Starfield releases in just under a week now, and the fans have shown they absolutely can’t wait that long. Leaks of various details from Bethesda’s are now pouring out in a torrent, and the latest seems to be that Starfield won’t actually support seamless planetary exploration, as many had hoped would be the case.
This news comes via a leaked screenshot, which shows the player character encountering a “Boundary reached” popup. The message box explains that the player must open their map to explore another region, or return to their ship. This implies that each section of a planet’s map on Starfield exists as separate instances, rather than the constantly updating treadmill you would experience in No Man’s Sky.
This stands in contrast to statements made by Bethesda’s head of publishing, Pete Hines. A few days ago, Hines replied to a fan asking if he would be able to explore an entire planet. “Yup, if you want”, Hines replied. “Walk on, brave explorer.” Unhappy fans are holding that loading screens and warp points are not what they had in mind when they thought of entire planet exploration.
The outrage from fans has had some pushback from journalists currently playing the game, who have mentioned the image is somewhat misleading, and not entirely accurate. However, since they’re all under embargo at this time, they have not been able to expand on that sentiment, with Bethesda PR reminding them to not leak potential details before the embargo lifts.
Ultimately, this probably isn’t an issue. Other leaks have put the size of Starfield’s individual maps as larger than Fallout 4’s, based purely on the amount of time it takes to find an edge from the center. It takes 35 minutes to reach an edge of Fallout 4’s map, while it apparently takes 40 in Starfield. That’s still plenty of game to explore, so even if individual map instances are separated, when each instance is larger than an entire Bethesda game map, that still offers plenty of content.
We’re now on the downward slope to Starfield’s release, with the game arriving on September 6. Certain pre-orders will get players early access from September 1.