Starfield Dev Explains Decision to Have the Game Feature a Silent Protagonist

Authored by and submitted by sksking

A senior Bethesda developer said in the record that Starfield should have a silent protagonist. This long-awaited glimpse of his RPG comes a year after the studio confirmed that Starfield's protagonist will not be a voice character. His AAA role-playing game from

Bethesda featured a previously silent protagonist. But the Rockville, Maryland-based developer ended that tradition with his Fallout 4 in 2015, which featured a fully voiced protagonist. While this presentation change proved to be a polarizing move among the fan base, lead designer Emile Paliallo said the decision to voice the main character in Fallout 4 was based on the idea that the silent protagonist would be He explained that it was based on a desire to deliver a story that was more emotional than it allowed.

Eight years later, Pagliarulo said in a recent interview with Polygon that the return to the Silent Protagonist was "really liberating", announcing that he was reversing Bethesda's decision on Starfield. The veteran developer elaborated on the concept, revealing that Starfield has over 200,000 lines of voice dialogue. He added that if the studio had also had to record the main character's lines, they would not have been able to voice such a long script.

Despite this advantage, Bethesda did not originally plan to feature a silent protagonist in Starfield. Instead, the studio originally wanted to do a rerun of Fallout 4, hiring voice actors and having several recording sessions before finally dropping the idea. Given that Starfield allows players to create any type of character, Pariarulo said the most immersive way to portray such a protagonist would be to keep them voiceless.

When asked if player resistance to Fallout 4's voiced protagonist influenced Bethesda's decision to break with Starfield, Paliarulo said it "definitely helped." admitted. Still, he argued, the developers only decided to go the quiet protagonist's path after considering all alternative approaches. As part of that train of thought, the designers decided to reduce the amount of dialogue in Fallout 4, especially since many players didn't like choosing abbreviated answers just to express themselves in a completely different way about their characters. He also acknowledged that the system was imperfect. But reading the entire answer before making a choice often results in players skipping the character's dialogue, which diminishes the value of the developer's efforts to record dialogue, Pariarulo said.

llwonder on August 29th, 2023 at 14:14 UTC »

It’s cuz of the immense backlash from FO4

renboy2 on August 29th, 2023 at 13:15 UTC »

Voiced protagonsts work very well if the character is well defined and has a very specific attitude and personality (Like Geralt for example). If the protagonist is extremely open ended, like in BGS games, it's better to have them silent IMO.

DE8inem on August 29th, 2023 at 10:47 UTC »

Tldr; immersion