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We got an extended look at Starfield’s universe thanks to the showcase stream (part of the Xbox Games Showcase) and the 50 minutes of content down were extremely impressive.

Front and center was the big number everyone wanted to know: how many planets are there? Over 1,000 is the answer, with the team claiming to have a “simulated galaxy” ready to explore. But as No Man’s Sky proved at launch, there’s no good having an empty universe.

Starfield scanning the planet Porrima IV-c

Starfield lets you learn a lot about a planet before you land.

Thankfully, that shouldn’t be a worry here, as the team explained how they generated each planet. Each planet is procedurally generated with terrain, atmosphere, and resources, then a selection of hand-crafted content is placed into it. This could be anything, like an abandoned outpost with suffocated skeletons, a pirate stash filled with loot, or a facility housing people who you can talk to and get quests from.

What's more is that because of how they're generated, each planet will be different in every playthrough.

Before you even land, you’ll be able to scan a planet to see things like whether or not it has life, what resources can be gathered, and any key locations you may want to visit. If it’s a highly civilized planet, you may even be subject to scans yourself to check you’re not smuggling any illegal goods.

It hopes to ensure that every planet is worth visiting at different times for different reasons and bring the galaxy to life in the charming way that only Bethesda can.

Starfield releases on Xbox Series X/S and PC on September 6, 2023.