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Starfield Is About ‘Grounded Exploration’ in a More Realistic Universe

A new Starfield developer diary has revealed new concept art from the upcoming Bethesda game, as well as discussed its focus on grounded, realistic exploration.

In the video diary, Game Director Todd Howard explained that the staff at Bethesda Games Studios all had exploration in mind when it came to what Starfield would be about. "Coming to Starfield, everybody's starting over and saying 'What would you want to do? What does going to space mean to you?'" he said. "And everybody comes back with the same one: I want to see what's out there."

But compared to Skyrim's epic fantasy setting and Fallout's retropunk apocalypse, Starfield will offer a different approach to how we will explore. "It's got a more realistic, science-based backing to it," said Art Director Matt Carofano. "This is a more grounded game and a grounded setting about exploration. So I think that gives us a different take on how we make everything."

Howard notes that, despite the more grounded, scientific approach, the way the world works will still be similar to that seen in The Elder Scrolls games. "The mechanics of the world are entirely different, but there are similarities," he said. "I think that those are the things we like. We like playing first person. We like having all the coffee cups, we like being able to touch everything. Those moments make the whole thing believable. Being able to watch the sun set and night-time come, and just sit there and watch the world go by seems like it's not gameplay, but it is vital to how you feel through the rest of it."

Howard also points out that "It is a universe, not just a game," and how that affects the design process. The video includes a lot of concept art of astronaut food and other 'mundane' things that help make the world of Starfield more believable and authentic. He also discusses that culture is important, and so things like toys, bedtime stories, art, and entertainment are all woven into the world.

He also teases that there will be more than one moment akin to emerging from Fallout's vault or Oblivion's starting dungeon. "We always have that 'step out' moment into the world," he said. "I like to say that Stafield has two 'step out' moments. It's cryptic."

For more from Starfield, see how the game will react to your pronouns, and fully support mods. You can also check out our interview with Todd Howard, where he revealed Bethesda had to make Starfield now or never.

Matt Purslow is IGN's UK News and Entertainment Writer.

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