Bethesda reveals Starfield almost had a voiced protagonist

by Danny Craig  · 
Bethesda reveals Starfield almost had a voiced protagonist

Emil Pagliarulo, the lead designer for Starfield, revealed that Bethesda considered giving its player character a voice, similar to Fallout 4, before deciding against it.

The details:

  • Pagliarulo was asked in a new interview with Polygon whether the decision to keep the protagonist silent in Starfield was influenced by the generally negative reception to Fallout 4's voiced characters. While it wasn't directly related to Bethesda's decision, the designer responded that it "certainly played into it.”
  • Pagliarulo also revealed that the studio had planned to give the playable character a voice at one point during the game's development, so it hired an actor to record a few lines of dialogue. When the team heard the voice lines, they felt the actor was "too specific," so they suggested hiring multiple actors for a variety of voices, sticking with a single VA, or scrapping the idea entirely.
  • The designer went on to explain that, at one point in gaming history, almost every protagonist in a AAA title was given a voice, but in some games, such as RPGs like Fallout 4, the possibility of players selecting a dialogue option only to have their character say something slightly different results in negative opinions about the decision. “There’s a big argument, if in Fallout 4 and other RPGs, players don’t like reading a line of dialogue, a player response, and then they click it and get [a different spoken line]," Pagliarulo said.
  • Another issue encountered by the developer was the delay between the player selecting the dialogue option and the actor reading out the lines, which aided in the decision to use a voiceless character. Pagliarulo also stated that the lack of voice acting allowed Starfield to have over 200,000 lines of dialogue versus Fallout 4's 110,000. "But the problem is, then you read it, and then you click it, and you have to wait for them to say the same thing. So that’s not ideal either,” said the designer. “So then we just arrived at, 'What if we just go text?' and it was just really freeing. And, I mean, we have over 200,000 lines of spoken dialogue in Starfield with no voiced protagonists. And it was not having a voiced protagonist that allowed us to create such a big world.”

More gaming news:

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  • The Final Shape, Destiny 2's next expansion, will be released on February 27, 2024, and will conclude the franchise's first saga. Bungie plans to change its post-launch content release schedule from seasons to episodes, which will be self-contained stories with brand-new gear, locations, and activities, with the release of the expansion.
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