Although the planned release of Starfield is a little way off just yet, details are continuing to emerge about the grand nature of Bethesda’s new space saga. New information on Starfield’s interpersonal dynamics suggests that Bethesda has been learning some lessons about love from its past titles.
It’s fair to say that there’s a lot of expectation as far as Starfield goes, especially if the sheer reported scope and scale of the game is anything to go by. However, one key aspect of Bethesda’s RPG formula is the ability to build relationships with NPCs. That’s still going to be the case with Starfield, although it’ll apparently be done in a more sophisticated manner. Romance will feature in Starfield’s gameplay, as part of the wider rapport-building that players will be able to do with the wide cast of characters that the title will being to the table.
However, the game will make use of a somewhat more multi-faceted approach when it comes to affairs of the heart. Presumably, this will be done in more depth and contrast to previous Bethesda RPGs such as Skyrim and Fallout, where romance was a fairly linear process. Starfield’s relationship-building dynamics will involve more emotional subtleties, according to Bethesda Game Studios director Todd Howard. Speaking on a recent podcast, Howard explained that Starfield’s romanceable characters will respond to the player’s choices and behaviours in perhaps more thoughtful ways as opposed to operating on a simple scale of like and dislike.
“So we have a number of companions, but for them, we go… I won’t say super-complex-romantic, but more complex than we’ve had in terms of not just some, you know, state of they like you or they don’t like you,” Howard explains. He then comments on the more subtle changes in NPC relationship statuses, adding that “they can be in love with you and dislike something you did, and be pissed at you temporarily – and then come back to loving you. As opposed to just drifting out of that status, you’re in a temporary ‘I don’t like what you did’ state.”
It sounds as though the developers have made much more effort to make the romance process in Starfield a lot more human. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out when the game finally launches later this year.
Starfield is expected to launch in the first half of 2023 and will be available exclusively on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PC. It will be playable on day one with Xbox Game Pass.