Starfield is going places no other Bethesda RPGs have gone before, but it’s also keeping some of the company’s signature hallmarks. The sci-fi exploration sim will have a silent protagonist, mostly so players can enjoy exploring, but also because fans hated the voiced protagonists of Fallout 4
Lead designer Emil Pagliarulo spoke with Polygon about the move, confirming that they had a voiced protagonist at one point in development. While the shift to a silent protagonist was mostly for gameplay reasons, Pagliarulo admitted that the backlash to Fallout 4’s voice lead was part of the reason.
“Not directly, but it certainly played into it,” Pagliarulo said about Fallout 4 affecting their decision for a silent protagonist. “Early on in the game, we did have a voiced protagonist. In pre-production, the plan was to have a voiced protagonist. We hired an actor, we got the voice, we listened to him and we were like, You know what, this guy is too specific.”
Although a voiced protagonist in Starfield would have been interesting, the decision to keep a silent protagonist is for the best. Since fans didn’t like how they were playing someone else’s story in Fallout 4, a quiet lead means they can make their own story.
Bethesda will be letting players customize their characters however they want, even giving them detailed options for their background stories. The developers also promised that players could do whatever they wanted, even commit crimes as long as they don’t get caught. We doubt that a voice for this character would benefit the player in any meaningful way.
Despite promising a ton of freedom, the RPG does have its limits. Someone who leaked videos of the game confirmed that players wouldn’t be able to go underwater. Players also can’t show mercy to their enemies, so anyone hoping to make a pacifist run is out of luck.
Starfield is coming to Xbox Series and PC on September 6.