September 24, 2023

Long before Starfield’s launch, it was revealed that the game wouldn’t have typical land vehicles. While one of the game’s main focal points is the endless customisation of its space ships – the lack of dune buggies and space SUVs does point itself out as weird.

Well, in an interview with Bloomberg, Bethesda’s director Todd Howard answered why the game doesn’t have typical land vehicles. “It’s something we considered. We’re gonna do outer-space, we’re gonna do planets. Once you do vehicles, it does change the game-play,” said Howard. “When you’re on foot it lets us really, for the players, make it an experience where we know how fast they’re seeing things. In one sense, you do have a vehicle – obviously you have your space ship.” He continues “but then on the surface, you do have a jetpack … and obviously planets have different levels of gravity which make that unique.”

Todd Howard’s words were slightly ambiguous as he proceeded that with a line resembling either: vehicles were “something we considered” or “something we’d consider.” The YouTube captions don’t help either, stating that “it is something we consider,” however that just doesn’t make sense. We’re going with our gut, and erring on the side of caution, but it’s most likely that Howard said that vehicles were “something we considered,” which isn’t surprising at all.

Ultimately, the news makes nothing but sense. Introducing land vehicles into the game would have added a whole new paradigm – both from a game design perspective, and for the game’s physics. There would have needed to be a complete overhaul of the map to accommodate for motor vehicles, alongside level design to incorporate car shops and vendors. The scale of the game would have changed drastically, with vehicles reducing travelling and exploring time and scope exponentially. Honestly – it just wouldn’t have turned out the same, and fans should probably be glad they don’t have to contend with the likely bugs that the feature would have hailed.

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