The only thing better than Skyrim is modded Skyrim. From Oblivion to Fallout 4, Bethesda games have proved themselves to be the perfect starting point for modding. Even the most talented modders have their limits, however. Each game’s engine and technical limits make creating certain mods impossible. Starfield is brand new, and Bethesda has yet to release a Creation Kit for it. As such, players are still learning the game’s limits, and it will be some time before we know for certain what’s actually possible. There’s no telling yet whether a few of the following mods would be difficult but achievable. With luck, the modding community will work its magic.
Unlike Skyrim and other Bethesda titles, Starfield features huge empty territories that require the player to travel for quite some time before arriving at a Point of Interest. Since using one’s ship isn’t an option, all that remains is hoofing it there on foot. There are two problems with that. First, running everywhere is slow and gets boring. Second, land vehicles would make travel that much more immersive and enjoyable. That said, it’s unclear if mods will be able to add land vehicles to Starfield. Even if the game’s engine supports them, it seems likely that they would be janky at best. A hover option would be great to deal with the game’s procedurally generated terrain, but frankly, anything would be better than walking. Let’s hope the modding community can figure it out.
In No Man’s Sky and other space sims, it’s possible to takeoff from a planet’s surface, breach the atmosphere, and transition seamlessly into space. Starfield is a sci-fi RPG, not a space sim, however. Bethesda’s title cares more about conveying a satisfying and cinematic RPG experience than it does emulating actual space travel. That said, atmospheric flight works wonders for immersion, so it’s not surprising that some players are begging for it. Though it would undoubtedly add a great deal to the flight experience, atmospheric flight is high on the list of technical impossibilities. That’s due to the limitations of Starfield’s engine as well as the quirks of procedural generation. Time will tell if any version of this feature is feasible, but don’t hold your breath.
Starfield and The Elder Scrolls are both solo experiences designed with one player in mind. That hasn’t stopped modders from expanding TES to enable online co-op. Doing so was arguably one of the most impressive technical achievements of Bethesda’s modding community, and it’s evidence that Starfield co-op might could work in theory. As with many issues related to Starfield, the problem here is procedural generation. Whereas Skyrim has a single consistent map for players to share, Starfield generates new areas dynamically. Tackling that problem to ensure that multiple players could exist in the same space is no small feat. Only time can tell whether it’s doable at all.
New locations take a lot of work to add, but they’re some of the most popular mods when they’re done right. After all, new locations typically mean new NPCs and quests, extending already long games that much more. Adding a new lair, outpost, or city to a static map is one thing. Adding new locations to a procedurally generated map is another. You can’t add new areas to Starfield as simply as you would for Fallout 3. How big a barrier procedural generation is for modders remains to be seen, but there’s no question that it will pose unique challenges. Starfield, more than any other Bethesda title, begs for new locations. With 1,000+ planets to explore, modders will never run out of room to work.
Improved Loading Screens
Tolerance for loading screens varies widely between players. Some players, particularly those used to older games, don’t mind lengthy loading screens with nothing but a black background to stare at. Others hate even brief interruptions and prefer loading screens to be hidden when they can’t be removed. Loading times in Starfield are short, typically just a second or two. Unfortunately, they’re also plentiful, and that impacts immersion. Removing them and enabling seamless transitions is probably impossible. The best-case scenario is a mod that hides loading screens with a brief animation or cutscene, but it’s unclear how feasible that is.
Starfield is available for the PC and Xbox Series X/S.