Gaming

New Starfield expansion every year as game hits over 14 million players


Bethesda is playing the long game with Starfield (Microsoft)

Bethesda’s Todd Howard has discussed the future of Starfield, along with how it is influencing the development of The Elder Scrolls 6.

Starfield may have landed with a mixed response from fans and critics, but it appears to have been a success in terms of player numbers. That doesn’t mean much when the game is on Game Pass but it seems that rather than sweeping it under the carpet, developer Bethesda is going to support it more than their previous games.

After showing off the sci-fi title’s first expansion, Shattered Space, at the Xbox Games Showcase, Bethesda Game Studios’ director Todd Howard has confirmed Starfield has been played by over 14 million players in a new interview. Although there’s no indication of how many bought it individually.

‘We have now three big franchises [The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Starfield],’ Howard said. ‘To have Starfield be there. It’s 14 million players, and average playtime is still over 40 hours a player. It’s a staggering amount of time in-game.’

Bethesda previously confirmed Starfield had reached 13 million players back in December, following its launch in September. At the time, it was described as the ‘biggest launch’ in the studio’s history.

As such, it’s unsurprising to hear Shattered Space will not be Starfield’s last expansion. Speaking in the same interview with MrMattyPlays, Howard was asked if we can expect annual expansions for Starfield in the years to come.

‘More or less, yes,’ he replied. ‘How long that continues, hopefully a long time. But we’re planning for the one after this, so there will be another one.’

This planned roadmap for Starfield, which includes the recently added mod creation tools, is partially in response to Bethesda’s regret over not supporting The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim and Fallout 4 with substantial DLC for longer.

‘We would look back at Skyrim, which we’re still updating to a small extent – and there’s all of the creations and mods there – it’s still a hugely played game, same with Fallout 4, that we wish we had supported them longer,’ Howard added.

‘We went into Fallout 76 knowing, hey, this is a game we’re going to support for as long as we can. Starfield, we go into that knowing the same thing. And as we go into The Elder Scrolls 6, with all these games you’ve gotta start now by thinking about a 10-year horizon. How do we support a game for that long?’

Howard reaffirms this long term roadmap is ‘100%’ planned for The Elder Scrolls 6, only to stop himself from revealing too much: ‘Seeing obviously what Skyrim has done, and our other games, I think you could say for Elder Scrolls 6… yeah, I’ll just stop there.’

The studio’s director, however, doesn’t quite stop there. ‘We know people are going to play it for a long time, so I think a game like that is not just, what it means for content. It goes further than that in, you know, the type of game, what it means for your character, what it means for other things to say, ‘Hey, can this be something that you come back to?

‘We see that Skyrim, what people do in the game today. Even though it’s popular, what are people doing when they come back to the game after putting it down for a few years?’

In other words, it sounds like Bethesda is trying to recapture what made Skyrim a long term success with The Elder Scrolls 6 – which is not surprising considering how successful the former’s been since it launched in 2011.

It remains to be seen whether Starfield will have the same staying power, but development on The Elder Scrolls 6 is fully underway, after the studio confirmed earlier this year the sequel is already in playable form.

Shattered Space is out in the autumn (Microsoft)

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