We knew Starfield (opens in new tab) wouldn't be making a proper appearance at the Bethesda E3 2019 (opens in new tab) conference, but we did get some new information on the game from an unlikely source: a sit-down between Bethesda boss Todd Howard, E3 Coliseum (opens in new tab) producer Geoff Keighley, and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. In particular, as our friends at PC Gamer (opens in new tab) reported, Howard discussed how space travel works in Starfield - and how perilous it can be.
"Traveling in space in our game, I want to say it's like flight in the '40s, like it's dangerous," Howard said. "It's still dangerous to go and explore, even though lots of people do it." But while the risks of space travel in Starfield are comparable to early flight, Howard also stressed that the game is set in the far future. And if you're worried that Starfield will be a technical sim like Kerbal Space Program - which is a great game, but not everyone's bag - put those worries to rest. Howard also said "we have to gamify it some so that it's not as punishing as actual space travel."
We still don't know much about Starfield, but we do know it's a single-player sci-fi RPG, not a hyper-realistic space sim. So while space travel will clearly be a critical part of Starfield, I don't think managing your hull's interior, rationing fuel, calculating return orbits, or similar technical details will be a big part of the game. My impression is that Starfield will present players with hazards to avoid and risks to manage without overwhelming them with dials and resources. I'm picturing air locks, solar flares, asteroid collisions and things like that, but that's just speculation on my part.
Whatever Starfield has in store for us in the great vacuum of space, we won't find out for a few years at least. Bethesda is actively working on Starfield and parts of it are even playable at the company, but Howard has repeatedly advised players to be "very, very patient" when it comes to Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 (opens in new tab).
Here are all the E3 2019 games (opens in new tab) which were shown this year.