Easily the most anticipated title on this list, Starfield is notable for two reasons: It’s gaming’s next big sci-fi RPG epic and its the next evolution in Bethesda’s open-world formula. Bethesda is no stranger to science fiction, having a number of Fallout games under its belt. But from everything we know about Starfield right now, it’s aiming for an unprecedented scale, featuring over 1,000 worlds for you to explore.
- “Hard science fiction” setting with 1,000 explorable planets
- A mix of “handcrafted content” and procedurally-generated environments
- More than 250,000 lines of dialogue in classic “Bethesda-style,” and a “persuasion system”
- Complex character creation system with various backgrounds and traits that let you tailor your aesthetics and stats
- Simplified survival mechanics
- The classic Bethesda mix of first-person combat, exploration, and roleplaying
It’s hard not to get excited about a game like this. While the commonly voiced concern that such a high number of planets may mean we’re in for some serious “quantity over quality” is a fair one, I’d argue that’s always been the case with Bethesda games: Unprecedented scale, unprecedented jank. Despite all of that, Bethesda games of this sort usually cohere to form a unified experience that’s hard to get anywhere else. The question for Starfield will be: Do enough aspects of this epic space sim work well enough to create an intense level of immersion for, oh I dunno, hundreds of hours? I mean, I still don’t feel like I saw everything in Fallout 3 and 4.