Starfield Dev Suggests Smaller May Have Been Better

If, while exploring Starfield’s vast, planet-filled galaxy, you’ve felt at times that its size and sheer number of possible destinations may actually be too much for the game’s own good, well, it sounds like some folks who were part of the development team may agree with you. Hindsight is 20/20, after all.

Starfield has around 1,000 procedurally generated planets to explore. There are definitely some interesting areas to find, but much of that terrain feels largely empty. In an interview with MinnMax (thanks GamesRadar), former Bethesda employee Bruce Nesmith, who worked on Starfield as senior systems designer, talked about the decision to make Starfield’s galaxy so massive, as opposed to smaller and more focused in scope.

In the interview, Nesmith said that player expectations around the size of Bethesda’s open-world games influenced the team to opt for this approach. The argument was made that once the team had successfully established the foundation for the game’s design philosophy in one solar system, replicating those ideas across dozens more wouldn’t add that much to the workload.

“[Game director Todd Howard] pretty much pulled the number 100 for the number of solar systems out of thin air,” Nesmith said, “but the more we went on, the more it was like, ‘OK, so all core activity takes place in these two dozen in the settled systems and the rest of it is open space, but people love our big games. They love that open area to explore, so let’s go ahead and let ‘em have it’.”


Nesmith went on to describe how developing Starfield, like any other game, was about making compromises to the original vision, and that meant more crafted areas came at the expense of player freedom and exploration, such as allowing you to build your own spacecraft and traverse a huge, expansive galaxy. While the space is bigger, Nesmith says this may have come at the expense of more meaningful things to find within it.

“I think some of the exploration stuff didn’t come through as well as it could’ve because they decided to make other choices,” he says. “And never misunderstand this. In every game studio on the face of this planet, they know the choices they’re making. They know the things that are not going to be in there. They know what the players are going to moan about. But you got to make the hard choice.”

Hopefully whatever lessons Bethesda has learned in making Starfield will be implemented in the upcoming Elder Scrolls VI. Given that the series is in a fantasy setting, it’s likely to be somewhat less vast than Starfield, so maybe it can better capture that sense of exploration without it being so full of empty, inconsequential dead space in between all the good stuff.

Gears of War Creator Suggests Series Needs ‘A Bit Of A Reboot’

Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski thinks the series needs to be rebooted and get the same treatment Sony gave God of War in 2018. And he’s willing to help consult on that theoretical reboot if it happens. For Gears fans who haven’t had a new game in the main series for nearly four years, that might sound like a tempting offer.

The original Gears of War and its two sequels were developed by Epic and released between 2006 and 2011 on the Xbox 360. (A spin-off, Judgement, was co-developed by Epic and then-subsidiary studio People Can Fly and released in 2013.) The third-person cover shooters featuring big dudes with chainsaw guns fighting weird bug-people was one of Xbox’s biggest franchises. However, after the original Xbox 360 trilogy and spin-off, Epic went off to do Fortnite and Microsoft created a whole new studio, The Coalition, which took over the series, developed two more sequels, and helped with some spin-offs.

And while many assume a sixth game is coming, eventually, the last main entry—Gears 5—was released in September 2019. The game reviewed well and even outsold Gears of War 4. Since then, we’ve not heard any official word about a Gears of War 6 and now the franchise’s creator thinks it’s time to press the reset button.

In a recent interview with, Bleszinski was asked if he would ever return to the world of Gears of War, maybe to write a new story for a possible comic book set in the universe. Bleszinski seemed open to coming back to help, but suggested partially rebooting the game franchise instead.

“I believe [Gears of War] needs a little bit of a reboot, like God of War had,” Bleszinski said. “And I’ve always said, [Xbox Boss] Phil Spencer has my number, I’m happy to consult. Gears will always be near and dear to my heart.”

Bleszinski further added that, after drinking a mimosa or two, he sometimes goes on YouTube and rewatches “key cut scenes” from past Gears of War games, including the scene where (spoilers for Gears of War 3) Dom sacrifices himself to save the rest of the squad.

Dark Shadows Production / Xbox / Epic

“Reading the comments on those cut scenes from Gears of War when Dom dies, people are like, ‘I had to put the controller down, my friend and I just sat there silenced and stunned.’ For people to actually get tattoos of something that you made on their bodies is the most flattering thing.”

The Gears of War creator also explained that one of the things he’s creatively most proud of is his decision to kill off Dom, who he called a broken man who needed to go out with a meaningful sacrifice.

“It’s just become, in my opinion, one of the most powerful scenes in gaming history,” Bleszinski said. “I’m so very, very proud of it. Just to know that I reached through that screen and that controller and could affect people in a good way and make a lot of them just stop and even tear up means the fucking world to me. Gears Nation, I’ll always love you guys.”

When the interviewer mentioned to Bleszinski that he was 10 years old when he played Gears of War 3 and Dom’s death was the first scene in a video game to ever make him cry, the Gears creator was touched and responded: “That means a fucking lot to me, even though I’m wearing a shirt that says, ‘I eat ass’ in Japanese.”


Overwatch 2 Leak Suggests You Can Play New Tank This Weekend

Overwatch 2’s new tank hero will be playable this weekend, at least that’s what a post on the Nintendo eShop says.

According to the news post, Mauga, OW2’s 39th hero, will be playable during a limited-time trial starting later today, November 3. The trial will run through November 5. Blizzard was likely planning on announcing the Mauga trial during BlizzCon, which kicks off today, but the Switch listing has spoiled that and the new hero’s abilities, too.


Mauga (which translates to Mountain in Samoan) is a giant of a man who specializes in close-range battles. Mauga’s kit includes two chainguns named “Gunny” and “Cha-Cha.” Gunny can deal burning damage to enemies while Cha-Cha delivers a “finishing blow.” He’s also got a passive ability called Berserker that gives him temporary health whenever he deals critical damage to his enemies.

Read More: Overwatch 2 One Year Later: Why Am I Still Doing This?

Mauga also has a charge ability called Overrun that “cannot be stopped by any crowd control abilities, and stomps into opponents dealing a powerful knockback.” The store page also reveals Mauga has a pseudo-support ability called Cardiac Overdrive that “engage both of his hearts” (weird) “and create an aura that reduces incoming damage, allowing allies to heal themselves while dealing damage.”

By far the scariest part of Mauga’s toolkit is his ultimate ability, Cage Fight. Cage Fight will trap nearby enemies in a “cylindrical fighting ring” while its barrier blocks enemy damage and healing. If you get trapped in one of these, your whole squad gets to watch as Mauga stomps your ass in.

“If you can’t take him down quickly, the last thing you might see is his charming smile,” Blizzard wrote in the news post.

Although Mauga’s existence has been a bit of an open secret among players (he’s in a couple of Baptiste shorts) it wasn’t clear when he would debut—and players may not have expected it to be so soon. Mauga’s imminent release is the latest in Blizzard’s efforts to keep the popular hero shooter well-fed with new heroes, game modes, and story content. Counting Mauga, the shooter has added six new heroes since the game launched in October 2022.

Kotaku reached out to Blizzard for comment.

Be sure to leave a candle out for your support players this weekend for anyone playing against Mauga. We’re gonna need it.