Bethesda has released a new deep dive video on Starfield called “Made for Wanderers,” in which Game Director Todd Howard, Design Director Emil Pagliarulo, Lead Quest Designer Will Shen and Lead Artist Istvan Pely sit down and discuss a variety of topics including factions, persuasion checks, companions and more.
The video starts off with the developers talking about how creating a truly immersive open world is very important to them. Istvan says that they want us to feel like we’re not playing a game, but that we’re “living in this world, in this universe.” Howard also says that as much as possible they want to put the player “in the situation where you’re going to decide [what to do].”
The four continue talking about how they make games that are simulations, where anything can happen at any time:
Will Shen: Yeah, we always have those big fights like, “What if combat breaks out right now?” You have to handle that right? Because it could. You can’t control it. The only thing you can control is that the game has to account for it somehow.
Istvan Pely: We embrace the chaos, let it play out, and usually it’s pretty fun.
The conversation then shifts to character building, with Todd Howard talking about going back to that classic RPG character building, but updating it into a new form that players can have fun with:
Todd Howard: A lot of us have been doing this for a long time together, and it’s nice with Starfield to go back to some things we didn’t do – the backgrounds, the traits, defining your character, all those stats. I think there’s so many games now that do those things that people are ready for something that does a lot of the things that older hardcore RPGs, something we used to do, doing those again in a new way.
Starfield will also allow players to create truly unique characters like never before. New technology is being used along with scans of real world models to create player characters and NPCs that look truly realistic and feel like we “are a real person interacting with real people.”
Of course, once you build your character, you need to decide where in the world to start, and there will be a number of different factions for you to start your adventure with. Will Shen explains the different starting factions that you can choose and what they represent:
Will Shen: We always make a bunch of different groups that represent some of the major factions in every game, and in this one we’ve got the United Colonies, that represents the future of space republic realized. You also have the Freestar Collective, which is the space western fantasy. People that are out there on the frontier. We’ve got Ryujin Industries which represents corporate life.
Shen says that he believes that Ryujin Industries probably has the best start of any of the factions, as you start by being hired by a megacorporation and having to prove you have what it takes. There are also “bad guy” factions such as the pirates of the Crimson Fleet that players can join if they wish. You can also choose to be a bad guy if you want, or choose to play undercover and report back to your superiors as sort of a “space cop.” In this way you can play a good character and still play with the bad guys.
Bethesda is also putting a real emphasis on making memorable companions to join the player on their adventures. One of these companions, VASCO, is shown in the video and looks to be some kind of loader robot of some kind. He turns to the player and greets them, saying, “Hello, Captain. How may I be of assistance?” Your companions in Starfield will react to you in different ways depending on your actions, or may say things that relate to your surroundings in a realistic manner, thus increasing the immersion.
The last thing discussed in the video was conversations with NPCs and specifically being able to persuade them. The new system shares a few beats with Oblivion’s old persuasion minigame, but is not necessarily a direct evolution to it. The new system wasn’t shown, but Will Shen said that they “didn’t want a system where there was definitely the right thing to say.” It will apparently “feel like a conversation where you’re actually trying to persuade somebody of something,” Howard said. He goes on to say that this dialogue system is one of the most successful that they’ve had.
Starfield arrives exclusively on Xbox Series X|S and PC on November 11th, 2022, and will be on Game Pass day one.