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Starfield Abandoned Plans for a Voice Protagonist Like in Fallout 4

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Early in Starfield‘s production, there were plans to have the protagonist be voiced, like in Fallout 4. However, those plans were abandoned.

In an interview with PolygonStarfield design director Emil Pagliarulo was asked if the choice not to have a voiced protagonist in the game was a result of fan reaction to Fallout 4. “Not directly, but it certainly played into it,” Pagliarulo said. “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. So then what are the options? Do we have, like some RPGs do, four voices? Do we have one voice, but hire someone else who’s more convenient? But [in Starfield] you can make every different type of person. We realized that the only way to really do it and let the player be the person they want to be was to have an unvoiced protagonist.”

He continued, “There was a time in the industry where every protagonist was voiced. It was a AAA thing. We started realizing, You know what, maybe that’s not the case, maybe fans will actually enjoy the game even more… I mean, we played with different things. There’s a big argument, if in Fallout 4 and other RPGs, players don’t like reading a line of dialogue, a player response, and then they click it and get [a different spoken line]. But the problem is, then you read it, and then you click it, and you have to wait for them to say the same thing. So that’s not ideal either. So then we just arrived at, What if we just go text? and it was just really freeing. And, I mean, we have over 200,000 lines of spoken dialogue in Starfield with no voiced protagonists. And it was not having a voiced protagonist that allowed us to create such a big world.”

As someone who didn’t much enjoy having a voiced protagonist in Fallout 4 due to how it limited my own ability to roleplay as and inhabit the character, I’m glad to hear plans for Starfield to have such a feature were scrapped early. The thing I’m most looking forward to in Starfield is really trying to make the game’s protagonist my own, and it seems like the design team had those sorts of intentions in mind when making the game. As such, my cautious optimism about the upcoming Bethesda title abides.

Starfield officially releases on Sept. 6. However, players who’ve bought the Digital Premium and Constellation Editions will receive early access five days early, on Sept. 1.

KEEP READING: Starfield Leaker Arrested Following Alleged Attempts to Sell Stolen Copies Online

About the author

Liam Nolan
Liam Nolan is the Managing Editor of The Escapist. After getting his Master of Arts in English in 2016, he began writing about comics, television, movies, and video games, with his work appearing at such outlets as, CBR, and The Mary Sue. When he's not writing on pop culture, you can find Liam working on his creative projects or traveling. He's been with The Escapist since 2023. You can follow him on Twitter @LD_Nolan or on Bluesky