Things We Want to See From Starfield in 2024

starfield 2024

starfield 2024

Starfield, love it or hate it, the game was Bethesda's best launch ever. Outdoing every other game they have released on fewer platforms, Starfield made its mark on the gaming landscape in a big way. Complaints from PlayStation owners about the game not being released on Sony's platform soon made way for criticism over the emptiness of the Settled Systems.

Were these complaints and criticisms warranted? Perhaps, but long-time Bethesda fans like the team here at Starfield Portal are well aware of the 'Bethesda Window' and how Starfield got the attention of many fans unfamiliar with this term and Bethesda's typical plan. So, without ado, let us look back at Starfield in 2023 before we begin to look forward, and we need to discuss the 'Bethesda Window.'

The Bethesda Window

This term, which some of you may not have heard, is spoken around Bethesda fan sites and social media, but what does it mean? Well, to put it simply - Bethesda tends to release their games and then fix them over the following years based on fan feedback and the modding community. While this seems strange, it is one tried and true method for crafting a masterpiece, albeit over time.

Yes, the criticisms of Starfield at launch stand true; there is much to be refined and fine-tuned. While most games from other publishers won't change much over time besides the odd patch and DLC, Bethesda titles are almost like a live service with massive changes made and additions brought in over the long post-launch period.

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To highlight this, we must look at Skyrim, Bethesda's arguable magnum opus; that title is now over 12 years old and received quite a significant update in 2023. The Skyrim you play today may have the same foundation as the version you first picked up at launch in 2011, but the tweaks under the hood and continual updates have turned the fantasy RPG into something else. Time and care have taken the dragon-slaying quest from an ambitious RPG to an all-time classic that is still more than playable over a decade later.

So if we look at another more recent title in Bethesda's lineup - Fallout 4, a game the fans weren't completely sold on at launch in 2015, has now become a revered title in the series, often seeing players take back their initial impressions or at the least admitting that Fallout 4 is a good game now. Why has this happened? Well, my good friends, it's all part of the 'Bethesda Window'. The game reviewed at launch no longer exists, and the new version of Fallout 4 with added DLC and patches is now quite superb.

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Sure, some fans say "Modders will fix it" across the internet message boards and social media, but in reality, even the unmodded versions of Bethesda titles like Skyrim and Fallout 4 stand among the all-time-greats of videogames thanks to ongoing love and care (and maybe the odd bit of "inspiration" from modders) of the team at Bethesda continually tweaking the titles. To bring it back to Starfield, Todd Howard revealed that the post-launch team for Starfield comprises 250 staff members, a huge amount of people still working on Starfield after launch. So, while most may say Starfield is done, we can safely say that the sci-fi artifact-collecting escapade hasn't even begun yet.

Starfield Retrospective

So we now understand the 'Bethesda Window' and the fact that the games from Todd and his team get much more attention post-launch than probably any other non-MMO in existence; let's now look back at Starfield since launch in September 2023.

Only a few short months have passed since we finally got to see the "game 25 years in the making," and fan opinion, to be honest, has dropped significantly. Sure, there are the odd die-hards like ourselves who know the game will improve, but do those complaints have any merit? The short answer would be - yes.

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And we say yes while still loving the game and racking up hundreds of hours between us over multiple playthroughs, but let us explain. Starfield is massively ambitious, perhaps to its detriment; 120 star systems with 1000 planets to explore is a praise-worthy task that Bethesda managed to pull off regardless of your opinion on the content (we will get to that shortly), all the while featuring a classic Bethesda 'save the world/universe' campaign story.

Bethesda's problem isn't the content - it is all there; in fact, there are more lines of dialogue in Starfield than in Skyrim and Fallout 4 combined! The problem is the fact that the galaxy is just too big. Each POI or hand-crafted city is spread throughout the galaxy to encourage exploration, making it feel thinner on the ground than the more compact map of Skyrim, for example, where each town or village was only a stone's throw away. Here, you will see yourself travel from one end of the galaxy to the other to visit one location and then return to the main city from which the mission you were undertaking came.

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If the team had managed to reign in the scope and scale to a single-star system with 'only' 20 planets, Starfield would have felt like the biggest game we had ever played! Imagine instead of cities and POIs loosely scattered across individual planets, all carefully placed around a select few within a single system. The result would have been mindblowing, each planet feeling packed with cool things to see and full of life instead of feeling empty and often not worth visiting.

This brings me to another point often made - the exploration is pointless. Yes, this again holds merit and is a point that Todd and the team at Bethesda have defended online by saying, "When the astronauts went to the moon, they weren't bored," which is a valid point - but videogames are meant to be fun from start to finish, and finding a desolate planet with little to no life or POIs does knock the wind out of your sails. This is not to say there isn't fun to be found in exploring planets on the galaxy's far reaches - but having something worthwhile once you get there would be a game changer. The call of the unknown is only appealing for so long when there is nothing to find once you get there.

Moving on, the last common complaint is procedural generation. Is there merit to this one? Well, kind of, but it's not as big a deal as people like to make out. Procedural generation usually kicks in for Starfield to generate the POIs you sometimes find when exploring a new planet, like the labs, caves, and outposts that pop up on the scanner. Each of these will differ from what your buddies may discover on the planet, making each adventure unique, which sounds cool in principle. In execution, though, there is not enough variation on these structures and landmarks; each one feels like the last with identical enemy placements and features, becoming tedious after the first few encounters.

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Why is Starfield's procedural generation not that big a deal, then? Well, Bethesda (and many other studios) have used this technique for years; Skyrim, Fallout 4, and even Daggerfall all used a form of procedurally generated content during production. In Starfield, it feels way more prominent due to how far apart the actual hand-crafted areas are in the game, bringing it back to my point that a single galaxy would have been far superior and felt fuller than the spread-out galaxy we received.

Starfield 2024

Well, now that we have looked at the 'Bethesda Window' and the consensus from the fans, let's look at what we want to see from Starfield in 2024.

Creation Kit

Bethesda has already introduced its new version of the Creation Club with Skyrim's latest update in the form of Creations. Here is where officially approved mods will be purchased individually (and likely later in the GOTY/Special/Anniversary editions) to enhance your game. While these are nice, and beginner modders may prefer to use them, the modding community has started pledging not to sell their mods to the community.

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See, the modding community believes that mods should always remain free. Well, most modders do; creators like PureDark are here purely for the profits and will be on the frontlines to receive their slice of the pie. However you choose to get your mods, Creation Kit will be the start of things to come. Sure, we have seen mods on Nexus, like cosmetics and general improvements to the game, but the meat and potatoes have yet to come. Creation Kit will change all that as it places the official game tools into the hands of the community to craft their dream experiences in the galaxy. While some modders have already given up on Starfield, we expect to see the first significant fan DLCs popping up next year and into 2025.

We want to see entire planets populated; Skyrim and Fallout worlds are almost sure to arrive, as are other sci-fi pop culture-themed areas. The sky is the limit when it comes to mods for the game. Hopefully, we see the Creation Kit's release as early in 2024 as possible so we can begin to try out all the modding communities creations.

Shattered Space

Shattered Space is the first DLC for Starfield to be announced. What this story addition will bring to the game is unknown at this point, but there are some things we would like Bethesda to bring to the game with its release.

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  • New races - Besides humans (and Starborn), we have yet to encounter other humanoid alien species. This missed opportunity can enrich the galaxy and be used during character creation.
  • Character Backgrounds - We have a good selection of backgrounds in vanilla Starfield; modders have already added more (like the Astroneer background). However, having a brand new selection to pair with potential new alien races would make second playthroughs even more fun.
  • Populated worlds - While filling the entire galaxy with life is probably unlikely, Shattered space could give us a brand new, previously undiscovered planet full of handcrafted areas (and humanoid aliens, too)
  • Shipbuilder improvements - Fans love Shipbuilder in Starfield; making it more accessible to the rest of us, not on PC, would be great. See, you can mod the game on PC to unlock all ship parts at any vendor, while on Xbox, you need to unlock them via skills, and even then, you can't easily build the ship of your dreams without traveling from planet to planet. Let us see the entire catalog at any vendor, and the fan creations will explode.
  • Space combat - Now, space combat is fine at the moment, but tweaking the 'space V.A.T.S' system to be a bit more intuitive could make it incredible. Also, we want more of it; the epic battle at the end of the Crimson Fleet storyline is an example of what we want more of. Space is too calm at the moment.
  • AI Routines - Part of the reason Skyrim felt so lived in was that AI characters had routines; they would wake up, go to work, and head to the pub before heading home for dinner with their spouse and then to bed. Shops would have open and closing times. Starfield's immersion is broken, especially in places like New Atlantis, because there are no AI routines or closing times for stores, so add routines. Please Bethesda!
  • Actual Threats - Even on higher difficulties, the Terrormorphs never truly feel as threatening as the Deathclaws of Fallout or the Dragons of Skyrim; we need a dangerous adversary (sorry, Hunter/Emissary) that makes use of the superb combat system in Starfield.
  • Power puzzles - The temples need to be redesigned; each power locked away behind a float to the shiny dot anti-gravity room was so anti-climactic. These must all be individually crafted into Zelda-like rooms where you must 'earn' each power by passing a trial using it first.
  • Choices that matter - In the main game, it felt like every 'important decision' you made had no effect after the quest wrapped up. This was blatantly obvious when deciding the fate of Kryx's Legacy; siding with the UC or Crimson Fleet had no real impact on the game after the fact. Give us choices to make that influence and shape the galaxy in the future so it makes our choices feel worthwhile.
  • Slow Travel - Yes, I will still use fast travel, but when I am roleplaying, I want the option to at least land and take off from new planets—also the ability to travel around systems in your ship rather than jumping from planet to planet. Modders have made this possible; now Bethesda needs to use the Faster Than Light mod as an example. Yes, doing it every time will get boring, but give me the option; I want to do it sometimes.
  • Land Vehicles - While we may see mechs being used like power armors in Fallout in a future DLC, I want a rover or some type of all-terrain vehicle to use while exploring an empty world. Having some sort of lander that could allow quick exploration would increase the fun factor and negate some pointless explorations by making getting around quicker - they are even spoken of in the NASA museum, so make it happen, please!
  • Planet List - By this, I mean the ability to pull up a scrollable list of planet names to select and travel to without using the galaxy map. Sure, keep it to planets discovered already, but having this would be such a time saver and allow players to keep track of worlds visited already and info on what is on there.
  • Outpost Improvement - Building an outpost is almost pointless in Starfield; there are few reasons to amass fortunes via farming, and the base building serves no real purpose. Make me want to build a base, give it purpose, and just a small one - Let me easily see where my outpost is! Too often, I can't remember where my base is in Starfield after hundreds of hours of playtime.
  • Maps - I still cannot find anything in New Atlantis; I wander in circles in Akila City; give us maps! I know this one has been promised, but it can't come soon enough; maps for each major city with areas named and highlighted, combined with the ability to place a waypoint, are badly needed.
  • Database - While I highly recommend our own superb database here at Starfield Portal, having some sort of database or encyclopedia in-game is a glaring omission. Why visit all these worlds and scan all the wildlife and plants for the information to not be available at your fingertips? Get some sort of addition into the game with entries for each of the discoverable objects, planets, creatures, people, and anything else that can be found.

Those are just some things we would like to see from Bethesda in the Shattered Space DLC and throughout 2024. Starfield is just in its infancy, a vanilla foundation for what is yet to come. We cannot wait to see all the creative mods, official DLC, and patches arrive.

There are few games available with the potential that Starfield has and fewer who are so welcoming and accepting of mods; a little more patience and a little more faith from the community is something we should see over 2024. We are excited to see what the future brings for our spacefarers.

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