Todd Howard reveals Starfield devs already planning 5 years ahead with new content

Ethan Dean
A screenshot from the game Starfield

Bethesda has a track record for making games that people play for years after release. Todd Howard recently elaborated on how those habits shaped the development of Starfield and his team’s plans for the game post-launch.

Starfield is a massive game. There’s just no getting around it. Even after the devs had to tone down its space exploration before the final release.

The game is packed with things to do from romance options, ship customization, exploration, and stripping NPCs of their garments. Starfield carries on the tradition of Bethesda RPGs like the Elder Scrolls and Fallout franchises in its breathtaking scope.

According to a recent Game Makers Notebook sitdown with Starfield Director Todd Howard and Insomniac CEO Ted Price, that scope was more intentional than ever this time. Going over the increasing trend of scale in games, Howard said that the lifecycle of previous Bethesda games encouraged his team to think about Starfield in the long term.

Todd Howard speaks on the longevity of Starfield

The discussion began when Price asked Howard who he thought was driving the “need for complexity” in modern games. “I think it starts with the developers,” Howard replied. “It has to, right? I think it starts with technology. You’re seeing new hardware and you’re wanting to use it in new ways.”

“The one thing I have noticed is that more games are played for a long time,” Howard continued. “That creates an expectation. When I’m going into something new, how does this compare with a mature game that I’ve been playing for a while?”

Citing Skyrim in particular as an example, Howard explained how the phenomenon of its long shelf life influenced Starfield’s development. “One of the things we’ve learned from our previous games is that people want to play them for a very long time,” Howard said before elaborating on the questions that drove his team.

“People are going to ask, what does Starfield look like in three months, what does it look like in six months, a year, two years, three years, four years, five years? We’ve learned that that’s going to happen so let’s be ready for it, make the most of it, and embrace it.”

Starfield potato mound
Imagine how many Potatoes you could stack in 5 years.

The expectation of longevity in a Bethesda title seems to have molded Howard and his team’s plans for Starfield down the line. The idea of over five years of shelf-life probably isn’t surprising to most Bethesda fans but it’s interesting to see how actively Howard wants to push that.

Hopefully, this means more new content developed by the Bethesda team as opposed to their trademark re-releases. Not that we wouldn’t be excited for a Starfield: GOTY Edition, Starfield: Definitive Edition, Starfield: Anniversary Edition, and Starfield: Legendary Edition.