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Starfield’s new tease is all about companions, conversations, and cosmic storytelling

Todd Howard and crew discuss Starfield’s ambitions

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Bethesda Game Studios on Wednesday offered a new peek at the world and mechanics of its next game, Starfield, showing little gameplay but delivering insight into the player-created characters, the companions, and the mysteries of the cosmos that players will experience later this year.

In that video, Starfield game director Todd Howard, design director Emil Pagliarulo, lead quest designer Will Shen, and lead artist Istvan Pely touch on a few elements of the sci-fi role-playing game. Howard and Pely say that Starfield will include character depth akin to “older, hardcore RPGs” and that the studio has “severely leveled up” its player-created characters.

“It’s nice with Starfield to go back to some things we didn’t do — the backgrounds, the traits, defining your character, all of those stats,” Howard says. “There are so many games 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.”

Elsewhere in the video, Shen and Pely discuss Bethesda’s willingness (and requirement) to “embrace the chaos” of interlocking character choices and factions; Howard and Pely wax about in-game companions and the importance of how those characters feel about and respond to you; and Shen and Pagliarulo touch on Starfield’s persuasion system, a dialogue interaction mechanic that sounds, perhaps intentionally, influenced by The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion’s systems.

Starfield will be released Nov. 11 on Windows PC and Xbox Series X, and will be playable at launch through Xbox Game Pass.

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