As the gaming community eagerly awaits the arrival of Bethesda’s upcoming title, “Starfield,” new details about this highly-anticipated open-world RPG have surfaced. This space odyssey marks a pivotal moment for Bethesda—it’s their first new intellectual property in more than two decades and the first major solo-player game since the acclaimed “Fallout 4” in 2015.
With a launch date potentially as close as this August, depending on your geographical location, fans don’t have to wait much longer to dive into Bethesda’s expansive cosmic universe. Pete Hines, a key figure at Bethesda, has already teased the grand scale of “Starfield,” stating that players could spend upwards of 50 hours just tackling the primary questline.
However, what has truly caught the attention of gamers and critics alike is the creative decision to feature a main character without a spoken voice. This contrasts sharply with “Fallout 4,” where the protagonist did have voiced lines. In an exclusive interview with Polygon, Starfield lead designer Emil Pagliarulo explained the rationale behind this decision.
Originally, the main character was scripted to have spoken lines. “We even hired an actor and had them start recording dialogue,” said Pagliarulo. But Bethesda chose to abandon this route because the actor’s voice was “too specific.” The team flirted with alternative solutions like multiple voice options, but eventually opted for the unvoiced route. According to Pagliarulo, this decision was liberating, enabling the development team to offer a broader spectrum of role-playing opportunities. Players can truly be whoever they want to be in this expansive galaxy, without the constraints of a specific vocal tone or dialogue.
Interestingly, player feedback on “Fallout 4” had a partial influence on this creative choice. While not the sole reason, it “certainly played into it,” admitted Pagliarulo. The speaking protagonist in “Fallout 4” received mixed reviews, making the shift to an unvoiced protagonist in “Starfield” a calculated risk worth taking.
The absence of a voiced protagonist also had another significant impact: it allowed the game world to become even more extensive. “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,” Pagliarulo added.
In a gaming era where voice acting often dominates the narrative experience, Bethesda is taking a bold step in a different direction with “Starfield.” By removing the main character’s voice, the studio not only offers players more freedom in their role-playing journey but also adds a new layer of depth and complexity to the game world itself.
“Starfield” is shaping up to be not just a game, but an experience, setting a new standard for what open-world RPGs can offer. As we count down the days to its release, one thing is clear: Bethesda is pushing the boundaries of storytelling and game design, and we’re all here for the ride.