While everyone else gets hyped about Fallout, Todd Howard is promising some 'really good updates' for Starfield

An image of Todd Howard in the middle of explaining a concept using hand gestures.
(Image credit: Bethesda)

Thanks to the excellent new Amazon show, the world is currently going wild for Fallout, to the extent that the old games are rocketing up the charts again. The series was instantly renewed for a second season, and modders have got to work cramming TV stuff into the games. It's Fallout mania! Wait, didn't Bethesda have another big game recently?

Oh yeah, Starfield. The game that everyone expected to dominate 2023, but ended up just being… well, alright. I don't want to be too mean about Starfield but it suffered enormously from both its proximity to Baldur's Gate 3, simply one of the best RPGs ever made, and the way it undeniably hews to the Bethesda formula. It just felt a bit like something you'd already played.

In a new interview with IGN talking about Fallout, Bethesda CEO Todd Howard briefly touches on the studio's upcoming games. He mentions most of the big names, though studiously steers clear of the question's focus on (what else) Fallout 5. Howard has previously said that the rough plan is Elder Scrolls 6, then Fallout 5. Still the case?

"I'm going to avoid putting dates on anything," says Howard. "I've learned that the hard way. So obviously, our focus as far as new development right now is Elder Scrolls VI, but that doesn't mean that we're not making plans for other things."

Howard has some kind words for Fallout 76's community ("surprisingly, it's a very, very nice apocalypse") before getting onto Bethesda's most recent title. "We're doing a lot of Starfield work as well," says Howard. "So we have some really good updates that are going to get announced soon for that game. So, a lot going on here."

We have some idea of what "really good" might mean, thanks to some teasing late last year. In a message posted to the game's subreddit Bethesda said to "expect an update early next year that will include a large number of 'in-progress' quest fixes as well as FSR3 and XeSS" (Intel's upscaling tech). In game terms, however, more intriguing promises are the new features most-requested by fans: "from city maps, to mod support, to all new ways of travelling (stay tuned!)."

It's the new ways of travelling that should most excite Starfielders, mainly because exploration is one of the things the game as-is just doesn't nail. Whether Bethesda can change that in any meaningful way remains to be seen, but in its current state the over-reliance on fast travel detracts from the whole space fantasy.

That perhaps speaks to the larger problem with Starfield. Patches can do so much, and given Bethesda's past form you'd expect there to be expansions at some point on top, but very few games can successfully reinvent the core experience. And Starfield is fine! But it feels like "fine" is all it'll ever be.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."