Many fans are eager to go on Bethesda’s next adventure. Some data came out recently that may help estimate how many quests and characters Starfield will have. Creative director Todd Howard made a big announcement at the 2021 Tokyo Game Show: Bethesda’s upcoming project, Starfield, will feature over 150,000 lines of dialogue. For reference, Skyrim has 60,000 and Fallout 4 has 110,000. Those figures are without DLC.
So, Starfield will have over twice as many as Skyrim and 40,000 more than Fallout 4. The increase from Fallout 4 to Starfield is not as big as the increase from Skyrim to Fallout 4. However, it is still the largest script of any Bethesda game.
Is It Too Much?
One question that comes up sometimes when discussing open world RPGs is, how big should they be? Can they keep growing forever or is there a point where it becomes too much? My response to that question is that gamers will find out in the next 10 years. As these games keep getting bigger, the answer will draw closer.
To be less vague, I think that there is a limit to how big open world RPGs should be, and that Starfield will not pass it. I’m guessing that 150,000 lines is about the same amount that Fallout 4 with all the DLC has, which is not too much. To speculate, I think that a game with 250,000 lines of dialogue may be overwhelming.
Furthermore, it is a mistake to use a single metric to measure a game’s size. Things like the map and quests need to be considered as well. Also, we need to consider how those 150,000 lines are distributed. Are there more characters than Fallout 4 has averaging the same amount of dialogue? Or does Starfield have about the same amount of characters, but with more dialogue per character? The former would likely mean more quests, thus more content. The latter would probably mean longer questlines, or more quests with multiple possible outcomes.
How Fallout 4 Can Help Us Estimate
Here’s exactly what creative director Todd Howard said.
And, happy to tell you all that yes, it’s going to be fully translated and voiced Japanese. It’s our largest translation ever, over 300 actors and over 150,000 lines of dialogue. Can’t wait for you all to play it, thanks for everything.
We can use another detail to speculate about how the 150,000 lines of dialogue are distributed. Todd Howard also said that the Japanese translation has “over 300 actors.” So, it seems safe to assume that the English version also has 300 actors. Given the context, it seems logical that he is talking specifically about voice actors, but he does not say voice actors. He may be including roles like motion capture actors within that number. Since he says, “over 300 actors,” let’s assume that the English and Japanese versions each have approximately 300 voice actors for our purposes.
I have made some calculations by comparing the figures provided by Todd Howard with some of Fallout 4’s figures. Do not take the below data too seriously. I simply made educated guesses based on data from Bethesda’s most recent game of Starfield’s variety. Hence, the figures are estimations.
|Fallout 4 without DLC||Starfield|
|≈ Lines of dialogue||110,000||Minimum lines of dialogue||150,000|
|Voice actors||138||≈ Voice actors||300|
|≈ Characters||510||Characters range||695.4 – 1,110 m=902.7|
|Quests||144||Quests range||196.4 – 257.9 m=227.2|
|Ratio of voice actors to characters||1 : 3.7||Characters assuming Fallout 4’s ratio of voice actors to characters||1,110|
|Ratio of characters to lines of dialogue||1 : 215.7||Characters assuming Fallout 4’s ratio of characters to lines of dialogue||695.4|
|Ratio of quests to characters||1 : 3.5||Quests assuming Fallout 4’s ratio of quests to characters (902.7)||257.9|
|Ratio of quests to lines of dialogue||1 : 763.9||Quests assuming Fallout 4’s ratio of lines of dialogue to quests||196.4|
At this time the above data is my best guess as to how many quests and characters Starfield will have. Hence, around 227 quests and 903 characters. Several factors may throw those figures off. For example, if the player character isn’t voiced, or if questlines are longer than Fallout 4’s, then the above data will be affected.
Fans can experience Bethesda’s next adventure on 11/11/22.
Going by Todd Howards comments in an interview following the criticism of Fallout 4’s character being voiced, it’s safe to say the player won’t be voiced.