Are Starfield’s planets procedurally generated?

Nathan Warby
Starfield player approaching glowing orbBethesda

As a sci-fi RPG, Starfield has left no stone unturned to grant players the freedom to travel the universe in their spaceship and stumble upon hundreds of unique planets. If you’re curious to know how Bethesda created these planets, here’s everything to know about procedural generation in Starfield.

Space exploration games are expected to be as limitless as possible which explains why fans couldn’t be more hyped when Bethesda announced Starfield. The developer had already created games with hundreds of hours of content such as The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and Fallout 4, and luckily, Starfield is no different.

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One of the biggest reasons why Starfield is a game that you can dive deep into is its planets. With over 1,000 planets spread across 100 star systems, you’ll always have new Outposts to build and new areas to discover.

If you want to know how Bethesda created such an expansive universe, check out these details on procedural generation in Starfield.

Is Starfield’s universe procedurally generated?

starfield player looking at planetBethesda
Starfield has a huge universe of planets to explore.

Yes, Starfield uses procedural generation to bring its universe to life. Given that the game has over 1,000 unique worlds to explore, it’s no surprise that the devs didn’t craft every inch of the planets that players will be discovering.

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However, unlike other games such as No Man’s Sky at launch, Starfield combines procedural generation with a large amount of hand-built areas. In fact, Starfield Game Director, Todd Howard, has reassured fans that the game still has plenty of content designed by the devs.

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“What we do is we handcraft individual locations, and some of those are placed specifically,” he told the Kinda Funny Xcast. “I should also add that we have done more handcrafting in this game, content-wise, than any game we’ve done.”

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Starfield procedurally generated planets explained

In practice, this means that Starfield’s planets will be built using AI when a player travels to them, so two players could visit the same world and be met with a slightly different layout. However, certain hand-crafted locations and questlines will be guaranteed to appear for all visitors.

While the terrain of a planet may vary from save file to save file, the major cities and outposts that have become Bethesda’s trademark will still be scattered around the game to track down.

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This should allow the devs to achieve the scale they want from Starfield’s universe, while still providing players with an interesting story along the way.

That was everything you need to know about the procedural generation in Starfield. For more, be sure to check out our other guides:

Is Starfield on Steam Deck? | Does Starfield have mod support?  | Is Starfield coming to PlayStation? | Will Starfield have multiplayer or co-op? | Does Starfield have New Game Plus? | Does Starfiled have DLC? | How to change difficulty settings in Starfield | How to earn credits fast in Starfield | How to romance Sam Coe in Starfield | All voice actors & characters in Starfield | How to level up fast in Starfield | What does Suit Protection Depleted mean in Starfield? | How to get Starfield Mark I Spacesuit

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About The Author

Nathan is a Senior Writer for CharlieIntel and Dexerto, primarily covering FIFA and Call of Duty, as well as general gaming news and guides. After leaving university with a degree in Sports Studies and a master's degree in Magazine Journalism, he took on a role as a local news reporter before moving into games media. You can contact Nathan by email at [email protected].