Did Starfield Need Realism?


starfield purple planet character standing on rock creatures in the air

Starfield is a massive game with thousands of planets. However, many players will notice that most of these planets are empty and barren. According to Bethesda, this design choice is done to enhance realism. It's explained as an artistic choice that does not detract from the main experience of the hand-crafted content. However, many players feel that this realism in Starfield is the reason it was doomed from the start.

Check out Mugthief's video here, where he goes in-depth on realism in Starfield.

The argument here is a fairly sound one that cuts into the heart of the design philosophy behind Starfield. 1000 planets you can visit sounds amazing, and having most of them unpopulated because of realism seems like it makes sense. However, none of it is fun. The point of a video game is to allow players to have just enough realism to enjoy something without destroying all immersion.

Unfortunately, Starfield seems to have gone in a totally opposite direction, where it has given preference to realism over the gaming experience itself. Furthermore, many players have expressed the desire for the game to be more compact and play out similarly to something like The Outer Worlds but have the scope of a single galaxy with fully fleshed-out planets where Bethesda could play to their strengths.

Bethesda's forte has always been to create fun and unique locations to explore where you run into wacky side quests and embark on the strangest journeys. Starfield has some impressive side quests and faction quests, but they're too spread apart for a cohesive experience. The video in question also suggests that Bethesda should've stuck to its roots where it produces a world that is more fantasy than it is realistic.

Perhaps this is best left up to the upcoming DLC or at the hands of modders.

For more articles like this, take a look at our Starfield Community page.