Starfield was intentionally made to be played for years, says Todd Howard

Starfield screenshot showing the Constellation crew
(Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios)

Starfield director Todd Howard says that Bethesda's sci-fi RPG was "intentionally" designed to be played for a long time and that he expects to still be working to update the game for the next five years.

In a recent interview with The AIAS Game Maker's Notebook Podcast (via GamesRadar) Insomniac Games CEO Ted Price asked Howard whether he thinks that games are getting too big as we've continued to see over the years with the rise of sprawling open-world adventure games

Howard responds by saying that he thinks it "starts with the developers" and the technology, suggesting that studios want to utilize the latest hardware to push the boundaries of how big their games can be.

"The scale of games, I think, I'd have to go back and look," Howard said. "How big were things before? The one thing I have noticed is, because more games are played for a long time, they're 'live,' the ability to update them over time creates games that people are playing right now that have been around for a long time, gotten years and years and years of updates, and 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?"

Skyrim is one of Bethesda's most-played games to this day thanks to its open-world exploration, replayability, and the dedicated fanbase and modding community. Howard uses it as an example of how, even 12 years later, the game is still doing exceedingly well for the company in terms of players.

"Even a game like Skyrim – which if you look at it at launch was still a really, really big game – if you look at it today with add-ons and mods it's a much bigger game. It's still a game that's played 12 years later in large numbers for us. I think if you look at your audience, they get used to a game and they usually want to plus-one it. They want to add XYZ, and the developers, we usually do as well."

Howard goes on to say that this was the idea for Starfield and that out of all of Bethesda's games, this one was designed with longevity in mind, even more so than Skyrim and Fallout

Bethesda has mentioned before, that it's taking player feedback into account and will soon begin implementing changes with various patches, but Howard is already thinking ahead in terms of years and intends to keep evolving the game over time.

"This is a game and it's intentionally made to be played for a long time," he explains. "One of the things we've learned from our previous games, from Skyrim, from Fallout, is that people want to play them for a very long time. So Starfield, I would say, was the most intentional, going into it, that this is a game people are going to play for a long time. How do we build it such that it is allowing that in a way that feels natural – and if people have played the game and finished the main quest, you can see that.

"But it's also one where, OK, 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. That's both what we do here and with our modding community. We've learned so much there. Giving ourselves a really, really good base of a game to build upon for everybody." 

For more, here's our list of the best RPGs, as well as the best Xbox Series X games to play right now.