Starfield nearly had a voiced protagonist before plans changed, explains Design Director

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Some characters in Starfield.
Credit: Bethesda.

Most of the hardcore Bethesda RPG fans who’ve invested thousands of hours into Skyrim and Fallout 4 can't wait for the release of Starfield.

Some have been passing the time until September by getting ready to make mods for the game, wading into the discourse surrounding its main menu screen, or just planning out how they’ll become the universe’s foremost sandwich-hoarding pirate.

With its release imminent, we’ve recently gotten a lot of fresh teases and quotes about the game. The latest nugget of info to emerge concerns the decision for it not to feature a voiced protagonist, with one of Bethesda’s developers having revealed more details about why this choice was made.

Are you glad Starfield doesn't have a voiced protagonist?

In an interview with Polygon, Bethesda Studio Design Director Emil Pagliarulo admitted that the eventual choice to go with a silent protagonist was influenced by negative fan reception to Fallout 4’s voiced Sole Survivor, even if it wasn’t made directly in response to the criticism.

That said, Pagliarulo revealed that Bethesda’s early plans for Starfield included a voiced protagonist, with the studio going as far as hiring an actor to record some lines and considering the idea of having multiple voices for the player to choose between.

Ultimately, the team concluded that going with a silent protagonist would be the best way to offer players the opportunity to create as wide a range of characters as possible and be able to bring their own personal touch to the experience, without having to worry about limitations.

Pagliarulo went on to discuss the trend of voiced protagonists within the wider gaming sphere. The developer pointed out that, in an RPG, scenarios in which players either feel their character is saying something different to what they’ve picked or have to wait for the character to verbalise something they’ve already read verbatim can both negatively impact the experience.

He finished by suggesting that he feels going for a silent player surrounded by legions of voiced NPCs has helped Bethesda to realise its intended vision for the game’s world in terms of scale and scope.

The interview also saw the Studio Design Director touch a bit on the philosophy and impetus behind Starfield’s main story, revealing that it’s designed to make the player question what the artefacts they’re finding could be helping them search for.

For instance, Pagliarulo hinted that extraterrestrial life and a god-like entity will both be put forth as potential explanations by different characters near the start of the game.


Regardless of what you’re hoping your silent explorer will discover as they explore the cosmos, make sure to follow us for lots of guides to Starfield’s world and mechanics, as its release creeps ever closer.

You can also check out our latest mods of the month for some impressive works for other Bethesda games that might help tide you over until it arrives.

For more articles like this, take a look at our Gaming News , Starfield , and Role Playing Games pages.