Starfield by Bethesda -- PC and Xbox exclusive -- 09/06/23

All good, I am not. Just the negativity journalism around Starfield is so grating.

Looking forward to the patch, hope it comes soon.

People (well, some people) always go on about how they want bigger cities, more dense cities, more sprawling cities. While I guess there are some folks who actually do make it a point to visit every single inch of traversable terrain in a game, most folks go where there is interesting stuff. “Interesting” can be visual, sure, but usually there is a gameplay hook attached–loot, experience, encounters, narrative, something.

And, newsflash, creating a humongous city where everything is interesting and every place you go seems like a worthwhile destination is…impossible, really. Real cities have plenty of boring-ass parts that no one really wants to visit. Even Night City, a fabulous accomplishment and a great arena for all sorts of mayhem, has both boring parts with little going on and a lot of stuff you simply cannot access. It’s inevitable, because the work involved in creating a massive no-holds-barred go-anywhere-open-any-door city is beyond any studio’s capability.

And it would be a colossal waste, too. The number of people who would go through all those crappy office buildings, apartments, warehouses, etc. is vastly smaller than the number who would go where the important stuff was, and ignore the rest. And you can’t make everything important.

So while I do think some game cities could perhaps be fleshed out a bit more, I’m not sure size is the answer. A smaller but densely packed and narrative-and-systems rich city is better IMO than a big empty one full of sterile boxes.

I do agree with the point of the article, which is that the new maps really emphasize just how tiny they are. It’s just this little district in a much bigger empty map around it. Philosophically this is how Bethesda does cities, but sometimes I think they would have been better off making New Atlantis look like a huge sprawl in all directions as you land and from high places, and then have some little districts scattered that you reached by the tram. From an illusion standpoint, that may be the better design approach.

Patch is LIVE. Can’t wait to get the hell home and play around with some settings before settling in to a NG++.

I agree. But I think the main problem with Starfield is that you have ONE city surrounded by a whole lot of nothing, on separate planets. In the Elder Scrolls games, you have a city surrounded by caves, ruins, camps, and well, other cities.

Not to mention, wildlife and the occasional other citizen. Aside from coming across someone’s ship, I haven’t come across any other explorers or groups outside of the cities or POIs just walking around. It doesn’t make any sense that each planet has only one city (correct me if I’m wrong, I haven’t put a whole lot of time into this game so maybe I missed it).

Kinda looks like she’s waiting on the Cloud City landing platform.

If any deals get altered, pray they don’t get altered further.

With those specs, I’d agree, but there are huge cities that don’t cheat the space. Enter BABBDI

Interesting. I’m not sure there are any games at the scope, scale, and detail of a Bethesda or Ubisoft open-world that do that though, are there? Especially Bethesda, where their whole thing is filling up spaces with real-world (ish) items galore.

I sort of think so too, maybe (?), but BGS’s philosophy has largely been if you can see it, you can go there. And we know if they did what you suggested, some people would start complaining about that, how they couldn’t go to that place that they see, how the game really isn’t open world. People will always complain about something.

So I booted into a NG+ last night and I gotta admit, for a game where NG+ is sort of the main point of the whole thing, it’s really done sloppily. I’ll spoiler tag in case a newbie shows up.

There really should have been some more care to customize the dialog choices from the first playthrough to the NG+ playthrough. I mean, I show up at the Lodge and I have options to ask people about the visions I saw, which I didn’t see. Or they keep thanking me for bringing them the artifact despite the fact that Sarah just said that Vasco brought the artifact after I “got lost” on the way back.

And my parents just drop off all three notes to the Lodge at once and give me all their presents at home if I just keep talking to them. Like before I’ve even done anything. I assume those presents were level-gated in the initial playthrough and now since I’m Level 50+, they just all trigger?

It’s just sloppy, and I guess I either didn’t notice it the first time around, or I didn’t much care.

I’m half-tempted to start over from scratch, but man, I’m pretty levelled up in all the shit I want to be.

Finally got around to messing with actually growing stuff in this game and I’m kinda disappointed. Basically, you can only build greenhouses on planets that a) support plant life and b) have plant life you have full scanned that can be cultivated (much of it cannot). I find this odd given that the greenhouses are pretty robust buildings with airlock entrances. Seems like you should be able to build them anywhere and cultivate any plant you’ve full scanned that is eligible. Nope. At any rate, despite my main base in my current game being on a really nice planet with a breathable atmosphere, it turns out none of the plants there can be cultivated so no greenhouse can be built there. I had to create new outpost on another planet just to play around with how it works in the game.

Yeah, that is really weird, should be able to grow plants anywhere.

I used to be able to grow plants anywhere, but then I took a garden trowel to the knee.