Starfield developers talk companions, factions, and a persuasion system


It’s a good day to look back on Oblivion

Bethesda out a new video today, discussing more systems and ideas they’re working to include in space-bound RPG Starfield. Topics on the docket are factions, origins, and curiously, the persuasion system from Oblivion.

The roundtable for today’s “Into the Starfield” has Game Director Todd Howard, Design Director Emil Pagliarulo, Lead Quest Designer Will Shen, and Lead Artist Istvan Pely.  The four talk about many RPG concepts you’d probably expect from a Bethesda RPG. Immersion is the starting point, but it soon segues into emergent mechanics and embracing the “chaos.”

“A lot of us have been doing this for a long time together,” said Howard. “And it’s nice with Starfield to go back to some things we didn’t do. The backgrounds, the traits, the defining your character, all those stats. I think there’s so many games now that do those things that people are ready for something that does a lot of the things that older, hardcore RPGs, some that we used to do, doing those again in a new way.”

Another key piece of today’s dev roundtable was factions. The team highlights some of the groups you’ll deal with in Starfield, representing the different factions. The United Colonies are working toward a space republic, the Freestar Collective embraces the space western and frontier mindset, and Ryujin Industries is the megacorp group. The Crimson Fleet, a.k.a. space pirates, are also a faction that the player could possibly join—or play double agent with, reporting back to the space cops all the while.

Starfield companion Vasco

The team highlights companions too, showing a robot character called Vasco. The team wants to have characters respond to your actions and goals as you wander around, questing away. The four developers even reference The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion at one point, when discussing the persuasion system in Starfield.

“Yeah we sat down and… It was funny, we didn’t start with, ‘Let’s do an evolution of—let’s look back at the old Oblivion system, but there are a couple of beats there,” said Shen. “You have to think about, ‘What’s my risk here? Which one do I want to choose?’ We didn’t want it to be a system where there was definitely the right thing to say.”

Starfield is still set to jet off into the stars later this year for PC and Xbox Series X|S on Nov. 11, 2022.