Todd Howard says Starfield is channelling ‘older hardcore RPGs’

A new Starfield Dev Diary discusses

Some of the game’s major factions and elements of the experience, and then, in a moment destined to be remembered forever, Todd Howard says, “Why are we all here?” We’re here to watch another talking head video illustrated with concept art and clips from old games for a product apparently set to launch in eight months, Todd. Sorry: there are new shots of Starfield, about ten seconds when they start talking about companions (video with timestamp). Definitely looks like Skyrim in space! By the way, the funniest thing about this dev diary is when they start talking about the chat system in Oblivion and illustrate it with a clip from Skyrim. You had one job.

The main takeaway from this generalized discussion is

That they take a closer look at character creation and backstory. Todd Howard talks about it in the context of going back to “some things we didn’t do”. [in older games]: backstory, traits that define your character, all of those characteristics.” Starfield is aiming for “a lot of the old hardcore RPGs that we did before, doing it again in a new way.” There’s the briefest of mentions that NPCs are harder to convince, which honestly could mean anything. More specific is the talk about the various ways people live in this galaxy: the studio has already discussed playable factions before, but here it adds a few more tidbits.

“In this, we have the United Colonies, which represent a future space republic, idealized,” says Will Shen, lead quest designer for the game. “You also have the Freestar Collective which is a space western, the people that are out there on the frontier, we have Ryujin Industries which is corporate life, I think that’s one of the best starts out of all the factions.”

“Yeah, it’s a mega-corporation and you’re being hired, right?”

Pagliarulo asks, as if not knowing. “Yes, you apply for a job and we will see if you cut the mustard,” Shen replies. So it’s quite interesting, suggesting that you start Starfield allied with a certain group and get a starting experience that is unique to that faction. This may be an over-extrapolation, and “best starts” simply refers to the questline: I’ve asked Bethesda for clarification on this line and will update it with any response.

There is also a brief mention of how players can join a faction but work against it.

“What we do with the pirates, the Crimson Fleet, is not just enemies,” says Howard. “Let the player join them: what does that mean?” “The cool thing about Crimson Fleet is if you’re a good person, you’re a good player and you don’t want to play the bad guy,” Pagliarulo says. “You can side with the pirates or report to your superiors and act as a space cop, so be a good person but still play with the bad guys.”

The video ends with a moment beyond parody when Howard concludes, “We’re asking big questions. Why are we all here? Where does it lead? And what lies ahead for humanity?

Who knows e. Starfield is due to launch on November 11, 2022: here’s everything we know about it.

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