Does Starfield Require Fast Travel? Streamer Tests Theory In 7-Hour Flight To Pluto

pluto pixelated
Starfield technically isn't even out yet—the full release is tomorrow—and yet people are already unraveling all of its secrets. One of the criticisms of the game is that it is extremely reliant on fast travel. That is to say that, if you're one of the players who liked to walk everywhere in Skyrim or Oblivion, perhaps even using a mod to specifically disable fast travel and its associated map markers, you won't appreciate Starfield's reliance on the technique, as you really can't traverse to new areas at all.

Instead, if you want to travel from planet to space, or from space to planet, or from "region of space" to another "region of space", you really have to fast travel there. There's no alternative; even if you're going from a planet to its moon or vice versa, you have to fast travel because the game has no mechanism to allow you to move directly between worldspaces, or "cells" in Bethesda engine terminology. Indeed, even stepping into a building from the street requires a loading screen because that is a separate game engine space.

Despite this, some players have insisted that you could in fact fly between planets. After all, you can see the planets and moons in the distance when you're flying around in space—even when it doesn't really make sense, as the planet in question is many light-seconds or even AUs away. Well, to test that theory, Twitch streamer charalanahzard flew to Pluto while lying in bed, a nearly seven-hour flight (interrupted by her controller shutting off several times) that she livestreamed the whole way.

Well, you can watch the clip if you want, but to spoil the surprise for you, she did eventually reach the surface of Pluto—and then phased directly through it. At about 7:34:41 in the VOD, you can see her reach the 0-meters mark where her ship appears to pause for a moment, the VFX for her thrusters glitches out, and then she appears on the other side of the flat graphic that represents the planet.

Indeed, as we stated in the intro, if you want to land on a planet, you've got to fast travel there. Flying nearby doesn't actually do anything for you besides waste a whole bunch of time. While this isn't great for immersion, Starfield really never attempts to be a simulator of any kind; it's not aiming for immersion, but rather its own style of gameplay carried over from other Bethesda titles.

Surveying strange planets' flora and fauna is just one of many activities.

In other words, there's plenty of fun to be had in Starfield—you just have to accept that you're going to need to play it the way it wants to be played: with menus and fast-travel teleports instead of immersive interactions. Planet-landings and takeoffs, entering and exiting shops, harvesting materials; it's all done through menus and scripted cutscenes, not manual control.

As long as you're fine with that, there's quite a bit to do in Bethesda's new game. You can set up outposts on planets and moons to harvest materials and manufacture items for you, and the outpost construction and management are like a better version of Fallout 4's settlement system. You can be a space trucker, a galactic pirate, or just follow the main story and unlock the secrets of Constellation's relics.


The available activities will only expand with mods, too. Very smart guys have already gotten a Script Extender working for Starfield. If you're not familiar with Bethesda game modding, this program wraps the game in a memory-hooking mod that allows in-engine scripts to observe and modify more than the game's regular scripting functions normally allow. Script extenders are the backbone of the most popular mods for Elder Scrolls and Fallout, and the announcement of "SFSE" availability this early is promising for the game's modding scene.
Tags:  Gaming, twitch, starfield