taking a decidedly No Man's Sky approach to how it creates its planets, Star Wars Outlaws is moving in the opposite direction. In an interview with Edge magazine (via Eurogamer), creative director Julian Gerighty confirmed that planets in Outlaws are handcrafted.

"We haven't procedurally generated an entire planet," explained Gerighty, adding that you can expect every planet to be roughly "[equivalent to] two of the zones in Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, for example."

The space should be more "manageable", according to Gerighty, who did not reveal how many planets Outlaws is going to include.

That approach, of course, stands in stark contrast to Starfield's, which has over a thousand planets. The majority of those planets are going to be intentionally empty. Bethesda is relying on procedural generation to not only create some of those planets, but also populate them with varying enemies, encounters, flora, fauna and sometimes quests.

Starfield is going to have its own set of bespoke planets, of course, authored by Bethesda, which will be the same for every player. No Man's Sky popularised the idea of using algorithms to create entire planets, based on parameters set by the developer, which can make each planet unique but also has the side effect of making everything look like different shades of itself.

Starfield arrives September 6 on PC, and Xbox Series X/S.

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