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Is 1,000 planets in Starfield too much?

Is 1,000 planets in Starfield too much?

Bethesda’s reveal that Starfield features over 1,000 planets has proven to be quite divisive.

Pharaoh721

During the extended gameplay reveal for Starfield at the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase, Bethesda Game Studios head Todd Howard confirmed that Starfield’s galaxy will feature over 100 systems and 1,000 planets that players can land on and explore. While some were blown away by this drop of information, others are very concerned. Let’s unpack this information and determine if 1,000 planets is just too much.

Let’s get one thing out in the open - 95% of Starfield’s planets will likely be incredibly empty or void of any real content. With 1,000 explorable planets, I would be blown away if more than 15 of them had an abundance of characters, creatures, and quests to dig into. I assume that most of them will be pretty bare besides maybe some random monsters and maybe an NPC or two.

That said, I think that’s perfectly fine. The gameplay reveal showed off Jemison, a planet that’s home to New Atlantis, the city where Constellation is based. There’s a lot of characters to interact with, and I assume a lot of quests to take and stories to engage with. If Starfield can at least give me a solid handful of really fleshed out planets that I can really sink my teeth into, I have no problem with there being hundreds of nothing burger worlds.

In fact, I kind of like the idea of landing on random ass planets, ones where all I can do is mine resources, maybe fight a weird monster, and then move on. If there are diverse environments and a variety of resources to be gathered, I’ll get a lot of joy out of just planet-hopping and seeing what I can find on each celestial body.

If Starfield’s Outpost-building feature is available on any and every planet, that’s bonus points. It would be super cool to stumble upon some uninhabited dwarf planet, where I could set up shop and build a massive Outpost, turning it into my own little HQ in a random pocket of the galaxy. I could drop in from time to time and see what my crew is up to and how resource-gathering is coming along. That would be dope!

I genuinely do not think that 1,000 planets in Starfield is too much. That said, I do think fans should strongly temper their expectations. You’re definitely not about to get 1,000 planets full of characters and stories to discover, but I also think that’s okay. If Bethesda can deliver a handful of really detailed worlds, it’ll make exploring the rest of the galaxy a fun treat. I look forward to seeing how it all comes together, and hopefully this Cortex post doesn’t make me look like a fool a year from now!

From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 13, 2022 8:20 AM

    Is 1,000 planets in Starfield too much?

    Read more: Is 1,000 planets in Starfield too much?

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      June 13, 2022 8:50 AM

      Yah I'd honestly rather have something like ~50-100 worlds that are more uniquely hand crafted. Then having a ton of procedural planets with a few hand made buildings, structures or cities. Sure the game needs some barren rocks as that's realistic. But I kinda get the feeling it's gonna have a lot of dead space.

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        June 13, 2022 8:55 AM

        Yeah, I definitely get the quality > quantity argument. That said, if Bethesda DOES deliver like 30 detailed worlds, I don't mind if there's 900+ procedural planets for me to screw around on.

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        June 13, 2022 9:28 AM

        Not even that many. What about like 10 fully realized worlds, that'd be huge anyway right? I dunno.

        I do like exploration though.

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          June 13, 2022 9:38 AM

          yah when I said 50-100 kinda meant some kind of human touch... like even planets that are 90% procedural generated with a small settlement on it or something else.

          I'd only expect a handful to really be completely designed by a human. Even then I bet a lot of the planet would still be procedural to fill in other landscape, flora and other natural landscape details.

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          June 13, 2022 9:57 AM

          I'm sure there will be a handful of worlds that have a good bit of hand crafted content, most people won't have to bother with the other places but it'll be fun for people like myself who enjoy NMS because it's fun to check out planets to harvest resources from.

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            June 13, 2022 11:19 AM

            Yeah, this. A handful (dozen?) with lots of handcrafted content, a lot more with a few handcrafted points of interest, then a ton that are mostly or entirely procedural.

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              June 13, 2022 11:34 AM

              In fact, we actually saw some indication of this in the preview.

              https://youtu.be/zmb2FJGvnAw?t=805

              You can see (some?) points of interest from orbit and choose to go there. There's also a scanning ability that presumably will reveal other POIs.

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            June 13, 2022 11:05 PM

            It's unfortunate the planets didn't look... Better, and the resource gathering was so basic. Wish it was actually more like nms in that regard

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        June 13, 2022 11:29 AM

        Absolutely. Quality over quantity. Farming bandit/pirate camps ad infinitum is something I can do in every Ubisoft game or looter shooter ala fallout 76 or Destiny. I don't need Bethesda's mainline RPGs going down that road.

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      June 13, 2022 8:50 AM

      yes it is

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        June 13, 2022 10:37 AM

        yep. seems to be rampant scope creep and bloat

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      June 13, 2022 8:51 AM

      No one tell Sean Murray.

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        June 13, 2022 9:38 AM

        In NMS' favor, planets aren't really there for detailed exploration as one would do with a Bethesda game. Planets with their procedural generation are basically finding rare resources, with some planets making it a challenge to collect them. Exploration is more just how efficient you are at finding things, but the game is clear its not trying to give you a honed experience ideal for exploration.

        Starfield's approach may be trying to capture that but us going to mix curated content with stuff likely procedurally generated. Given the scale of. Bethesda game this could be good to generate the glue of landscape between parts of curated content but may not be best at the scale used for starfiekd.

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          June 13, 2022 9:42 AM

          Given their use of procedural quests and content in past games, particularly Fallout 4, I hope you're right but I'll let someone else take the plunge first.

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      June 13, 2022 8:55 AM

      man, i was just hoping for a bigger budget outerworlds, like 3-4 highly detailed planets..1000 sounds like it'll feel procedural

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        June 13, 2022 9:04 AM

        I imagine there will be several highly detailed ones and then maybe a bunch of procedural ones for resource farming.

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      June 13, 2022 9:23 AM

      If they are hand crafted of course not. If they are procedurally generated then yes way too much.

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      June 13, 2022 9:31 AM

      I agree, I think it's fine since the vast majority will likely be pretty barren rocks or gas or something. As long as there's like 50 handcrafted interesting ones then I think that's great.

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        June 13, 2022 10:04 AM

        Even the highly handcrafted ones will be probably pretty desolate outside of some hot spots, I'm sure.

        It's a weird thing for anything with advanced space faring civilizations, that they'll just have small pockets and colonies scattered about while the rest of the worlds will probably be "empty" for the most part. Even the planet with the big capital city they showed off will likely pretty barren outside of that? I don't know. It looked like mostly oceans, so I guess that might justify some of the lack of established inhabitants and settlements elsewhere.

        I know they can't exactly fill out entire worlds with multiple cities and gigantic populations and all, but it's always an odd situation, just have to accept it. Mass Effect did a somewhat smart approach there in having the main hub be a space station. It seemed like a massive, sprawling high density city in space, even though it was mostly smoke and mirrors and the explorable sections were pretty minimal. New Atlantis in this game will probably be way bigger than that, and also larger some of the more populated areas in ES & Fallout, I'm guessing.

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          June 13, 2022 10:11 AM

          With good storytelling, you could make that make sense - learning lessons from Earth, striving for minimal impact, etc. Of course the existing settlements would have to be designed with that in mind, too - high density, but lots of communal parks and facilities. Tech that seemed to work with nature and that attempted to be less invasive.

          I wish I could say I expected that level of care.

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      June 13, 2022 9:46 AM

      Even if the planets are hand crafted it’s obvious there’s not going to be much to do on them. The manpower required or tech to have meaningful content planet-sized it’s not available yet or economically viable.

      I still think it’s cool you can land anywhere even if most turns out to be barren.

      Only Star Citizen has dabbled with city generation and stuff like that but who knows when that’s coming out and even so it’s just another backdrop, instead of mountains oh it’s a city but it’s probably not lived in or with much stuff to do on it. I might be wrong though I haven’t not played it.

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      June 13, 2022 9:58 AM

      Yes, actually. Yes it is. Most of that is going to be dead space with nothing interesting in it.

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        June 13, 2022 9:59 AM

        Although, there is the argument to be made here that while that is true, the amount of space is actually required to make traversal in your ship feel meaningful. If you can just zip from point A to point B then what's the point of the spaceship?

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          June 13, 2022 10:09 AM

          There’s space combat

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            June 13, 2022 11:34 AM

            Sure, but that doesn't scope the planets. I think there's probably an argument to be made that having the planets themselves *feel* large (even if it's mostly empty) has its own intrinsic value.

            I think of things like boats and flying mounts in WoW before they just started adding portals/flying everywhere. That was a huge blow to the perceived scope feel and immersion of the world.

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              June 13, 2022 12:17 PM

              Yeah, take a look at The Outer Worlds. The planets didn't have much more space than was needed for the various missions and felt disappointingly small and a bit cramped as a result.

              The concept of negative space as applied to game world design.

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          June 13, 2022 10:39 PM

          The minimum traversal time should be long enough to listen to Planet Caravan

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      June 13, 2022 9:58 AM

      Its likely most planets will have one or two outposts and minable resources scattered through the planet and a few hub planets with cities and the like.

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      June 13, 2022 10:36 AM

      I'm pretty sure several will be inhospitable to touch down on, and several more will be procedurally generated and devoid of original content

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      June 13, 2022 11:16 AM

      I think 1000 is a good amount for a space exploration game. I'd actually like more.

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        June 13, 2022 11:17 AM

        There will be a DLC for that!

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          June 13, 2022 11:26 AM

          I've bought Skyrim four times, I'd buy this DLC lol

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            June 13, 2022 11:36 AM

            I am still finding new stuff in Fo4 and I'm probably on my 20th restart.

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      June 13, 2022 11:25 AM

      mrwolf710 precisely summed up my concerns in this post:

      http://www.shacknews.com/chatty?id=41342884#item_41342884

      The radiant quests from Skyrim and Fallout 4 were among the worst aspects of those games and more procedural generated filler is the last thing I want from a Bethesda game.

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      June 13, 2022 11:29 AM

      I’m gonna fill them all with cheese wheels.

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      June 13, 2022 11:34 AM

      Map sizes are kind of getting redonkulous. This business of comparing games directly against scale map sizes definitely misses the point, but is also probably part of the reason they felt the need to go “OMG 1000 planets you guyz”. It’s hard not to believe there is some NMS influence going on. I personally never got far with NMS, and the fact that it is all procedurally generated doesn’t by itself appeal to me.

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        June 13, 2022 11:42 AM

        Totally agree. If I have a massive map I want it to be filled with hand generated content worth exploring for- thinking of Red Dead Redemption 2 or Elden Ring.

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      June 13, 2022 11:40 AM

      I am picture Mass Effect 1 Mako planets. And I'm ok if we don't have those.

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      June 13, 2022 11:48 AM

      Preston Garvey goes to space. A lunar settlement needs our help.

      Also, I wonder if it’s a coincidence that Preston Garvey has the same first letters as procedurally generated (though Bethesda called it “radiant”)

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        June 13, 2022 12:11 PM

        I'd wager the settlements will be considerably more self-sufficient in that respect, or at least you'll have a greater ability to make them so. Settlement defense missions were just too widely mocked in FO4.

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      June 13, 2022 12:32 PM

      It's never too much and it be like saying NMS should only had 10 planets. This is me every time I think of Starfield -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-BkrwO_Dck + I am MEGA hyped for the game it is not even funny.

      No one knows if this is true "Let’s get one thing out in the open - 95% of Starfield’s planets will likely be incredibly empty or void of any real content" , to me they would never do that and I will bet money this will not be the case.

      Another thing I can tell you from my own game development and some of my fellow indie, AA and AAA developers work that there is massive amounts of stuff you can do with procedural generated content, AI writing, and hand crafted chunks of : towns, pools of NPCs, pools enemy groups, etc etc that you basically label as random category chunks and string them together in your procedural generated content. You would be surprised as to what you can create these days. Using modern procedural generated techniques with hand crafted content as the assets from your procedural generation in a hybrid form works miracles. With modern procedural techniques with hand crafted content all of a sudden you can load up those planets at a decent pace and they will all appear to be at a very high quality that you have no idea it is procedural generated or a hybrid procedural generated at all.

      Also I really don't understand some peoples "witch hunt" attitude toward Starfield and I feel that is simply because MS now owns it and it's an exclusive. I would bet money if Starfield was a PlayStation Exclusive or on both platforms those that are hating on it and are trying to find flaws would be going absolutely crazy right now. Feels bad man :( .

      To be clear I am not saying your hating on it btw, I just have seen some crazy post regarding Starfield from yesterday and today it is just seems weird. It's like post NMS all over again yet the game has not even released and the video shown was amazing in my opinion... I personally just don't get it???????

      Will see but I will bet my rep that there is no way "95% of Starfield’s planets will likely be incredibly empty or void of any real content" .

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        June 13, 2022 12:41 PM

        I think it’s ok to point out things that are broken, games can be patched etc but with some games lately it’s becoming a tradition. The NMS dude blatantly lied before launch, they regained good will by supporting the game like crazy but he promised things that were simply not there.

        Then there are other shooters that are broken for months and not particularly indie studios.

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          June 13, 2022 1:04 PM

          I 100% get what your saying regarding NMS and other games but in this case they actually showed the real video game unlike NMS which was a 100% a fake video and the game was not like that nor did they have what they promised on release.

          I can see how 1000 planets might sound insane but like I said we have ways to populate that really well now.

          It be one thing if they showed a trailer like NMS and I would also had gone "here we go again. NMS 2.0" but they didn't and it was the real game shown. On top of that it's not like they have never made a open world game before right, not to mention MS backing. How well the planets will be populated is unknown but to assume they will be bare is sort of unfair or boarder line crazy at this point.

          Put it this way if the planets are bare what does the company think is going to happen? We all know they won't get away with it. Everyone knows what happened to NMS I doubt they be that stupid and release like 950 empty planets and only have 50 of them that have content.

          Lastly no one is saying to not point out things that are broken but like I said no one knows if the plants will suck till the game is released or there is early play throughs on the NET etc. I mean... the game is not out yet :) so how can we already be mad?

          In short to already compare Starfield to NMS is just completely unjust in my opinion and I base that on Starfield having a real gameplay video and a resume of countless high profile open world games under their belts, a massive work force and MS backing them VS a pre render trailer, a small indie shop and a company that had never made a open world game before. I think this is fair, no?

          Will see hey, it just seems like the pitch forks are going "full retard" on Starfield over this one gameplay video and presentation while other games are getting the pass. Anyways I get why some fear another NMS but I think in this case it is safe to say that won't happen from what I mentioned above.

          Fingers crossed!

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      June 13, 2022 3:35 PM

      Even 10 would be too many.

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      June 13, 2022 5:44 PM

      Just give me one planet with swords shields magic and dragons!

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      June 13, 2022 6:19 PM

      I honestly am so hyped for this game, I can't wait!!! :)

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      June 13, 2022 6:21 PM

      Not enough maybe?

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      June 13, 2022 7:55 PM

      You guys keep focusing on the wrong thing with Starfield. This could the first sci-fi Bethesda game that doesn't have a story based around finding a relative.

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      June 13, 2022 9:44 PM

      It is if you're expecting every planet to have the same calibre of exploration as a traditional Bethesda game.

      I'm sure there will be pure filler planets that exist for the sole purpose of gathering resources, and others that are populated and filled with things to do. Which IMO would be a far more realistic representation of this kind of thing.

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      June 13, 2022 10:57 PM

      Imagine all the content in Fallout 4 spread across 1,000 planets.

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