Every Creature in Starfield Was Handcrafted - Bethesda Devs

starfield armored crustacean fauna
Credit: Bethesda


starfield armored crustacean fauna
Credit: Bethesda

The procedural generation in Starfield was one of the game's most repeated criticisms, with many players complaining that POIs in the game feel recycled or repetitive.

However, not all parts of Starfield are randomly generated by the engine. Despite their number, the creatures of Starfield have been lovingly designed and handcrafted, from their looks, behavior, and even locations in the game.

According to Lead Tech Artist Felipe Nogueira, character design started with creating 15 archetypes - quadrupeds, octopods, hexapods, and flying creatures, among others. Nogueira explained that they derived these creature types from observing Earth’s fauna during pre-production.

flying hammerhead shark starfield
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Credit: Bethesda
Is that a flying hammerhead shark?

Afterward, Senior System Designer Sam Combs said they started designing “rigs” for animation. These rigs covered the archetypes’ skeletal systems and points of articulation and formed the core of each creature’s design.

Designers then created each monster by building handcrafted skins on top of these rigs. They also created individual variations of each animal to suit the biomes they would be placed in the game.

Knowing Starfield’s colossal scope, it’s surprising that the game’s artists did not resort to simply mixing and matching creature attributes in the design process. This was, however, considered during the early stages of development.

Lead Character Artist Ben Carnow explained that they scrapped the idea early because they couldn’t achieve the “fidelity of creatures [they] wanted.” Although he acknowledged that this randomized approach could lead to exciting results, that approach is only practical for “stylized” games.

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