Why I’m Hyped For Starfield’s Mostly Uninhabited Galaxy – TheFantasyTimes

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By Nikita Gambhir

Why I’m Hyped For Starfield’s Mostly Uninhabited Galaxy

I have been closely following the progress of Starfield for quite some time, and I believe many of you can say the same. It presents Bethesda with an opportunity to showcase their partnership with Microsoft and introduce a new intellectual property after years of focusing on Elder Scrolls and Fallout. However, it is important to note that Starfield will still retain the elements that we love about Elder Scrolls and Fallout.

Recently, there has been news circulating that approximately 90% of Starfield’s planets will be devoid of life. This information has sparked concern among some individuals, while others believe it is a normal aspect of a spacefaring game. Personally, when I heard this news, my mind immediately drew comparisons to Minecraft. It made me contemplate how a predominantly lifeless galaxy could potentially resolve my main issue with Mojang’s long-standing classic.

You see, despite having an affinity for gameplay centered around gathering resources, I have never been fond of Minecraft. Most resource-gathering games, in my opinion, suffer from a crucial design flaw that prevents me from fully enjoying them. When I hear terms like “survival,” I envision a scenario where I have to navigate through the wilderness with minimal possessions and face obstacles like fire, drowning, and the need for sustenance and rest. What never crosses my mind is having to engage in endless battles against spawning enemies. Surprisingly, even Minecraft, a seemingly innocent game, disrupts my solo survival fantasy by incessantly introducing adversaries.

Let’s be serious for a moment, the last time I played Minecraft, I turned a corner and found myself confronted by a dozen Zombies (and don’t worry, there were some skeletons too!). I was simply playing to gather materials for dye-making purposes, as I was writing a guide. Consequently, I decided to switch the game settings to creative mode after that encounter. To my dismay, nothing changed! Even in “Creative” mode, a horde of witches materialized out of thin air, bombarding me with potions. You might assume I am making a big deal out of nothing or condemning an entire genre due to one issue in one game. However, please bear with me because my dissatisfaction extends beyond just Minecraft.

Have you ever played The Forest? In this game, you scavenge for twigs, berries, and water in order to survive on an island teeming with cannibalistic mutants. I understand that the well-publicized premise of the game suggests that combat is to be expected. Nevertheless, I loathed engaging in battles with the cannibals in The Forest. I would gather enough resources to construct a tent, save my progress by sleeping, and then abruptly awaken to find myself surrounded by cannibals ready to devour me! Despite this being an integral part of the game’s storyline, all I wanted to do was search for lizards and build a log cabin!

Initially, I believed that perhaps this genre was not suited for my preferences. However, the developers of The Forest introduced a cheat code called “Vegan Mode,” which completely eliminated all cannibals from the game. This addition was incredibly satisfying because it reassured me that I was not alone in my desire to immerse myself in the game’s atmosphere without the pesky mutant cannibals ruining my experience. Although I cannot claim that this single instance sparked a revolution in the genre, it certainly prompted me to seek out similar modifications.

Take Slime Rancher 2, for example. It is primarily a farming-gathering game that offers various toggles allowing players to remove the villainous Tarr from their gameplay. But let us return to the original topic at hand. When Starfield’s trailers initially mentioned resource gathering, I did not allow myself to become overly optimistic. Instead, I regarded Starfield in the same light as Fallout, anticipating captivating environments with immersive storytelling, and the occasional loot drop from defeated enemies. I never dared to hope that I would be able to mine space rocks without interruption, as I half-expected a sandworm or Martians to appear just to spite me.

Therefore, when I learned that these planets in Starfield would be devoid of life, I experienced a surge of excitement. Only encountering enemies on specific planets? Fantastic! It will provide a refreshing change of pace rather than being a constant annoyance. I find myself not even minding the absence of harmless creatures, despite the allure of encountering a space rabbit. Ultimately, it will be up to the final product to make resource gathering an enjoyable experience, but I am suddenly filled with anticipation. What will I be able to create with the resources I collect from lifeless planets? Will there be opportunities to purchase resources, and if so, will certain star systems offer superior or inferior materials? My mind is now overwhelmed with questions, a sensation that did not occur when I was convinced I would constantly have to be on guard and sleep with one eye open at my gathering sites.

Undoubtedly, there will be some level of difficulty associated with resource gathering. This could manifest through adverse weather conditions, limited oxygen supply, or a combination of both. Nevertheless, these challenges seem far more appealing than being bombarded by Creepers every few steps.

In conclusion, Starfield’s promise of predominantly lifeless planets has reignited my enthusiasm for resource-gathering games. It represents a shift away from the incessant enemy encounters that have hindered my enjoyment in the past. I have faith that Bethesda will deliver a final product that allows players to fully immerse themselves in the process of exploration and resource acquisition. Personally, I am eagerly looking forward to embarking on this new interstellar adventure.


I’ve been following progress on Starfield for a while, and I’m sure many of you can say the same. It’s Bethesda’s chance to strut the Microsoft money and a new IP after decades of Elder Scrolls and Fallout, while still keeping those hallmarks that we love about Elder Scrolls and their take on Fallout. Recently, we’ve hearrd that about 90% of Starfield’s planets being devoid of life. This left some people concerned, while others deem this perfectly normal for a spacefaring game.

As for me, when I heard the news my mind went to a whole other place: Minecraft. Right away it got me thinking about how a largely lifeless galaxy could fix my biggest problem with Mojang’s long-standing classic.

See, I kind of hate Minecraft, despite resource-gathering being exactly the kind of gameplay my brainwaves adore. Most resource-gathering games end up having, to me, a major design issue that prevents me from enjoying them. When I hear words like ‘survival,’ I think of roughing it in the woods with nothing but a shirt on my back and sweat on my brow; I think of hazards like fire or drowning, and I even think of things like needing to eat and sleep.

What I never think of is having to fight endlessly spawning enemies, and yet every single resource game, even frigging Minecraft, insists on crashing my solo survival fantasy with baddies.

mojang studios building game minecraft character

RELATED: Starfield’s Empty Planets Aren’t A Problem, But The Settled Ones Might Be

Seriously, the last time I jumped into Minecraft I turned a corner and found myself confronted with about a dozen Zombies (and don’t worry, there were some skeletons too!). I was only playing to get my hands on dye-making materials for a guide I was writing, so I figured I’d change the world settings to creative after that encounter. It didn’t change a thing! Even ‘Creative’ mode didn’t stop a bunch of witches from coming out of nowhere to throw potions at my ass.

You might think I’m making something out of nothing, or spiting a whole genre due to one problem with one game, but bear with me a second here because my issues don’t stop at Minecraft. Ever play The Forest? You gather twigs, berries, and water, all in an attempt to live on this island full of evil mutated cannibals. I know, I know that well publicised premise means I should have been prepared for combat, but I really hated fighting the cannibals in The Forest.

Sons Of The Forest Blocking With Machete

I’d get enough resources to craft a tent, go save my game by taking a snooze, and then boomwake up surrounded by cannibals ready to make breakfast of me! I didn’t care that it was part of the premise, I just wanted to look for lizards and build a log cabin! I used to think maybe this meant the genre wasn’t for me after all, but then the developers of The Forest added a cheat code called Vegan Mode, which fundamentally changed the game by despawning every single cannibal. It felt vindicating, because I knew I waasn’t alone, and more players than just myself wished to be immersed in the game’s atmosphere without those icky mutant cannibals ruining their fun.

While I’m not going to say this started a buck in the trend, it did lead to me looking for these bucks. Slime Rancher 2, for instance, is a farming-gathering game at heart, and comes packing a bunch of toggles that let you do things like remove the villainous Tarr from the game.

Starfield Barren Planet

But let’s get back to the original game in question. When Starfield’s trailers originally mentioned the resource gathering, I didn’t get my hopes up, instead just thinking about Starfield the way I did Fallout. Fun environments with environmental storytelling, and maybe time for loot if it’s off an enemy corpse. I wasn’t letting myself hope that I’d get to mine space rocks without interruption, because for all I knew a sandworm or Martians would show up just to spite me.

So upon hearing these planets would be lifeless, I felt ecstatic. Only enemies on certain planets? Great! They’ll be a change of pace instead of a nuisance! I don’t even think I’ll care about the lack of harmless creatures, as interesting as a space rabbit may sound on paper. It’s still up to the final product to make the gathering fun, but I suddenly find myself excited by it.

What will I use with the resources I plunder from a lifeless planet for? Will I also be able to buy resources, and if so, will this mean some star systems have better or worse resources? My head is suddenly swimming in questions, and that just did not happen when I was sure I’d have to be looking over my shoulder and sleeping with one eye open at my gathering encampments. I’m sure there will be some form of difficulty in the resource gathering, be it adverse weather conditions or limited oxygen supply or both, but all that sounds better than throwing Creepers at me every quarter mile.

NEXT: Starfield Has That Bethesda RPG Jank, And I Couldn’t Be Happier

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