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

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During a muddled E3 Coliseum (opens in new tab) 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 alongside Apple and Microsoft, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early personal computers his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. After work, he practices boxing and adds to his 1,200 hours in Rocket League.