Bethesda have shared their second developer diary on Starfield, therein detailing such game features as factions, dialogue, and the dev team’s hope that an NPC will make the world feel real.
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The second such video dev blog, Into the Starfield – Ep2: Made for Wanderer sfeatures discussion among the game’s directors and leads, accompanied by a montage of various concept art.
The quartet, consisting of Game Director Todd Howard, Design Director Emil Pagliarulo, Lead Quest Designer Will Shen, and Lead Artist Istvan Pely, discussed how Starfield is promiing to shake up how players interact with video game worlds and NPCs.
“A lot of us have been doing this for a long time together,” explained Howard. “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.”
He then admitted, “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 that we used to do- doing those again in a new way.”
Along with promising a giant open world which will attempt to react to the many things a player could do, the video focused on the measures being taken to ensure players remain immersed with Starfield, such as making NPCs look and feel more realistic.
“This game, we’ve definitely , severely leveled up,” said Pely. “The tech is based on scanning of real world models, similar to the photogrammetry we do in our landscales. We’re kind of applying the same thing to our people as well.”
He continued, “because it’s not just the appearance of your player and all that, but we want all the personal interactions with NPCs, other characters in the game, to be as impact as possible. And for that you have to believe these are real people, you’re a real person, and you’re interacting with real people.”
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To help realize the NPCs and the universe, there are several factions that players can choose to work alongside.
Previously revealed were the United Colonies – “the future of space republic idealized” – and the Freestar Collective – a “space western fantasy” on the frontier of space exploration.
Now, the team has revealed a pair of new factions: megacorporation Ryujin Industries, who players can first align with by being hired by them, and the Crimson Fleet, space pirates who don’t necessarily have to remain on your bad side.
Players will even have the freedom to unite with the Crimson Fleet, yet remain a good character if they wish.
Shen gave the example that even if the player is a “space cop,” they’re not under obligation to report back to their superiors if they do not wish to.
NPC dialogue is also being designed to make the world feel more real. For example, said the team, companions will reportedly actively comment on events around them as they transpire. “It’s just so believable, you think it’s a real person” Pely claimed.
In particular, the devs touted how – in somewhat of an expansion on The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion dialogue system – an attempt to persuade an NPC to your side could feel like a real conversation, lacking a clear right or wrong answer and lacking a clear path to a desired outcome.
“As far as new systems in dialogue,” Howard stated, “I think it’s definitely one of the most successful ones that we’ve had.”
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Ultimately Howard and the team don’t just want players to have an adventure, but also ponder the big questions presented by its scale: “What’s out there?” “Where is it leading?” “What’s next for humanity?”
While these promises may seem exciting, fans are most likely waiting for a gameplay preview before signing up to explore the new frontier.
Bethesda’s first console exclusive since being acquired by Microsoft, Starfield launches 2022 for PC and Xbox Series X|S platforms. The game will also be made available as part of Xbox Game Pass.
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