A lot more is now known about the upcoming Starfield thanks to the recent Starfield Direct event. Coupled with the Xbox Showcase, the Starfield Direct gave fans huge amounts of insight into the title’s exploration, combat, and much more.

A space exploration RPG at its core, it is no wonder that Starfield‘s planets took center stage during the presentation. The project has long been lauded for the sheer scale of its involved planets, many of which are set to be procedurally generated. While an interesting prospect, some may be worried as to the potential hiccups of this procedural generation, yet the Starfield Direct showed that Bethesda is using this tech in a very shrewd manner.


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The Range of Starfield’s Planets is Vast

starfield planet

Starfield blows Bethesda’s catalog of open-world games out of the water as it brings the studio’s RPG formula to much wider pastures. Starfield will feature over 1,000 explorable planets across 100 systems, with this being a huge point of pride for the scope of the experience.

The Direct argued that Starfield‘s planets will foster a huge variety of exploration, factions, storylines, and NPCs. Naturally, some planets will be of greater importance than others, being massive central hubs of the game’s core narrative and experiences. A fair criticism of this planetary range is how some planets may inevitably feel barren and insignificant due to the sheer number of them.

This partly ties into the procedural generation of the game, in which many planets will be randomly generated for each playthrough. These kinds of planets will have random but sensible atmospheres, terrain, and resources, but will be still populated with pre-designed structures and events. With there being many potential pitfalls to using procedural generation in what is billed to be such an immersive title, Bethesda’s ethos behind its use may be the golden standard for future games of a comparable scale.

How Starfield Chooses to Use Procedural Generation


The Starfield Direct gave fans an impression of when Starfield chooses to wield procedurally generated planets. It appears that the technology will primarily be used for many outlier planets that the player may visit through extended exploration of the game’s systems.

This procedural generation will not be used on the title’s most important locations, giving players a uniform experience of Starfield‘s most memorable planets. For example, one of the first planets that Starfield showcased was Jemison, one of the integral locations of the Alpha Centauri system. As one of the first systems the player will come into contact with, it is clear to see that many of its involved planets will hold deep narrative importance.

Jemison is home to the main headquarters of New Atlantis, the capital city of the United Colonies faction. This planet will not be procedurally generated, avoiding any unintended structural issues or immersion-breaking bugs that may arise from such generation. Procedurally generated planets will instead be integral to side content, being a great way to personalize a person’s playthrough with unique locations.

Games either tend to go all-in or nothing at all when it comes to procedural generation, and Starfield is boldly aiming to create an equal blend of procedural and scripted content. The co-existence of hand-crafted planets and their procedurally generated counterparts will ensure that the entire playerbase will get the same core narrative feeling of the game, while allowing for more personal and unpredictable moments as well. If this blend of environmental storytelling is to be as positive as it appears, then Starfield may set the tone for procedural generation in gaming moving forward.

Starfield releases on September 6 for PC and Xbox Series X/S.

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