Bethesda's Todd Howard talks big Starfield map and engine upgrades

It's been a long time since Bethesda released a purely single-player RPG (its last was 2015's Fallout 4), but currently, the company has two in the works: Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6. Bethesda has already confirmed that Starfield will be released before The Elder Scrolls 6, but both games are still a long way off from launch. Still, we're learning some new details about Starfield today, thanks to a lengthy interview Bethesda director Todd Howard gave at Develop: Brighton this week.

The interview clocks in at more than an hour long, but as PC Gamer notes, there are some juicy details about Starfield interspersed throughout. For starters, Howard says that Starfield's map will be the largest one to feature in a Bethesda game. While he didn't really quantify that, he did say that it'll be larger than Fallout 76's, which is already a big map in its own right.

Howard also indicated that parts of Starfield's map will be procedurally generated, and while that might spark comparisons to a game like No Man's Sky – where most things are procedurally generated – we'll still see landmarks and points are interest that are created by designers in Starfield.

One thing that will probably be very exciting for longtime Bethesda fans are the changes Bethesda has made to the Creation Engine. Howard says that some big improvements have been made to the Creation Engine, though not everything has been changed in the lead up to Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6.

"There are things we do that we still like," Howard said. "The way we build our worlds, the way people can mod it – these are things that I think are fundamentally good about our tech stack. But from rendering to animation to pathing to procedural generation – I don't want to say everything, but it's a significant, significant overhaul."

Howard says that this overhaul might even be larger than the jump between Morrowind and Oblivion, so here's hoping that the changes are enough to make Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6 feel distinct from earlier Bethesda games. We probably shouldn't expect a release date for either game anytime soon, but it sounds like Bethesda is at least making good progress on Starfield. Stay tuned for more.