Starfield Interview: Former Bethesda Developer at Scale, Building a New Universe

Starfield Interview: Former Bethesda Developer at Scale, Building a New Universe

We got the chance to do an interview with Starfield, which could very well be Bethesda’s magnum opus of RPG games, as the studio steps out from behind Fallout and The Elder Scrolls to develop a new universe that redefines its openness. world games are more open, with thousands of planets to explore. This anticipation prompted us to chat with a former Bethesda developer, who struck out on his own after leaving Bethesda last year and working on Starfield for a while.

That person is Nate Purkeypile, founder of Just Purkey Games and a developer for 17 years, 14 of which were spent at Bethesda from Fallout 3 through Starfield, as an artist on numerous projects. Naturally, Purkeypile couldn’t dive deeper into Starfield, due to contracts and the fact that it won’t be released until next year, but he did give us some interesting tidbits about the space project.

When it comes to Starfield’s size, Purkeypile says it’s not only the biggest game Bethesda has ever made, but also the one that required the biggest team as well.

“The scope of this project is the main thing that’s different, because, you know, Fallout 3, Skyrim, Fallout 4, it was one team. Fallout 76, it was mostly two, we had a bit of help from Montreal, but it was mostly Austin and Maryland [Bethesda] studios working together.

“But yeah, Starfield is a much bigger project, it’s like 500 people or something on the team, whereas I think [Fallout] 76 was maybe 200, tops,” Purkeypile added, saying the colossal size of the development team was one of the reasons he left and decided to make games on his own.

Purkeypile also said that the biggest challenge faced developing Starfield while he was there – keep in mind that a lot of the game could have changed since he left – was effort and detail. necessary to create a whole new fictional universe.

“There aren’t always resolved issues about how things look,” Purkeypile explains, “which can be so many particular things, like the shape of the metal panels? How do they put things together? What colors do you use? What materials do they have? How do you differentiate between all these different areas? So it’s a lot harder than if you asked me, hey, make another follow-up game.

“You have to figure it all out, and there’s also all this extrapolative fiction to figure out. You’d be shocked at how many metal panels they created in the concept,” Purkeypile jokingly added.

Starfield is going to be big, so big in fact that it will have 1,000 planets to explore that can be landed anywhere. We asked Purkeypile a few questions about how this was achieved, because although director Tod Howard has already mentioned that procedural generation is involved in over 100 solar systems, we don’t know exactly how.

“I can’t really get into the technical details,” Purkypile says, “the map of [Fallout] 76 is almost twice the size of Skyrim or so, and it was a lot of work for people to do, but yeah, it doesn’t scale. Even if you wanted to hire outsourcing, you would have to hire, for example, a country. Realistically it’s a fraction of this team actually [working] on the planets.

Purkeypile didn’t explain how Bethesda specifically created these planets, but it’s interesting to hear that the studio came up with some kind of creative solution that allows for so many to be developed for Starfield while still feeling somewhat unique.

Starfield New Atlantis: A tall glass spire rises from the cityscape, with the letters

We also talked about the Starfield reveal and, let’s be frank, the lackluster The Elder Scrolls 6 reveal. Purkeypile noted that while nothing was shown of the fantasy game, Starfield was shown and comes out in part to set expectations regarding how long it will take until the actual release of The Elder Scrolls 6.

“So they have to be like, ‘look, we’re going to set expectations’. At this point [it’s been] more than 10 years, it’s quite unheard of to remain so long without a follow-up. He continues, “Of course there is Elder Scrolls Online, but frankly, I see that as a separate market for the MMO group. I think letting people know that it’s going to be a while before that’s part of it,” Purkeypile says.

So while we’re all waiting for Starfield, hopefully Purkeypile’s time on the game can help, even though he wasn’t able to say too much about the ins and outs of the upcoming Bethesda game. . We’ve also got plenty more on the way from our interview with Purkeypile on the Fallout and Skyrim series, and even some details about his upcoming solo-developed mystical hunting game, The Axis Unseen, which you can find on Steam. Purkeypile Twitter is also filled with interesting behind-the-scenes looks at game development, so be sure to follow it to learn how games are made.

If you want to learn even more about the game outside of this Starfield interview, we’ve got a primer on Starfield ship builds, Starfield Game Pass release details, and everything you need to know about the release date. Starfield release and breaking news as well.

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