Todd Howard Talks About the Reasons for Absence of Ground Vehicles in Starfield

Conditions that make sense?

By GamesRecon

With the highly anticipated release of Bethesda’s latest game, Starfield, fans have been ravenously consuming every snippet of information about this spacefaring adventure. One aspect, however, has left players scratching their heads: Why are there no ground vehicles for exploring the game’s intricate planets?

Bethesda’s Executive Producer and Starfield Director Todd Howard recently sat down for an interview with Bloomberg to discuss the decision. Scroll down to the end of the article to watch the full interview, and skip to the 3:00 mark for Howard’s thoughts on the matter.

A Deliberate Design Decision

When Bloomberg Technology co-host Ed Ludlow inquired about the glaring absence of any form of ground transportation, Howard explained that it was a choice driven by the vision for the game. Bethesda had considered including ground vehicles, but Howard stated that “it would alter the player experience.”

By focusing on foot traversal, Howard argues that developers gain a higher degree of control over when and how players encounter points of interest on the planets. This apparently intentional absence allows for a more curated exploration experience, where every hill climbed or cave entered comes with its own sense of discovery.

Vehicles Aren’t Entirely Absent

It’s not that Starfield is entirely devoid of vehicles—far from it. Howard pointed out that interplanetary travel will be facilitated by spaceships. However, these are less about exploring a specific planet’s environment and more about journeying through the broader Starfield universe.

What players do have, as a kind of middle ground (again, no pun intended), is an upgradable jetpack. This will allow for rapid movement and the ability to reach difficult places, serving a function similar to what a ground vehicle would offer without compromising the vision the developers had for planetary exploration.

Gravity Plays a Role

Interestingly, Howard also touched upon the unique gravitational pulls of Starfield’s various planets. Although this might not seem directly related to ground vehicles, it does suggest that planetary traversal will be far from monotonous. Different gravitational conditions could offer new challenges and opportunities for exploration, making each planet a unique sandbox.

The Future of Ground Vehicles in Starfield

While Howard didn’t entirely close the door on the potential inclusion of ground vehicles at some later point—perhaps through a DLC expansion or an update—he did emphasize that their absence was a deliberate design choice. As such, if you’re waiting for the day you can hop into a rover to explore alien worlds in Starfield, you may be waiting for a while—or perhaps indefinitely.

So while some fans might be disappointed by the lack of ground-based joyrides, it appears that Bethesda has thought deeply about how to make exploration both rewarding and diverse, from the humble foot journey to the grandeur of interplanetary travel.