Gaming

There’s no way all 1,000 explorable planets in Starfield are actually interesting

I fell for this pitch once. It was 2005, and the game was Spore—SimCity creator Will Wright’s ambitious recreation of life from microscopic organism up to the level of galactic traveler. I watched this entire 35-minute presentation (opens in new tab) enraptured, completely bowled over and convinced that Spore was the future of videogames. And I guess in a sense it was: 17 years later, Bethesda’s next big RPG is making the same mistake Spore did, hyping up mind-blowing scale as an awesome feature. All I see is a red flag. Bethesda says Starfield will have 1,000 planets? I’d be shocked if 990 of them aren’t boring as hell.

“Spore promised us the Moon, and several years later, returned with some big boring rock,” Rick Lane wrote in a retrospective a few years ago. It’s a perfect summation of what I expect from Starfield after today’s presentation: a truly massive galaxy, bigger than any RPG Bethesda’s ever made—as long as you’re cool with it mostly being full of a bunch of big boring rocks.


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