Starfield procedural generation

How does the Starfield procedural generation system create the planets and locations you visit? Here's everything you need to know.

Starfield procedural generation

While Bethesda has stated that Starfield features more handcrafted locations, entities, and quests than ever before, there’s been a lot of confusion around Starfield’s procedural generation. In an effort to make things clearer, we’ve analyzed everything that Bethesda has said on the matter so far, and what this means for you, the player.

Will Starfield have procedural generation?

Yes, Starfield will use procedural generation to seed planets with locations as you approach them. Procedural generation has also been used during Starfield’s development to create the surface of the planets. However, it is unclear the planets in Starfield will be identical for everyone.

Here’s what Todd has said about procedural generation:

  • “With the planets themselves, the landscapes, you know, are pretty much all procedural.”
  • These landscapes are roughly one kilometer-sized tiles that get “wrapped around the planet.”

What does Starfield’s procedural generation look like?

Will Shen, Lead Quest Designer at Starfield, shed some light on how procedural generation has been implemented into Starfield during an interview.

  • “We actually have new tech to take whole locations that we’ve built and put them on the planets.”
  • Whereas in previous games you might randomly encounter an NPC with a radiant quest, now you might go to a dynamically-placed “outpost, and you actually discover there’s a whole group of people there with a particular problem.”
  • This group of NPCs could then send you to another dynamically-placed dungeon with enemies around it.

What Will is describing is a randomly-generated mission system which has significantly more complexity than any radiant quests seen in previous Bethesda titles. In effect, entire questlines have the potential to arise at any moment you explore a planet, but we won’t know exactly what these missions look like until launch.

However, what has been made clear is that each player’s experience will be different. Should two players visit the exact same planet, one might see a procedurally generated Civilian Outpost, while the other might see a Mining Outpost.

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Tim has sunk at least a thousand hours into Bethesda games over the years, and has now completed Starfield with over 200 hours in-game. So, if he's not busy updating our Starfield weapons database, he’s eagerly installing the best Starfield mods and DLC, or planning his dream outpost.