Bethesda’s open-world, space RPG Starfield will allow you to get a mortgage, harking back to the debt-ridden days of The Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall – or more recently, Animal Crossing.
Summer Games Fest has given us a lot of tantalising new details about Starfield. It will have 1000 planets you can freely explore. You can customise your ship and have dogfights. There’s a photo mode, to capture the universe in all its glory. But what Bethesda didn’t mention – but that you can spot, if you pay eagle-eyed attention to the trailer for the game’s character creation screen – is that when you select your background and traits, one of the options, ‘starter home’, lumps you with a 50,000 credit mortgage. Wow! Space debt!
Of course, you get something nice for your money – ‘a small house on a peaceful little moon’, according to the in-game description. But you’ll owe it all to the frankly sinister-sounding ‘GalBank’. We can only speculate what happens if you don’t make your payments, although ‘Space Bank Manager’ does sound like it would make for a pretty good boss fight.
This is not the first time that Bethesda has tried to thrust a bit of responsibility onto us and turn us into homeowners. Daggerfall, the 1996 RPG that helped catapult the Elder Scrolls series, also featured banks where you could take out loans and use them to buy houses. The prices there were a little steeper, though, with the cheapest property costing about 300,000. I suppose there’s a lot more space in…space.
Animal Crossing players will also be familiar with the crushing burden of property ownership, but it’s mechanics like these – giving you a little piece of the game world that you can truly call your own – that make RPGs much more convincing and fulfilling. You can picture it now, returning from a long line of quests, exhausted, wounded, wizened from your treks across the galaxy, only to curl up, craft some items, and breathe in some of Starfield’s rich atmosphere and scenery.
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It sounds dreamy. Just don’t forget to pay your bills.