Bethesda Exec Says It Could Take 130 Hours Just To Get Going In Starfield

Bethesda Games Studios is not a game company known for making little games. Both the Elder Scrolls series and the Fallout series consist of one massive open world after another, and even going back to the company's ancient history, The Terminator: Future Shock and Skynet games had extremely large maps with tons of optional areas to explore. It's easy to spend hundreds of hours exploring one of these games.

Well, Starfield may yet be the biggest game the company has made, at least since The Elder Scrolls Part II: Daggerfall and its impossibly-gigantic procedurally-generated regions. No matter how much you like to wander, though, you may want to consider doing the main quest first in Starfield. The reason for that is simple: because Todd Howard says you should.

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During a livestreamed appearance at Gamescom, Pete Hines—Bethesda's Head of Publishing—told a story about how, earlier in development he had been playing the game and gotten some 80 hours into a playthrough when fellow Bethesda honcho Todd Howard asked him how he liked the main quest. Hines replied that he hadn't even started on it yet, which apparently prompted an alarmed "what are you doing?" response from Howard.

According to Hines, "the game doesn't even really get going until you finish the main quest," which he says took him around 50 hours. Doing the math, we come up with a 130-hour playtime before he even "really got going" in the game. Of course, you could do the main quest without spending two full-time work weeks wandering around the massive open world in Starfield as Hines seemingly did.

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Hines went on to say that the main quest story in Starfield is his "favorite Bethesda Game Studios story," and that it also has his favorite ending. We don't know what that implies yet, of course—as Hines himself says, Bethesda has refrained from talking in any detail about the main quest of the game to avoid spoilers—but Bethesda did reveal that Starfield will be its first game with a "New Game+" mode.

With that in mind, it's possible that the main quest in Starfield is sort-of like an extended tutorial where you don't have all of the game's mechanics unlocked until you complete it. It's also possible that finishing the main quest puts you into New Game+, a fresh start on the title with all the abilities you gain during the main quest. Whatever the case, it seems clear that Starfield has a richer and more involved main quest than previous titles from the developer.