Starfield developer diary reveals new faction details, a robot companion and more

The official Starfield Twitter account uploaded a developer diary today, providing an update on what we can expect out of Starfield. Game director Todd Howard, design director Emil Pagliarulo, lead quest designer Will Shen, and lead artist Istvan Pely offered their insight in this six-minute video.

Bethesda seeks to avoid linearity with Starfield, allowing players to forge their path within its immersive world. Howard claims he wants to “put you in the situation where you’re going to decide” what happens rather than follow a “dotted line.”

Starfield developer diary major takeaways

Pagliarulo claims that Bethesda doesn’t “just make RPGs,” but they specifically create “simulations.” Player agency is at the core of the company’s design, often resulting in each playthrough feeling different in significant ways. Pely goes on to say, “We embrace the chaos, let it play out, and usually, it’s pretty fun.”

Howard is excited to bring elements of “older, hardcore RPGs” to Starfield, promising features like backgrounds, traits, and other stats. Pely even says that the team has “leveled up” when it comes to character creation, thanks to the implementation of real-world model scans.

Starfield is made for wanderers. See how it’s being designed to allow every player to create their own story: pic.twitter.com/eMB6IHo0nRMarch 16, 2022

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Like previous Bethesda games, Starfield will feature diverse factions, each taking inspiration from a different space idealogy. The United Colonies is an idealized representation of the “space republic.” The Freestar Collective is essentially a “space-western fantasy.” And Ryujin Industries is a mega-corporation, with Shen also offering his opinion that it has “one of the best starts of any of the factions.”

And to further solidify player agency as a core tenet of the game’s design, The Crimson Fleet (a major enemy faction in the game) can be joined by the player. Howard offered further insight, saying, “No matter what story we write, the one the players tell themselves is the one that they think about and love the most.”

The video also shows a brief clip of one of the game’s robot companions, VASCO. We get a glimpse of their design, but all they say within the video is, “Hello captain, how may I be of assistance.”

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Starfield’s persuasion system also takes a few beats from Oblivion, forcing the player to think about the risk within a conversation. Developers also wanted to avoid “a right thing to say.” Howard claims it’s “one of the most successful” new systems in their dialogue.

To top the diary off, Pagliarulo claims that the core question of Starfield is “what is out there,” promising a layer beyond just surface elements like romance and adventure, evoking a sense of wonder within the cosmos and the universe. Howard wants the player to ask the big questions, like “why are we all here, where is it leading, and what’s next for humanity.”

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