Starfield Ship AI Was Intentionally Made Stupid, Claims Todd Howard

Difficulty Toned Down To Offer Accessible Experience!

After many years of development, Bethesda launched the sci-fi RPG Starfield to critical and commercial acclaim, being played by more than 10 million players in less than a full month.

The game has received praise for various aspects, such as the massive world consisting of more than 1,000 planets, the RPG mechanics, and more. However, the space combat has received some criticism for being too easy.

A major part of this lack of difficulty comes from the unimpressive AI, but director Todd Howard claims that the AI was dumbed down on purpose to ensure an enjoyable experience for the players.

Why it matters: Many gamers have criticized games for being too easy in the past, claiming that the experience is not engaging when enemies offer little resistance.

During a recent podcast, Todd Howard provided insights into the game’s development process.

He revealed that Bethesda took about one year for bug fixes, ensuring a pleasant experience at launch. Reducing the AI difficulty was also part of the goal to ensure the best experience for players.

Todd Howard explained that it is not difficult to make enemies that are competitive and push players to their limits. However, this can lead to frustration if players are constantly barraged with attacks.

He believes the solution to this problem is to make enemy AI really stupid. Todd Howard said:

“They need to turn and basically be like hey player why don’t you shoot me for a while.”

The director also emphasized the need to telegraph mechanics through AI enemies, allowing players to learn from certain actions throughout the game.


The approach of AI enemies taking turns to attack has become common across the industry, and Bethesda’s approach helps explain why several games rely on more lenient AI instead of challenging their players.

While many claim that it leads to boring gameplay, it has worked in the past, and Bethesda sought to stick with this formula for Starfield.

The studio aimed to create an easy-to-use space combat system that would not require players to learn complicated systems. Therefore, the AI required several adjustments throughout development.

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