Starfield will not include seamless travel where players can take off from a planet and fly up to space which could be a good thing for accessibility and approachability. Speaking to IGN (via Eurogamer) Bethesda Game Studios’ Todd Howard detailed that players won’t be able to fly seamlessly from space to any of the planets in the game.
According to Howard, the feature isn’t “that important to the player” and it was decided early on that “the on-surface is one reality, and then when you’re in space it’s another reality.”
Additionally, Howard explained that flight combat is inspired by the likes of FTL and MechWarrior which would point to a mixture of ship management and free manoeuvrability of the ship. We saw an example of the space flight in action during the gameplay reveal at the Xbox Bethesda Showcase which looks to be similar to Star Wars Squadrons from my personal comparison.
While it seems as if separating flight and grounded exploration into two realities was done because it’s “not that important” to players, it can also point to being a good thing for accessibility and approachability.
The fact that players in Starfield wouldn’t have to engage in any complicated take-off travel procedures could be good for mobility accessibility for example. Meanwhile, the fact players may not experience the perspective, motion blurring, and camera shaking of leaving and entering the atmosphere of a planet may be good for cognitive approachability.
As for the flight combat, I’m personally not keen on the whole 360º space combat gameplay, so I would hope that the space reality is one I can opt in and out of where I see fit. I’d much prefer to explore the over 1000 planets available in Starfield than spin around in circles amongst the stars.
At the moment, Starfield accessibility has not been detailed, however, we did run an analysis on the lengthy gameplay video that was shown during the showcase.