Starfield’s gameplay reveal finally aired last night. Bethesda head Todd Howard showcased an extended look at their upcoming space RPG title from the stage of the Xbox-Bethesda Games Showcase.
While the general reception to the gameplay showcase has been positive so far, fans could not help but point out the uncanny similarities between the upcoming Bethesda title with No Man’s Sky. Fans soon started to trend "No Man's Skyrim" as a joke alias for Starfield, which was previously dubbed by Bethesda as "Skyrim in space."
No Man’s Sky has been in the conversation as a space game right from its announcement in 2013. While its rocky launch cemented its place as one of the most overhyped and under-delivered products of all time, Hello Games has mostly cleaned up the whole mess. Delivering free content updates through the last few years and building the game piece by piece to match their initial vision and then some more, No Man’s Sky’s redemption arc has been nothing sort of magical.
Various gameplay elements of Starfield look oddly similar to No Man’s Sky, and fans are not sure how to feel about it
The gameplay reveal trailer undoubtedly features some elements that are bound to make you feel: “Where have I seen that before?”
Like the scanner that the player's character uses at the very get-go to survey the flora and fauna, the mining beam and the outward appearance of the space suit - all bear a striking resemblance to No Man’s Sky.
Some fans even equated the scale of “over one thousand planets” of the upcoming Bethesda RPG to NMS's almost-infinite procedurally generated universe.
The Frontier update added alien outposts to the inhabited planets of No Man’s Sky. This enabled players to become mayors, manage settlements, and even grow them into proper towns. Fans have pointed out this as a parallel to Starfield’s advertised settlement system.
These are albeit valid points. However, we have to accept the fact that No Man’s Sky has heavily dominated the space exploration genre of games in the recent era. If any studio is to make a game within the same genre, can they really avoid comparisons?
While all of the comparisons pointed out by fans hold value, let’s not forget that Starfield is a roleplaying game at heart. While the exploration of the expansive game world is an instrumental aspect of the gameplay, the story elements arising from NPCs and the various factions will play a large role too.
As far as the settlement system is concerned, if Starfield builds upon the system already existing in Fallout 4, it will offer way more granular control over the building and management aspect than the system present in No Man’s Sky.
At this point, one is bound to wonder whether the folks at Bethesda knew while preparing the gameplay reveal trailer that No Man’s Sky comparisons were on the way. But does it matter in the long run as we learn more concrete details about Starfield in the coming days?
Even if the final product bears some resemblance to No Man's Sky, it can also be interpreted as Bethesda paying homage to Hello Games' wonderful title. After all, it lies in the purview of iterative art.
Starfield is slated for release on Xbox, PC, and Game Pass in the first half of 2023.