Todd Howard said Fallout 5 wouldn’t be finished anytime soon because Bethesda Game Studios (BGS) is moving on to something else after Starfield!
As you’d expect, the Xbox/Bethesda E3 replacement broadcast featured Starfield, which has been postponed to the first half of 2023, and BGS and Microsoft showed a good quarter of an hour of gameplay from it. However, the Redmond-based company wasn’t satisfied with just that in terms of marketing, so it’s no wonder Howard gave a new interview to IGN about the game, which he says will take 30-40 hours to complete.
Howard said that The Elder Scrolls VI is in the pre-production phase of development, with Fallout 5 after it in the development schedule. So, Fallout 5 can only be discussed AFTER TES VI (but, since both Obsidian and the original Fallout creators are in Microsoft’s circles, they might be involved with continuing Fallout: New Vegas until then…). So Fallout 5 will be released around 2029 if the world doesn’t collapse by then.
About Starfield, Howard said there would be a thousand planets to explore. Are these planets created by hand? Todd said, “We do a lot of procedural generation [in Starfield], but I would keep in mind that we’ve always done that. It’s a big part of Skyrim in terms of questing and some other things we do. We generate landscape using procedural systems, so we’ve always kind of worked on it. […] Once you’re dealing with scale like that and procedural systems, the difference between, say, one planet that has some variation on it, and a hundred planets, or a thousand planets, it’s not that big of a leap, if that makes sense – once you have good systems working for that.” (I.e. if they can camouflage it all by avoiding repetition, they see it as a win…).
Howard admits that exploring many planets won’t be fun, but BGS wanted these to represent scale in this way. But if you get bored of pushing the outer limits of the galaxy, you can still go back to a hand-carved campaign, and in the case of Starfield, the amount of such manually created content will be greater than in their previous games. Howard says, “There are a lot of ice balls in space, so one of our big design considerations on this game is, ‘What’s fun about an ice ball?’ And it’s OK sometimes if ice balls aren’t [fun] — it is what it is. We’d rather have them say yes to you, “Hey, you can land on this.” Here are the resources. You can survey it, and then you can land and spend ten minutes there and be like, “OK, now I’m going to leave and go back to the other planet that has all this other content on it, and I’m going to follow this questline.” I should also add that we have done more handcrafting in this game content-wise than any game we’ve done.” He added that the seamless flight between planets we saw in No Man’s Sky would not be there in Starfield, as flying in certain sections of space and exploring planets are considered separate experiences, so Howard said that the seamlessness was not as important.
Starfield 2023 is coming to Xbox Series and PC in the first half of 2023.