ROCKVILLE, Md. — According to a former Bethesda Softworks developer, Starfield took around 10 years to create because the company only had one PC capable of running the game at a stable frame rate: a PC that they had to pass around and share between nearly 500 employees.
Michelle Lerner, 46, served as a gameplay programmer on Starfield until frustrations with the development process led her to leave the company.
“There was only one massive computer that would run the game,” Lerner claims. “It weighed over a thousand pounds. [Game Director] Todd [Howard] would personally drive a forklift around the office to deliver it between workstations. He also said he’d be able to move it without the forklift, but his muscles were too sore from carrying the whole company on his back.”
Lerner describes the PC itself as a Frankensteinian amalgamation of unreleased, highly experimental AMD hardware, cannibalized, fused-together casing stolen from the Fallout 76 devs’ PCs, and a liquid nitrogen cooler hooked directly into the office’s central air system. There were rumors circulating that Todd Howard personally stole the PC’s power supply from a decommissioned NASA space shuttle during one of his research trips. The result was a Buick-sized computer that roared like a 747 prepping for takeoff.
A current Bethesda developer who wished to remain anonymous refused to corroborate Howard’s space-related kleptomania but did acknowledge the PC’s existence, referring to it by its office-wide nickname, “Miraak the Destroyer.” Through gasping tears the employee admitted that he witnessed a gory incident in which the PC tipped over, crushing an intern’s skull.
“I heard this hellish creaking, like Cthulhu’s bones being scraped against a radiator,” explained the anonymous employee. “Then I turned and saw Miraak fall on top of what’s-his-face. It was horrifying. We could have lost so much data, but thankfully the data was okay.”
PC Gamers worldwide have expressed frustration with Starfield’s lack of optimization on average rigs, noting that without mods the game runs about as smoothly as Bubsy 3D. But Todd Howard believes that gamers should be willing to invest two to three thousand dollars in a machine capable of running Starfield.
“When we set out to make Starfield over a decade ago, we wanted to design a truly next-gen experience,” Todd Howard said. “But as time progressed, our concept of next-gen game design quickly became several generations old. To counteract that fact we flooded the game with complex environmental models and seemingly infinite expanses of nothingness. And that much nothing takes 64 gigs of RAM to load.”