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Starfield team is over twice the size of Fallout 76's, says ex-Bethesda dev

There are reportedly over 500 people on the team.

In a recent interview with PCGamer, Nate Purkeypile gave many of us an insight into Bethesda’s upcoming RPG, Starfield. Nate has been a developer for 17 years, with 14 of those years being spent at Bethesda working on the likes of Fallout 3, Fallout 4, and Fallout 76.

Now, Nate is the founder of Just Purkey Games, spending time on smaller projects. While he, for rather obvious reasons, couldn’t share too much about Starfield, Nate did have some interesting things to say when it comes to working with Bethesda on Starfield.

When asked about just how big Starfield really is, it became clear that Starfield isn’t just a huge game, it has an even larger team behind it, too. “Starfield is a much bigger project, it’s like 500 people or something on the team, whereas I think [Fallout] 76 was maybe 200, tops,” said Nate.

The sheer size of the development team behind Starfield is part of the reason as to why Nate left Bethesda and founded Just Purkey Games. The developer also noted the amount of effort and detail that was necessary to build a new universe as expansive as Starfield is.

“There’s not always solved problems for how things should look, like what shape are the metal panels? How do they bolt things together? What colours do you use? What materials do they have? How do you make a difference between all these different areas? So, that’s much harder versus if you asked me like, hey, make another follow-up game,” explains Nate. “You’d be shocked at how many metal panels they did in concept.”

It shocked, but didn’t surprise, many of us when Todd Howard revealed at the Xbox Bethesda showcase this year that Starfield would have over 1000 planets for players to land on. While we welcome big games with expansive worlds to explore and lots of things to do, this announcement worried many players that Starfield could very well be the next Cyberpunk 2077; an overly ambitious project with promise, that ultimately doesn’t perform as it should.

Now, that’s just speculation, but the idea of exploring even upwards of 100 planets seems daunting, if you ask me. PCGamer did ask Nate as to how the team was creating all of these planets, to which he shared, “I can’t really go into the tech details of it. The map of 76 is like, almost two times the size of Skyrim or so, and that was a lot of work for people to do, but yeah, it doesn’t scale. Even if you wanted to hire outsourcing, you’d have to hire, like, a country. Realistically, it’s a fraction of that team actually on planets.”

Next up in the interview, it was time to talk The Elder Scrolls 6, the highly-anticipated follow-up that will see many of us go grey before it eventually comes out. Nate explains that Bethesda has to set expectations for fans, “I think letting people know that it’s going to be a while before that is definitely part of it.” There’s no news there that fans of The Elder Scrolls are going to be waiting quite a while longer to receive a new instalment for the RPG series.

That was it for Nate Purkeypile’s interview with PCGamer, and it’s certainly interesting to know that Starfield has a larger team than ever before. If anything, this settles my concerns regarding 1000 planets, so here’s to hoping that Starfield delivers!

For more on Starfield, here are 14 things we know about the Xbox exclusive Bethesda RPG so far, and how Starfield’s score will affect your gameplay experience.

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