The Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase at this year’s Summer Game Fest allowed players to take a closer look at the Starfield gameplay, a demo that simultaneously highlighted the gradual evolution of Bethesda role-playing games as the studio continues work on The Elder Scrolls VI. One of these changes is not necessarily new territory for Bethesda, but instead brings back a Fallout 4 feature that was poorly received. The Starfield game character will be the silent protagonist, which is a good sign for the role-playing and immersion aspects that provide a significant degree of replayability in Elder Scrolls games.
For decades, Bethesda’s open-world role-playing games have had a distinctive dialog system presented in the first person and without voiced cues for the player. Fallout 4, released in 2015, got rid of this in favor of the voiced protagonist, which severely limited the possibilities of dialogue. Games with similar mechanics, such as Mass Effect, show the shortcomings of the Fallout 4 dialog system and how the need for voice acting limits the creation of open-source characters that Bethesda is famous for.
Fortunately, the footage shown for Starfield on Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase seems to be going back to the old Bethesda system. Bethesda Game Studios later confirmed this on Twitter, assuring that the Starfield dialogue will be presented in the first person and without replicas of the player’s character. Most likely, this means that communication with non—player characters throughout the game will occur in the same way as in Skyrim, the last single-player role-playing game developed by the developer before Fallout 4. It seems that Bethesda has returned to its design roots – at least in this game. an aspect that bodes well for The Elder Scrolls 6.
TES 6 Is Less Likely to Suffer from Fallout 4 Role-playing Stones
Despite the fact that Fallout 4 has features that are worth saving for TES 6, such as building settlements and carefully configuring weapons, refusing to voice the main character will help expand the role-playing capabilities of TES 6. There were many build options in Fallout 4, but due to the fact that there were only two voice options (essentially male or female), the player character could not feel as unique as the quiet blank slate of previous Bethesda games. In particular, The Elder Scrolls, with its many different races, allows the player to embody a personalized hero. There is a certain cinematic quality to the extensive voice acting and vision of the main character during the dialogue, but this does not go well with the game design of the Bethesda sandbox.
Starfield’s rejection of the controversial Fallout 4 feature doesn’t guarantee that the same will be true for TES 6, but it seems Bethesda has acknowledged that silent protagonists are preferable in its particular RPG brand. Due to the exceptionally open nature of games such as Skyrim and Oblivion, the silent protagonist is easier to use as an independent insert for the player. We hope that Starfield will also have many viable builds, but it’s encouraging that Bethesda’s silent protagonist returns before The Elder Scrolls 6, so the Argonian archer doesn’t sound exactly like a dark elf mage. The voice acting of Fallout 4 in no way makes it a bad game, but many would consider its role-playing potential much lower than that of earlier Bethesda projects.