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Starfield to get city maps, ‘new ways of travel’

After a small update on Monday, Bethesda Game Studios teases more to come

Starfield starship grav jumping Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Bethesda Game Studios plans to update Starfield every six weeks or so in 2024, a studio representative posted on the game’s Reddit forum. This comes after Bethesda addressed several issues in a patch on Monday, one of which fixes a bug that gave player ship’s a “pet asteroid” — space stuff was getting stuck to ships.

Several features are coming to Starfield, according to the post. Mod support, which was announced in September, is one of those features, but players can expect city maps and “all new ways of traveling,” too. “These will be rolling out with a regular cadence of fixes and updates we expect to have roughly every six weeks,” the Bethesda representative said. “If something can be done in a smaller hotfix in between (like the asteroid), and we feel it’s safe, we’ll get one of those out as well. Safe is the key here. We do take a lot of time to test even the smallest change in a game this large and dynamic.”

People have complained a lot about Starfield, but the game’s lack of a map was one of the big issues. Cities simply don’t have maps — just a pretty much blank screen with a few icons to denote points of interest. It’s something you might have expected for any of Starfield’s thousands of generated planets, but not for its core cities. (A fan-made Starfield database made interactive maps, if you’re looking for them.) Bethesda previously said it’d love to add city maps to the game, but the studio’s Tuesday Reddit post is the first official confirmation.

Bethesda also intends to add “new ways of traveling,” but that’s all the information it’s given thus far. There are several things this could mean, the most likely of which may be ground transportation. Starfield game director and Bethesda Game Studios CEO Todd Howard told Bloomberg in September that the studio considered it, but ultimately decided against it: “Once you do vehicles, it does change the gameplay,” Howard said. “Once you land in your ship [...] you’re on foot. It lets us really, for the players, make it an experience where we know how fast they’re seeing things.”

It could also mean adjustments to the way space travel works — that’s another thing that’s been criticized. Starfield is a game about space exploration, but the actual ship navigation was a letdown for some players, because the experience isn’t seamless. You’ve got to fast travel to get to different planets, and can’t simply pull up and land on a planet.

Of course, we won’t know for sure until Bethesda announces more, likely next year.

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