After a long wait, Bethesda fans were treated to their first look at Starfield gameplay during the Xbox and Bethesda showcase on June 12th. Let’s discuss 5 things that were notably absent from the Starfield gameplay reveal. Game Director Todd Howard showed off a lot of gameplay in the last 15 minutes of the event, but not everything made the cut.
Sentient Alien Races
Many viewers were surprised not to see any sentient alien races mixed in with the human populations. The shown base character models, or “Biometric IDs,” are all human as well. Starfield doesn’t seem to have any sentient alien races mixed into the game’s civilizations. This is particularly surprising considering that the vast majority of space exploration games do. No Man’s Sky, Destiny, and Mass Effect all have sentient aliens. It’s also surprising considering that Bethesda supports 6 playable non-human races in Elder Scrolls. Perhaps combining alien and human societies is part of Starfield’s story progression.
Neon or Ryujin Industries
One of the settings that fans are very excited to explore is the city of Neon. However, the showcase did not include any in-depth footage of Neon, or Ryujin Industries. There were some shots of Neon in passing, but nothing detailed. Instead, Bethesda largely focused on the cities of New Atlantis and Akila, which is unsurprising.
It makes sense to focus on Starfield’s primary cities and factions when showing gameplay for the first time. One of the most play-defining choices the player will make in Starfield is deciding what factions to join. So, it’s wise to use big events like the showcase to hype up the factions the player will choose between in anticipation of that choice. Neon’s Ryujin Industries seems more like a minor faction that’s mutually inclusive with other ones, like the Thieves Guild in Elder Scrolls. Hence, it likely won’t be used to hype up Starfield as much as the other factions. Nevertheless, the minimal attention to Neon and Ryujin Industries was notable because they’re eagerly anticipated.
Will Shen provided insight into Starfield’s persuasion feature in “Into the Starfield – Ep2: Made for Wanderers.” He made it sound like the mechanic would be an evolved form of what they’ve done in the past. So, it’s a bit surprising that it wasn’t included in the showcase. If this feature is going to elevate player immersion unlike similar features in past games, then why not show it off? Perhaps Bethesda withheld it from this event because they’re planning on doing a whole episode of “Into the Starfield” about persuasion.
Voiced Player Character
Fallout 4 had voiced player characters, so fans have been wondering if Starfield will as well. The gameplay shown at the showcase didn’t include any voiced lines from the player. Later on, Bethesda confirmed that Starfield will not have voiced player characters via Twitter.
— Bethesda Game Studios (@BethesdaStudios) June 13, 2022
Fans have had mixed feelings about player characters being voiced since the launch of Fallout 4. On one hand, it takes immersion to another level. Hearing your character engage in dialogue with NPCs and watching the exchange like a film really makes you feel like a part of that world. On the other hand, it makes it hard to make every playthrough feel different. Regardless of what choices you make in-game, you’ll still only ever have two player voices to choose from. In Starfield, Bethesda has decided to take a break from having a voiced player, but maybe the concept will return in a future game.
The gameplay shown on Kreet provided a look at the gunplay, but no footage showed melee combat. One of the listed “Starting Skills” is called “Dueling” and its description says it increases melee damage, which confirms that there is melee combat in Starfield. This mechanic will likely be treated as secondary to shooting, like Fallout’s melee combat. In Fallout, it’s rarely advantageous to hit rather than shoot, but players still value having the option.
That concludes this analysis of 5 things that were notably absent from the Starfield gameplay reveal. Bethesda did show a lot of great things in those 15 minutes, and there’s more to come.