Is Starfield’s universe procedurally generated?

Patrick Dane
An image of Starfield artwork.Bethesda

Starfield has a colossal universe for you to explore, and with so many planets to visit you may be wondering if any part of it is procedurally generated. Here’s everything you need to know.

Starfield’s universe is sprawling. There are all sorts of places for would-be space travellers to traverse. However, how exactly has Bethesda put together a whole galaxy to explore?

Concepts like this are not new. Famously, No Man’s Sky offered an entire universe for players to explore by using procedural generation in development. This allowed for near-infinite possibility, though it came at the cost of a less curated feel. 

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That level of artifice can make a game feel a little looser, and a little less like there is something designed for you to explore.

That may lead you to wonder, is Starfield using procedural generation? If so, how much and does the game offer a fully designed campaign or not? Don’t worry. We have answers to all the above. 

Does Starfield use procedural generation? 

Yes, Starfield utilizes procedural generation. The game offers over 1000 planets to explore. It would have been impossible to make that many without the help of AI. 

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However, Todd Howard has assured players not to worry, as every game Bethesda has made has dabbled in procedural generation. In an interview with IGN, he said: “We do a lot of procedural generation in Starfield, but I would keep in mind that we’ve always done that. It’s a big part of Skyrim in terms of questing and some other things we do. We generate landscape using procedural systems, so we’ve always kind of worked on it.”

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Does Starfield mostly feature procedural content?

No. While Starfield utilizes the technology, Todd Howard has said that the title features the most hand-crafted content ever for a Bethesda game. In a Kinda Funny Xcast, Howard explained the design philosophy saying, “What we do is we handcraft individual locations, and some of those are placed specifically”. 

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Spaceship flying toward mysterious planet in Starfield.Bethesda
There will be over 1000 planets for you to explore in Starfield.

In his interview with IGN, he said: “I should also add that we have done more handcrafting in this game, content-wise, than any game we’ve done. 

“We’re over 200,000 lines of dialogue, so we still do a lot of handcrafting and if people just want to do what they’re used to in our games, and follow a main quest, and do the questlines, you’re gonna see what you’d kind of expect from us.”

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That’s everything you need to know about Starfield when it comes to procedurally generated planets. However, why not read some of our other guides around the game?

Starfield all main story missions | All skills | All factions | All console commands | All difficulty levels explained | All achievements | Level cap | How to remove bounty | How to fast travel | Easy XP | Easy credits | Best traits | How to get a house | How to mod weapons and equipment | How to find smuggling missions | How to add DLSS | How to pick locks | How to customize ship | How to dock ship

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About The Author

Patrick Dane is Dexerto's Gaming Editor. He has worked as a professional games journalist for over a decade, writing for sites like TechRadar, IGN, PC Gamer, GamesRadar, International Busniess Times and Edge magazine. He has over 2000 hours in both Overwatch and Destiny 2 and has spent far too long in too many live service games.