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Starfield’s design director calls out its “disconnected” critics

Following Starfield's mixed reception, its design director complains about critics not understanding the challenges of game development.

A blonde woman in quilted jacket standing in front of a fireplace.

Released back in September, Starfield has had a less-than-stellar reception. Bethesda has plans to build on the game but it’s the developer’s lowest-rated game on Steam. Now, Starfield’s design director has hit out at “disconnected” critics.

Starfield, Bethesda Game Studios’s long-anticipated space-based action RPG game, hasn’t quite been the smash the developer was hoping for. Bethesda has promised that massive updates are on the way, but the developer will have to pull all the stops out if they want Starfield to have the staying power of Skyrim.

Now, writing and design director Emil Pagliarulo has taken to Twitter to complain about critics who don’t get the challenges that were involved in developing Starfield. And the response has, like Starfield’s reviews, been a little mixed.

Pagliarulo’s thread (as spotted by PC Gamer) isn’t a rant by any means, he underlines that he’s referring to ‘unreasonable’ critics. But he accuses some players of pretending to be experts, of just not getting game development.

So sure, you can dislike parts of a game. You can hate on a game entirely. But don’t fool yourself into thinking you know why it is the way it is,” he explains. He also doesn’t, specifically, mention Starfield but it’s not hard to read between the lines.

A pair of tweets, talking about critics and players who don't get game development.

Pagliarulo, a 20 year Bethesda veteran, continues, talking about the compromises that go into creating a game and that actually getting a game out is a miracle. And, to some extent, he’s got a point.

Some players will, rightly or wrongly, will happily declare themselves experts. There’s a joke about people asking developers to “just add multiplayer”, not understanding what’s involved. The responses to Pagliarulo’s threads have, for the most part, been entirely reasonable. But the consensus is that he’s a little off-base here.

Using Pagliarulo’s own example of a Hostess Twinkie, you don’t need to go on a tour of the Twinkie factory to know whether it tastes good or not. Starfield has some serious flaws and while we hope Bethesda can address those issues, it’s absolutely deserving of criticism.

If space travel is your thing, check out the best space games on PC. Or if you want to step back into Bethesda’s last game, here are the best Skyrim mods.

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