Todd Howard says Starfield criticism is "perfectly understandable" as the RPG is a "different experience" to Bethesda's other games - but not everyone agrees

Starfield gameplay trailer vista
(Image credit: Bethesda)

Todd Howard says Starfield's criticism is "perfectly understandable" as the RPG is a "different experience" to Bethesda's other games. 

In an interview with Kinda Funny Games, Howard discusses what the studio learned from Starfield and its mixed response from fans. When asked how he, and the rest of the team, felt about Starfield's initial reception, Howard said: "On the review side, we've been through this, so it's not new to us." He continues: "What's new is it's a new IP, so you know that we're going to be doing some things differently than we've done before."

"Obviously, we had people who loved the game, both on the review side and people who liked it less." The developer then touches on Starfield's average review score, which currently sits at 83 on Metacritic. "Look, that's great, I don't want ever be in a world where that is not a great place to be in terms of critical reception - particularly in a year where there are so many amazing games out," he explains.

Talking about specific complaints players and critics had of Starfield upon release, Howard adds: "We see the feedback, we see a lot of players saying 'this is what I want out of a Bethesda game, which is to explore a world in a certain way, and Starfield didn't give me that. I prefer the way it's done in Fallout or Elder Scrolls' and perfectly understandable, right? In terms of 'hey, this is a different experience.'"

Howard elaborates: "Knowing that content is going to be different than you've seen from us in the past when you're exploring a landscape, and that's some of the trade-offs we'll make to do what we think makes a science fiction game like this [...] and each of the franchises should kind of be its own thing."

Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with Howard on this. Responding to PC Gamer's story, Twitter users didn't hold back from sharing their opinions on Starfield. "Somehow I don't think that was the reason," one user shared. "NARRATOR: It wasn’t," another jokes. "I haven't played Starfield but these seem close to the opposite of the complaints I've seen about it," says someone else. 

Elsewhere in the same interview, Todd Howard says Fallout: New Vegas "is a very, very important game to us" and that it's "hard to canonize" for the TV show.

In more positive news, Starfield is getting its biggest update since launch with a 60FPS performance mode, proper surface maps, and new gameplay options.

Hope Bellingham
News Writer

After studying Film Studies and Creative Writing at university, I was lucky enough to land a job as an intern at Player Two PR where I helped to release a number of indie titles. I then got even luckier when I became a Trainee News Writer at GamesRadar+ before being promoted to a fully-fledged News Writer after a year and a half of training.  My expertise lies in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, cozy indies, and The Last of Us, but especially in the Kingdom Hearts series. I'm also known to write about the odd Korean drama for the Entertainment team every now and then.