Starfield artwork
Starfield – it’s already Skyrim in space, but would you have liked it if Starfield was a stealth Fallout sequel? (Picture: Bethesda)

A lot of Starfield plans were abandoned pre-pandemic, including hints that would imply it was set in the same universe as Fallout.

If you’ve been playing Starfield since its early access launch, you’ve likely come across at least one Easter egg referencing a previous Bethesda game. The most obvious example being the adoring fan from The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion making an appearance.

As it turns out, though, despite being advertised as Bethesda’s first new IP in 25 years, Starfield was at one point planned to be a pseudo-sequel to the Fallout series or at least be set in the same universe.

That’s not how things turned out but director Todd Howard has admitted there were a lot of ideas that wound up being cut, partially thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

Is Starfield set in the same universe as Fallout?

This story does involve some light spoilers for Starfield, as it involves visiting Earth – something that can be done fairly early into the game.

If you have visited Earth already, you’ll know that it’s a complete wasteland, barring the occasional landmark, and all of humanity has long since evacuated it.

In a recent interview with Howard, The Washington Post’s Gene Park remarks how they scoured Earth to see if they could find the nuclear wasteland from Fallout 3’s depiction of Washington, D.C.

Howard admits they ‘talked about it’ within Bethesda, suggesting there could have been plans to imply Starfield’s Earth and Fallout’s Earth were one and the same.

Howard doesn’t go into any specific detail, unfortunately, only adding that a lot of plans for Starfield ‘went out the window’ over the course of development.

‘We knew we were going to rewrite parts of the engine, so we started building technology for the planets and the outer space stuff on our previous engine and renderer,’ explains Howard.

The team soon realised that they’d have to port years of work to the studio’s new game engine, Creation Engine 2 (Starfield is the first Bethesda game to make use of it), but the pandemic soon hit, forcing people to work from home.

This is also what led to Bethesda delaying the game past its initial November 2022 launch date as production became ‘very, very slow.’

Howard admits that when it chose that 2022 date, ‘We had lots of buffer and we felt really good about it’ but ‘As things moved on, we were off by a percentage, and a percentage when it comes to the scale of this game turns out to be a lot of time. We felt it was the right thing to do to give us the time we required.’

Starfield is available for Xbox Series X/S and PC.

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