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I think they probably miss communicated this, I mean it is probably the most boring part of any game travel between 2 places. When someone says starfield I dont think - well I sure hope I can do the less than minuet long flight to and from the atmosphere
I honestly don't think they did and I can tell you why: The company completely changed vision from a vast sandbox with randomly generated dungeons and fairly simple city layouts in Daggerfall that made up for it with it's *vast* size (To this day it's the biggest map in videogame history it is literally the size of England if you just travel by foot normally) so it used fast travel liberally. Fast travel however had actual RPG mechanics to it you had to have provisions, decide if you stop at inns more safely or just camp to go faster but risk more random encounters, etc.
Then the company shifted perspective quite a bit on Morrowind: most cities are now hand built and seamless (Except for Vivec that kind of cheats a little but they made a decent in-game justification for the limitations of it) And fast travel was changed to pre-selected destinations not just "Anywhere you want" meaning that while Vvanderfell map size is relatively small for an open world game the game takes advantage of all of it by using the maps actual geography and in-game events cleverly. This is a game where you can't just click on a map and fast travel or even get a compass or map market, you have to actually read the in game dialogue for directions to get to places and actually pay attention, interact with the environment to get to some of the places and yes this includes some of the places that are essential for the main quest, game doesn't hands you anything when it comes to fast travel and traveling the map actually feels like traveling, a true exploration.
Then Todd Howard happened to Bethesda: he basically took over the company instead of being a nobody guy promoted very late in the Morrowind development to lead designer but he didn't actually design much of the game and you can tell because immediately after he radically changed Oblivion to make sure player has a compass and can fast travel just as easily as in Daggerfall, while keeping the same limitations Morrowind had on map size. And yes I'm sure is specifically him because he has been *very* vocal in interviews about this being his vision: He frequently talks about fast traveling, getting the player 'Right to the action' and he even outed himself as an ***** saying how players (meaning, him mostly) just click skip dialogue until you're told "Ah that's who I kill!" while other devs at Bethesda have confirmed he's the kind of guy who makes a barbarian type with a big sword and just runs and kills everything on sight. That's how he plays, that's how he design games and that's why since Oblivion each iteration of game he makes is more simple, has less RPG elements and stats, worst dialogue and more emphasis on fast travel. That's Todd for you and as long as he's in charge statements like the one in this story are not an accident, not a miss communication but his actual game design philosophy: He is just not the brightest bulb of the bunch.