Starfield will let players join factions, snitch on the bad guys, and persuade their way through the galaxy

In Bethesda’s new game, players will be able to join the bad guys or turn them in to the space cops.

Image via Bethesda

Starfield is one of the most highly anticipated games of 2022 and fans have been eager for new information on it. And today, Bethesda released a new development diary where the creators discussed the factions that players will interact with.

In the video, lead quest designer Will Shen discussed how he wants players to approach and identify with the world in Starfield. “One of the big choices is, ‘Which part of the game world am I going to engage in?’” Shen discussed how Bethesda always makes different groups that are significant factions in each of its games.

For Starfield, he discussed three of the factions that will be in the game. First, the United Colonies seem to be the political peacekeepers, the “future of space public idealized.” The Freestar Collective will allow players to explore the furthest frontiers of the galaxy. Finally, if players have a capitalist flare, they can get hired by Ryujin Industries and explore corporate life.

Game director Todd Howard described the Crimson Fleet, a pirate faction. Howard asked what would it mean to let players join the antagonists instead of being some distant foe.

“What if you’re a good person and you want to be a good player?” design director Emil Pagliarulo asked. He then described a situation where the player interacts with the bad guys and hears their stories while reporting back to the good guys at the end of the day.

Pagliarulo described this as playing as a space-cop, ratting out the pirates. “It lets you be a good person but still play with the bad guys.”

This comes on top of Howard describing the trend of RPGs that lead you with a dotted line from point to point. Instead, he thinks the choice of where to put the player and what to allow them to do next should be on the user. “That’s what makes video games the best form of entertainment that they are,” Howard said.

“We don’t just make RPGs, we make simulations,” Pagliarulo said. The team then discussed how they want players to be prepared for any situation. “What if combat breaks out right now?” Shen said, referencing how players can attack or be attacked by random elements in the game. 

The game should then react to that change because no one can always control that in an open-world game. The only thing that the developer can control is how the game reacts. “We embrace the chaos, let it play out,” lead artist Istvan Pely said. 

Howard then reminisced that he and this group have created these RPG games for years. The ability to go back to the basics of character and world creation and try new things is something that he’s grateful for. Things like defining traits, backgrounds, and other extensive features that they couldn’t do before can now be achieved in Starfield. 

“Seems like no matter what story we write, the one the players tell themselves is the one that they think about and love the most,” Howard said near the end of the video before moving into a discussion on the companions and other characters players will interact with. He discussed how the team approached Starfield, focusing on how the characters felt about the player.

“That’s probably my favorite part,” Pely said. “When you’re exploring, and then your companion makes a comment off the cuff.” Pely pointed out how important that is for immersion and how the player almost feels like they’re interacting with a real person.

This mechanic of what the characters think of you led to a persuasion mini-game that Shen described. “We didn’t start with, let’s look back at the old Oblivion system,” Shen said. But he admitted there are some similar mechanics in the end. “We didn’t want it to be a system where there was definitely the right thing to say.”

“It feels like you’re having a conversation where you’re actually trying to persuade somebody of something,” Howard said. “At the end of it, we want the players to have told their own journey, but then look back at it and we’re asking the big questions.” Howard then questioned humanity’s existence and what’s next for us once we get to the stars.

It seems like what’s next for humanity is a new Bethesda game full of mystery and persuasive conversation when Starfield is released on Nov. 11.