Starfield is a dream come true for many sci-fi fans, especially those with an affinity for spaceships. Interestingly enough, Starfield’s spaceship enemy AI was too smart during development, leading Bethesda to significantly dumb it down.
Bethesda boss and Starfield director Todd Howard discussed how hard it was to balance enemy AI while speaking with The AIAS Game Maker's Notebook Podcast (via GameSpot). Howard says that testing periods with more balanced enemy AI just led to ‘jousting,’ before realizing that they just needed to make enemy pilots stupid.
"It turns out you have to make the AI really stupid,” Howard explained. “You have to have them fly, they need to turn and basically be like: 'Hey, player one, you can just shoot me for a while.' And then you give the AI tools where the player can see: 'Oh, he's boosting away, I can do that.'"
This kind of discussion is definitely interesting since difficulty can either be a nonfactor or everything to gamers. It’s how games like Dark Souls gained an audience, as hardcore players gravitated toward the challenging enemies. Obviously, Starfield was never going to be known for being a hard game, so fans don’t mind having some dumb enemies.
Still, there’s no denying that players would like challenging spaceship battles since they can be exhilarating. After all, Starfield has proven to be a title for the spaceship connoisseur, with endless customisation options that lead to some fun results. Various players have even made ships based on Star Wars and Firefly, among other sci-fi media.
Beyond combat, spaceships are also used for traveling to various planets and they can lead to fun results. While players can get into battles, they can also have some really fun encounters with various NPCs. It’s an excuse to not always use fast travel, that’s for sure.
Starfield is now available on Xbox Series and PC.