Bethesda Game Studios’ games have been praised for their expansive worlds and systems, but many have taken issue with their combat systems. This didn’t completely go away for some during various Starfield demos, but the space-faring RPG will control better than the studio’s previous games, according to director Todd Howard.
Howard claims Starfield won’t be held back by 30 frames per second
Howard went on the Kinda Funny Xcast to speak extensively about the upcoming game. When asked about Starfield’s technical performance and the backlash to its console version being stuck at 30 frames per second (while running at 4K on Xbox Series X and 1440p on Xbox Series S), Howard tried to assuage fears by emphasizing that consistency was more important.
“Ultimately, we boil it down to [us wanting] consistency,” said Howard. “The game is running great, but we don’t want players to ever think about it. We have obviously seen other games that have performance modes. We lean toward consistency overall, and we talked to our fans and hear that from everybody.”
Howard then related to this to the game’s controls and how he claims it feels great to play.
“We’re feeling really great,” said Howard. “The game feels great in your hands. And I would say that — and developers know this — there are things that you can do to make that look and feel great; things like motion blur, how fast the game refreshes or reacts to a controller input, all of those things matter to [making] something feeling great. And I can honestly say this is the best-feeling game that we’ve had.”
Howard had previously brought this up when speaking to IGN. In that interview, he talked about Starfield’s fidelity and how it is full of all sorts dynamic, detailed objects that players can interact with. He said Bethesda Game Studios locked it at 30 frames per second on consoles because it wanted that level of fidelity and interactivity, which is what makes the studio’s games “special.”
“We don’t want to sacrifice any of it,” said Howard. “Fortunately in this one, we’ve got it running great. It’s often running way above that. Sometimes it’s 60. But on the consoles, we do lock it because we prefer the consistency. Right? Where you’re not even thinking about it. And we don’t ever want to sacrifice that experience that makes our games feel really, really special. So feels great. We’re really happy with how it feels even in the heat of battle. And we need that headroom because in our games, really anything can happen.
Howard also debunked the very shaky rumor in the interview that Doom Eternal developer id Software helped Bethesda Game Studios with the combat. It’s likely that some believed that due to id’s proficiency with first-person shooters and Bethesda’s rocky history making shooting mechanics.
This all comes on the heels of Redfall, another first-party Xbox game, not launching with a Performance Mode on consoles. However, according to Digital Foundry (which Howard praised during the Kinda Funny interview), Redfall mostly seems to hold at 30 frames per second.