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What we want to see from Bethesda’s Starfield… and more importantly what we DON’T want to see

Are you as excited for the upcoming Bethesda Starfield game as us? Read what we’re praying to see in the game… and more importantly what we really DON’T want to see.

Bethesda have a consistent record for releasing some of the most anticipated and award-winning video games for the last two decades. With the exception of a few smaller projects (IHRA Professional Drag Racing, Fallout Shelters, The Elder Scrolls: Blades) and some controversies following the Fallout 76 game release. Bethesda have sold over 90 Million game copies in total for all of their releases to date. We’re hoping that record of success continues for Bethesda, and the same winning formula is used for Starfield. Here is our list of all of the game features we hope to see for Starfield. And also, some ones we definitely don’t want to see at all.

1. Lots of customisation (Want)

Bethesda have pretty much always allowed for some level of character/item customisation in its games. And over the years there has only been more inclusion of it. From the highly customisable character builder, usually present at the beginning of the games. To the weapon, apparel and item customisations we have begun to see more of since Skyrim and in Fallout 4. As part of putting your own individual mark on the character, and how you interact with the universe Bethesda have built, we really are hoping that this theme is continued (and hopefully expanded upon) in this upcoming series.

Based on the latest trailer release, it seems evident that you will be playing as human. Which seems to be integral to the game’s plot and main storyline; humanities exploration of the stars. This already removes some of the customisation for race/species that has been included in The Elder Scroll’s franchise/world. We’re not too bothered by this, and assume there will be a similar character customization to the Fallout series.

There are many other areas however we are hoping Starfield will allow us to adapt as our own. Apart from apparel and weaponry, the ability to adapt our ship’s design would be a unique and fantastic feature to include. Not many space games give players the option to do this at all; EVE Online maybe being the only game of the genre which has such a vast ship selection. With Bethesda investing more recently in in-game player building and customisable game areas. We’re hoping this will continue as an available option in Starfield as well.

Fallout 4 Character Builder Game Grab
The Fallout 4 character builder wasn’t bad… what more can we expect from the Starfield version?
(Image Credit: Bethesda)

2. Level-locked items (Don’t want)

Let’s face it…. you’re playing through the game when you manage to stumble across a piece of equipment or a weapon you really weren’t meant to have yet. It’s fantastic and you feel like the luckiest son of a gun that ever lived. But you know what we hate? When you can’t equip that item to level 78, which is nowhere near where you’re at.

The thing is, lots of open-world RPG’s tend to do this when they can’t easily control the path you take in the game, but don’t want the player to advance to quickly. Otherwise it makes everything a little too easy. The only issue (apart from frustrating the hell out of you for carrying around items you can’t even use) is by the time you get to level 78 you already have five of those in your inventory. And they’re suddenly around every corner and in the loot of every enemy you defeat. This really removes any achievement you can get from playing the game. And if done particularly badly, removes the desire to progress altogether.

Fortunately, Bethesda have never really taken this approach within their games. And the way they have tackled levelling, upgrading and the progression of the player, have always felt extremely well though-out and encouraging (without feeling hindering). Obviously, with the expanded range of the space genre, we hope this doesn’t push Starfield to equip something more like the level-locked system. The ethos of the game is being promoted as an exploration game like no other. What want to feel like we can discover, find and use whatever we can without limitation. And level locking items the player interacts with will only restrict that experience.

3. Unique and unexpected places to discover (Want)

Starfield has promised some range of environments and territories we’ll experience exploring the game world. The concept art alone has shown a number of climates, backdrops and settings already. This makes us the most excited for the game. As we know that Bethesda has a good eye for producing beautiful and interesting environments into their games.

One of No Man’s Sky’s successes included the vast range of conditions you could experience during space travel. Although they appeared quite unvaried at times. It provided a new surprise for every planet you visited. We don’t know the extent of how Starfield will accomplish this. But paired with their attentiveness to detail and well planned landscapes, we hope that Bethesda will be able to bring a unique and as unexpected feel to each planetary system the player discovers throughout their gameplay.

With the theme of space discovery and a new franchise to create, the possibilities Starfield has to achieve are endless. Let’s hope that this is an area Bethesda are focussed on pushing new boundaries in. As impressive gameplay environment, coupled with a new engine and updated graphics could launch Starfield’s reception just as far as (or further) then Skyrim before it.

4. Repetitive tasks and side quests (Don’t want)

Although discovery games usually offer great player journeys and often top visual effects. They can often get bogged down in monotonous tasks and missions which can begin to feel overly repetitive and soulless. Within space games especially, trade missions, collecting flora and mining new minerals often become the main focus of a player’s objectives. Our opinion is this can often remove the excitement of in-game exploration and instead make interactions feel boring and unenjoyable.

For these reasons, although it wouldn’t be a massive surprise to see sample collecting, data analysis and trade missions as part of Starfield’s gameplay. We would feel let down if this becomes an integral part of what the game is about. Nothing quite feels as slow as manually collecting a set amount of rock samples to progress to the next stage of a mission. Especially when the process of collecting them isn’t even challenging or fun.

Generally we trust Bethesda has the same insights for the game as most us do. And having never been a big theme of previous games, we don’t expect to see repetitive side missions as an integral part of Starfield either. Fingers crossed.

5. More than just the one ship (Want)

The appeal of exploring space in an open-world game is always a big draw. Many others have tried creating aspects of the space genre since Elite in the 80’s; with mixed successes. One of the most prominent themes that often appears in these games, are the trading, battling and forging of new ships and the alliances between them. Starfield being announced as a game of discovery is an exciting feature we will surely love. But we would also like to see some of these additional features with it.

We know that Starfield will contain weapons both for the characters and ships alike. But will this include the possibility for alliances or even fleets of ships at your disposal? If so, will these be interchangeable? How great would it be to keep my regular everyday ship for discovering planets and completing missions. But getting out my battle class warship when it comes to taking down some enemies.

Also, how will travelling on planets work? If I can land my ship on the surface of a planet/moon, can I fly around and land anywhere? Or will I be confined to specific locations only? We will have to wait until these answers come to light. But we still wonder how on-planet travel will work, and if roaming vehicles or ships will be present at all.

Without Bethesda ever having especially included vehicles in their games before (unless you count the horses of The Elder Scrolls), we are quite in the dark about what type of ship and vehicle systems they might include for Starfield. The more Bethesda do choose to make available, we would definitely count as a positive for the game.

Starfield concept art of spaceship hangar bay
A Concept for a ship hangar in the game. But will more than one ship be available?
(Image Credit: Bethesda)

6. Difficultly travelling across the map (Don’t want)

An increased map size within the game usually brings all the more to explore. However, larger available gameplay areas isn’t always a positive. We’ve seen growing map sizes for open-worlds in recent years. With the likes of Skyrim and Fallout, but also GTA and Red Dead Redemption creating large expansions on previous titles; mostly due to better technology now available. However limitations on disk space mean this can come with some disadvantages. Games that do this poorly often sacrifice on detail to save on space for encoding. Other games often provide larger game maps, but with little in between playable regions.

Bethesda have always been quite good at finding an appropriate compromise between map size and in-game experience. Presenting territories which have plenty to explore and allow for full emersion into the game world. Players can easily find at least something of interest in the furthest corners of the map, and missions/quests often will take you all over. Our hesitance to Starfield’s theme and possible even greater playable area, begs us to ask will Bethesda be able to create such harmony again for this title? Can as interesting a location really be achieved in the depths of space which is equal to the forests or mountains of Tamriel?

Lastly, how will the game be affected by travel across the stars and galaxies (if that is to be included)? Bethesda often employ fast travel to locations players have already visited. But what approaches will Starfield employ to get you from one area of space to another? Wormholes? Teleports? FTL drives? Any of this we might be comfortable with, as long as it doesn’t require us waiting hours out of game time to get to where we need. Or oversimplifying travel so we no longer need the use our ships.

7. That same Bethesda game feel (Want)

Bethesda have continued to receive such a great level of success with their games often due to a clear and consistent devotion to create what they’re aiming for. Always pushing the boundaries but staying true to their themes and franchises have paid off, and in return have created a loyal and far-reaching fan base.

What’s more, Bethesda games all share a common focus on the story and lore of the worlds in which each exist. They build characters and personalities which feel familiar and personable. And concentrate on backstories and goals that lead the player to want to continue further into the game. We imagine that keeping to these principles, Bethesda will continue to deliver a strong franchise for Bethesda that will create an entirely new institution of players who are just as devoted to the game. We hope most of all Bethesda follows in its strengths for creating these rich worlds and characters. And is what we are most looking forward to discovering in the game.

8. Aiming too far… and not quite making it (Definitely don’t want)

Starfield isn’t the first to attempt such a theme or scale in its gameplay. Many other games have taken various approaches to their own large open-world RPGs; and Bethesda have made enough of these now to have a pretty good idea of what to expect. With Starfield however, there is the potential to produce a game which has a far greater scope than previous titles. And with additional requirements, and a brand new format, they may be tempted to change more of the familiar game style we have grown accustomed to and would ideally prefer.

Change in the name of progress is of course necessary. And it could be argued is required to keep making entertaining non-repetitive content. But as we know from recent years, highly anticipated hyped releases can often become disastrous flops if they fail to live up to the expectations they set. No Man’s Sky and Cyberpunk 2077 to name a couple, made some big promises and failed to aspire to them past the large challenges they faced during production. Being the first new franchise for Bethesda in a number of years, and created on an entirely new engine, could cause some similar issues for Starfield. After a number of snags with their last release Fallout 76, we can only hope circumstances don’t repeat themselves again. We have faith however Bethesda, like with many of its other titles do the spectacular, and pull another amazing game out of the bag once again!

Written for www.starfieldguide.com. Starfield Guide is a fan run unofficial guide site about Bethesda’s game Starfield. You can tweet us @GuideStarfield, or you can follow our official Facebook, Instagram and YouTube Channel.

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