Space travel in Starfield is as dangerous as 'flight in the '40s'

During a muddled E3 Coliseum chat between rich car guy Elon Musk and rich Skyrim guy Todd Howard, the latter gave us a tiny detail about Bethesda Game Studios' next big RPG, Starfield.

"Traveling in space in our game, I want to say it's like flight in the '40s, like it's dangerous," said Howard. "It's still dangerous to go and explore, even though lots of people do it."

That's pretty much the end of the Starfield details, though the comparison to early flight is somewhat interesting. There were a lot of crashes in the '40s (partially because of that one war). 

Howard also said he visited Musk's SpaceX headquarters as part of an effort to bring "authenticity" to Starfield, and mentioned that Helium-3—a speculative fuel for nuclear fusion—could be the isotope used to fuel Starfield's ships, or at least is something to be debated. 

Starfield shouldn't be confused for a rocket engineering sim, though. "We have to gamify it some," said Howard, "so that it's not as punishing as actual space travel." 

My impression is that, while it's an RPG and not a sim, Starfield's setting and fiction will lean toward 'hard sci-fi'—speculative, but grounded in present-day theory. As for when we'll see more, Howard repeated that we'll need to be patient.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.