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Starfield planets might not let us fly to them freely, theory claims

Starfield planet exploration will be epic for Xbox owners, but one theory claims the Bethesda space RPG's open-world might be slightly restrictive.

Starfield planet exploration

Setting course for a new realm among the stars will be the bread and butter of Starfield, with a breathtaking amount of worlds to uncover. Starfield planets are likely going to contain a myriad of mysteries but travelling to them could be an enigma in itself. As the Starfield Direct showcase draws closer for Xbox owners, a new theory posits that Starfield’s open-world exploration may take on a different approach.

Within the first glimpses of Starfield, we’ve seen spaceships traverse the vast darkness of space, encountering new Starfield planets and Starfield companions along the way. Bethesda fan ‘Le_Botmes’ theorises on the game’s subreddit that “interplanetary travel will be via [the] Star Map, not by flying there.” Despite footage of the game showcasing the ability to pilot spacecraft on the way to undiscovered locations, the Redditor believes that Starfield won’t take on a No Man’s Sky approach to navigating the galaxy.

No Man’s Sky allows players to travel in real-time to the game’s procedurally generated planets, which could take hours to complete without using the game’s Hyperdrive function.

Using screenshots from Starfield itself, the Redditor claims that “‘Set Course’ means ‘Grav Jump’ to [your] specified planet. You cannot fly there at sub-light speed, because each planet’s orbital space is a distinct location separated by load screens.” Additionally, this theory alleges that the game’s “solar system is not one large ‘space’. It’s broken down by individual planets and moons, and they’re diegetically too far away from each other for rocket thrusters.”

Interplanetary Travel will be via Star Map, not by Flying There
by u/Le_Botmes in Starfield

However, players anticipating Starfield’s enormous open-world aren’t so sure that this theory is on the money. “I would expect interstellar travel to be done as hubs. We see some flying around in space too, and it doesn’t look like it’s done just in orbit of each planet,” says ‘MomoAvatar1‘.

Others believe that the Grav Jump feature could simply be a fast travel mechanic, making planetary revisits easier in the long run, once they’ve been discovered initially. Starfield fan ‘TJDIndustries’ adds “We’ve seen two different points in the gameplay trailer. There was a planet (or moon) and another planet with rings around it. This could be a fast travel method for all we know.”

Bringing No Man’s Sky back into the spotlight, the same Redditor believes that Starfield will abide by the same limits that the Hello Games space RPG abides by: “I think we’ll have to warp between galaxies […] we won’t be able to just fly there […] every space lore in history involves jumping/lightspeed/hyperspace/slipspace/warp drive etc. Even No Man’s Sky limits this.”

Of course, this is purely speculatively, meaning we’ll have to see what the Starfield Direct showcase yields as we approach the long-awaited Starfield release date. While we wait for Bethesda to clarify our planetary adventures, dive into the Xbox Game Pass May 2023 games roster for something to keep you occupied until then.