Starfield leaks show planetary exploration isn't as seamless as Bethesda said

Starfield footage has revealed that planet exploration may not be as wide-scale as Bethesda told gamers, as there appears there are invisible walls.

2 minutes & 4 seconds read time

Bethesda's announcement of Starfield really shook up the gaming industry as many excited gamers were told that they would be able to explore thousands of planets. However, that doesn't necessarily seem to be the case.

Leading up to the release of Starfield next week, there has been plenty of footage from early releases uploaded to various social media platforms. This footage has given us clues about the validity of Bethesda's statements about the title's exploration capabilities. Bethesda's head of publishing, Pete Hines, was asked on August 22 if players will be able to explore an entire planet, to which he responded, "Yup if you want. Walk on, brave explorer".

That statement, conjoined with countless marketing of the raw exploration of Starfield's planets, has left gamers slightly suspicious. Is this hype from the developer, or will they actually be able to roam the entirety of each of the planets? Here's how it seems to work. When a player selects a new planet to land on, they create a landing area/site. This landing area generates a 1km explorable area, which equates to about 10 to 15 minutes of running in a single direction. When the border of that area is reached, the player will get a pop-up message informing them they cannot go any further.

This explorable area, or large tile, was confirmed by Bethesda creative director Todd Howard during an interview with IGN, where he said planets consist of "kilometer-sized tiles" that get "kind of wrapped around the planet." Furthermore, these tiles don't fit together to create one cohesive, explorable area. So, if you were thinking you'd just put multiple landing zones next to each other to create one big playable area, you can't do that. This was proven by one leaker that set a landing zone near New Atlantis and showed that you are unable to travel to New Atlantis, or even see it from the landing site.

So, what does this mean? It appears that landing sites are "miniature" standalone sandboxes, meaning players won't be able to explore the entirety of the planet, just where they decided to land (running 10 to 15 minutes in every direction). The real question is, does this even matter? It depends. The landing sites seem absolutely massive, and through the sheer scope of the landing sites, players may be immersed enough not to feel trapped within the sandbox. There is also the diversity of each planets, which will only add to the total immersion.

However, we will have to wait for the full release of Starfield to understand the planetary mechanics fully and, therefore, how meaningful the landing site boundaries are.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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