Video Games

Can You Fly Between Starfield’s Planets Without Fast Travel?

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The surface of a Starfield planet. Can you travel between planets in real time, without fast travel?

Starfield has more planets than you can shake a lightsaber at, even though only a fraction of them are inhabited. And it’s pretty cool to take off from your planet, soaring off into the cosmos. Plus, you can fast travel to other planets and even other solar systems. But what if you want to ditch the gravity drive and chill out on your way to your next destination? You might be wondering, can you fly between Starfield’s planets without fast travel? I’ve got the answer.

How Traveling Between Planets in Starfield Works

Arriving at a planet

Unfortunately, if you were hoping for a No Man’s Sky style experience, the answer is basically no. You can take off from a planet, channel full power to your engines, and when you fly back around, the planet will still be looming behind you. Keeping one eye on my PC and another on AMC’s The Terror (I wonder if Starfield has space cannibalism?) I spent a couple of hours trying to move away from the planet I’d taken off from. According to my distance meter, I’d barely moved.

However, if you’re prepared to put in a ridiculous amount of time you can, sort of, reach other planets without fast travel. Why sort of? Because game writer and journalist Alanah Pearce spent a ridiculous seven hours traveling towards Pluto and ended up clipping through the strangely low resolution planet. 

So what happened? As Kotaku notes, this proves that the game doesn’t just use skyboxes. But the blurriness of Pluto (it took Pearce another five hours to clip through it) suggests that something else was going on. 

My take is that each planet has its own zone, each containing a copy of the solar system. The planet or planets closest to you are properly rendered but the more distant ones have low textures. The planet Pearce reached perhaps wasn’t the ‘real’ Pluto, but a copy Bethesda never intended her to reach. 

Whatever the mechanics behind it, the answer to whether you can fly between Starfield’s planets without fast travel is, effectively, no. But if you are prepared to put in a silly amount of time you can reach a wonky approximation. 

If you’d like to know how to travel between planets in Starfield the proper way, though, check out our guide on the subject.

KEEP READING: Starfield Modders Are Already Getting Ready to Patch the Game

About the author

Chris McMullen
Freelance contributor at The Escapist. I've returned to writing about games after a couple of career changes, with my recent stint lasting five-plus years. I hope, through my writing work, to settle the karmic debt I incurred by persuading my parents to buy a Mega CD. Aside from writing for The Escapist, I also cover news and more for GameSpew. I've also been published at other sites including VG247, Space, and more. My tastes run to horror, the post-apocalyptic, and beyond, though I'll tackle most things that aren't exclusively sports-based.