It's the final days of Starfield's run-up to launch, and Bethesda has arrived at Gamescom in full force to promote it. Game director Todd Howard teased unannounced Starfield surprises at Opening Night Live, head of publishing Pete Hines told players not to skip Starfield's "activities," and now Hines is talking hour counts.
In an interview with IGN on the Gamescom show floor, Hines said that there's simply so much stuff in Starfield that he's uncomfortable assigning it a number.
"If I'm being honest, there's really not an amount of time that I'm comfortable enough [to say], 'Now you've played enough to get what this game is,'" Hines said. "I'm at 150-160 hours on my current playthrough and I haven't even come close. There is so much stuff that I have intentionally not done."
So, you can at least play Starfield for 160 hours. I think any seasoned Bethesda RPG enjoyer knows what Hines is getting at here: The Elder Scrolls and Fallout games can technically be "finished" in 20 hours or so if you stick just to the main quest, but they're best known for the quality and density of sidequests. I couldn't tell you what the main story of Skyrim is about anymore, but I can still remember a lot of the faction quests, Daedric Artifacts, and quirky weirdos I met along the way.
My 100 hours of Skyrim went by in a flash, and by the way Bethesda's been talking about Starfield as its biggest game to date, Hines' 160 hours does start to sound conservative. I'll probably lose a few of those hours just in the ship customizer. If you do end up blazing through Starfield's main quest, some good news: there's a New Game+ mode.