Starfield quests sound as if they follow a more traditional, old-school RPG game dynamic, whereby choice and freedom will dictate their outcome. In essence, they sound similar to the freeform style of Fallout New Vegas, and different from the more prescriptive Fallout 4, as Will Shen, designer with Elder Scrolls and Skyrim developer Bethesda, answers interview questions.
At the beginning of Fallout 4, you are told by the game, very specifically, the background and history of your character – you were in the military, you had a family, and you must now try and find your missing son, Shaun. Fallout New Vegas offers a prescribed backstory also, but the personality of your character and how they will approach their goals is a lot more customisable.
You want to find Benny, but you can take that journey on however you like – whereas completing side quests in Fallout 4 always feels a bit unusual, since your character, presumably, would be rushing to find their son, spending time exploring New Vegas makes perfect sense, as your hero gathers experience and intel before taking on Benny proper.
Alongside a recent video interview, outlining Starfield companions and dynamic world events, Will Shen, the Bethesda RPG’s lead quest designer, has answered further questions regarding how the open-world game approaches missions and choice. Shen explains how Starfield is based on more traditional, “old-school” RPG design, where your own decisions and personal character designs play a larger role.
“I think for Starfield a lot of quest design was going back to our old-school RPG roots,” Shen explains. “Lots of dialogue choices, referencing the player’s skills and background, a variety of combat and non-combat activities, and highlighting our brand-new setting in a way that signals where to go for what kind of stories you want to experience. We really tried to draw on all of our previous titles to build quests we were excited about.”
Shen also discusses the main Starfield story, explaining how it attempts to deal with sweeping, metaphysical questions, which, by their nature, sound as if they can be interpreted by different players in different ways; asked about the “special opportunities” presented by working on Starfield, Shen refers to its large, open systems and plot.
“Definitely space itself,” Shen explains, when asked about the unique possibilities within Starfield’s design. “Both having ships and space travel but also having the opportunity to talk about metaphysical questions like ‘what’s the universe made of? What next for humanity?’ and so on.”
I’d personally hope that Starfield leans more into the style of New Vegas, and that the expansive, free-to-roam universe is matched by the open nature of the characterisation and story. It would help solve one of the key problems in Fallout 4, whereby you often feel dragged in certain directions rather than being able to shape your own tale. We’ll just have to wait for the Starfield release date.
In the meantime, find out everything we know about Starfield factions. You might also want to start exploring all the Starfield cities, or perhaps deciding on the ideal Starfield traits to get your character just the way you want them before setting out to explore the universe.