Latest Starfield Dev Diary Talks Factions, Inspiration From Oblivion

It's been several years since storied game developer Bethesda Softworks released a new addition to either its "Fallout" or its "The Elder Scrolls" series of video games – both having now ascended to incredible heights of popularity for their sprawling open-worlds, and also having earned quite a bit of controversy for the plethora of bugs that tend to accompany them. Instead, Bethesda director and executive producer Todd Howard has evidently been leading his team of talented game designers to an entirely new frontier: space.

On March 16, Bethesda Softworks shed some light on its upcoming original space exploration-themed RPG, "Starfield," by releasing a new development log on its official YouTube channel. Titled "Made for Wanderers," the new video is the second in Bethesda's development log series, "Into the Starfield," which is meant to ratchet up hype for the much-awaited November launch of "Starfield." Long-awaited by fans of Bethesda Softworks' unique brand of open-world video games, "Starfield" is the first original IP from the studio since "The Elder Scrolls: Arena" debuted in 1994.

Starfield promises a return to Bethesda's RPG roots

Set to release on November 11, "Starfield" is a major deal for the development team at Bethesda Softworks, which was recently acquired by Microsoft for a whopping $7.5 billion as part of a larger acquisition. Bethesda Softworks develops flagship games; they are usually expansive enough to move massive sales numbers, even warranting a re-release of the studio's most popular game, "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim."

Originally announced at E3 2018 to a showroom floor filled with hungry fans, "Starfield" has lately experienced shakier reception due to the developer's turn away from its single-player RPG roots with the always-online, survival-MMO hybrid "Fallout 76," and it doesn't help that information about "Starfield" has historically been slim.

It's good news for fans, then, that Todd Howard's development team is finally ramping up the caliber of information that's made available to the public, and it sounds like there will be a greater focus on how your unique character will impact the world around you.

The Starfield dev team teases deeper character interactions

Recent Bethesda Softworks games have featured a relatively shallow take on character interactions and interplay between the player and the NPC (non-player character) factions that inhabit the world around them. For example, in "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim," a single character could join every faction without consequence, and most story interactions could be approached without needing to make any real choices.

The most promising bit of information in Bethesda's devlog is at the part of the video that starts around 2:20, where the developers discuss the idea of players choosing to side with an enemy faction that they were sent to destroy by a quest giver. This would address a common complaint made about factions in Bethesda's games, which have historically held little more nuance than enemies to shoot spells or bullets at.

Judging from the discussion, it sounds like the team is also bringing back ideas from the dialogue system that existed in "The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion," which allowed the player to navigate a series of inputs that could potentially change the outcome of a conversation based on how much rapport they were able to build with the NPC they were speaking to. It was gimmicky in its original implementation, but if the team really did fix it up, "Starfield" could feature NPC dialogues that are way more dynamic than what players witnessed in "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim," or "Fallout 4."