Starfield, Bethesda Softwork’s highly anticipated sci-fi RPG, will feature what game director Todd Howard described in a new interview as “classic Bethesda-style dialogue” options.
The interview comes directly from Bethesda itself, where community manager Jess Finster asked Howard about various topics of interest to the gaming community. When asked about how the dialogue and speech controls will work in Starfield, Howard compared it to past Bethesda RPGs.
“We’ve done a lot of different dialogue systems,” Howard said. “We’re back to, I’ll call it classic Bethesda-style dialogue. You look at the character and how they’re feeling, and you have a range of options there,” Howard said.
Howard then went on to describe how the game’s new persuasion system will work. Players will have a certain number of turns and persuasion points to select various dialogue options in an attempt to convince the NPC to give in to the player’s demands.
“It seems like it’s part of the conversation, but you spend points trying to convince them,” Howard said. “It’s natural, not like I went into some other mode where I don’t have regular dialogue. I’m in this mode to get you to get what I want.”
Earlier in the interview, Howard revealed that players will be able to start missions to remove traits from their character. Traits have positive and negative effects and are chosen at the beginning of the game when creating a character. Allowing players the means to remove traits during gameplay prevents players from creating an entirely new character if they decide that some of the traits they chose at the start of the game are no longer worthwhile.
The interview also looks at some of the inspirations behind Starfield and the debate over whether or not Starfield could be considered “hard science fiction”. Howard named two specific influences: the 1984 sci-fi space sim Sundog and pen and paper sci-fi RPG Traveler.
“These are the big ones, reminiscent of those old RPGs that we used to love and ‘Hey, can we make something like this today with today’s computers and consoles, etc?'” Howard said.
As for whether or not Howard considers Starfield to be “hard sci-fi” (aka sci-fi that aims to be scientifically accurate), he said that the development team does, but that it’s a bit of a trick, as it depends on how the person asking the question defines the term.
“A hard sci-fi video game, you freeze to death in space,” Howard said. As a result, some liberties have been taken to ensure Starfield is still fun to play, with Howard using an example involving fuel. In an earlier build, players would run out of fuel for their starship and essentially get stuck. A more recent change makes it so that fuel will limit how far players can go at once, but will never completely run out and leave players stranded.
Fans got their first look at Starfield gameplay as part of the Xbox and Bethesda Summer Games Expo earlier this year, where it was revealed that the upcoming RPG will have thousands of planets to explore, customizable spaceships and more. Originally scheduled for release in November 2022, Starfield is now slated for release in the first half of 2023.
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