October 3, 2023

After finding out that Starfield completely omits any ground-based vehicles for your avatar to ride on, many players have wondered exactly why Bethesda made this design decision. Fortunately for those players, Bethesda executive producer and Starfield director Todd Howard recently addressed the matter in an interview with Bloomberg. You can find the interview posted further down this article, where you can skip to 3:00 to hear Howard’s response.

When Bloomberg Technology co-host Ed Ludlow asked about the absence of grounded vehicles, Howard said that although Bethesda considered the feature, he noted that it would alter the player experience. By having players traverse planets mostly on foot, Howard argues, the developers are better able to control when players can see certain points of interest.

Means of transportation aren’t entirely absent

Of course, as Howard notes, players can ride vehicles in the form of spaceships used for traveling between planets, although that obviously fulfills a different role compared to what ground vehicles could potentially provide. However, when it comes to exploring a planet’s surface, Howard emphasized that players do have access to an upgradable jetpack, which can accomplish more or less the same transportation-related goals that a vehicle can.

Additionally, Howard brought up the differing levels of gravity that Starfield’s planets have, which can all potentially spice up environmental traversal in their own ways. Although this feature may not have much to do with the subject of grounded vehicles on the surface (no pun intended), it does demonstrate that Starfield’s traversal involves more than just blandly running around from place to place.

There does exist a chance that Starfield will incorporate ground vehicles at some point in the future, whether it be through a simple update or a DLC expansion. But since this was very much an intended omission, don’t be surprised if the developers stick to their guns on it for the rest of the game’s lifespan.

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