Bethesda recently showed off some brand new gameplay of their upcoming space RPG, Starfield! In the footage, we saw gunplay for the first time, as well as a glimpse of the story and its RPG mechanics. It is one of the most highly anticipated games out there, and all eyes are on Bethesda to deliver.
Despite all of the interesting things we saw, there are still quite a few things we don’t know about the game. While it may be too late to request some features from Bethesda, it wouldn’t hurt to create a wish list of what we want to see when the full game finally releases in 2023. We’ve compiled a list of the top ten things we want to see from Starfield when it comes to systems next year!
10 Things We’d Love to See from Starfield
Let’s get right into it!
1. Alternatives To Resource Gathering
Fallout 4 had an excellent gameplay loop. Players would explore the open world, engage in combat with enemies, and gather resources to upgrade their armor and weapons. While many fans — myself included — really enjoyed the feeling of scavenging around for resources to upgrade our gear, many other players disliked the system.
The main reason for this is that gathering resources can often get tedious and time-consuming. Many players who like to min-max their gear don’t want to spend time exploring a large dungeon looking for one rare material they need to upgrade their weapon when they already have everything else they need. And who can blame them? Having to grind for resources in a video game is almost never fun.
In Starfield, Bethesda should give us an option to circumvent the resource gathering system when upgrading our guns. There could be special merchants in the game that we can go to who will upgrade our gear for us, no resources required. In order to keep things balanced, I imagine upgrading from them could get pretty expensive.
For players who don’t want to research for upgrades in addition to gathering resources to craft them, we should also be able to outright purchase research requirements, albeit for an expensive price. Another option for getting around tedious resource gathering would be a difficulty slider for crafting upgrades. This could make it so that we only need common resources to craft mods, not rare ones.
2. Morally Diverse Companions
One of my least favorite aspects of Fallout 4 was the companions. Not the companions themselves or the way they interacted with the player — that aspect was fantastic. What I didn’t like about them was how they all seemed to be goody-two-shoes characters who expected the player to make the morally good decision. There were some baddies, such as X6-88, but the majority of them were morally good.
Bethesda partially fixed this by introducing a raider companion in the Fallout 4 DLC, Nuka World. But the roster in the base game still had too many good guys. They would make great friends in real life but in an RPG? Not so much. Having so many good-guy companions discourages players from doing evil playthroughs, which can make each subsequent playthrough feel more same-y and less interesting.
In Starfield, Bethesda should have a good balance of compassionate and morally good characters and evil, malicious characters. Additionally, there should be some morally gray companions to make things really interesting. Imagine a space pirate companion who can aid you in combat with explosive weapons! Or a smooth-talking gunslinger mercenary who offers you his help in exchange for money!
3. Survival Mechanics
Before we go any further, yes, I will be mentioning Fallout 4 again. And yes, I will be talking about it a lot more in this article. Sorry. One really great thing about Fallout 4 is its harsh and unforgiving survival mode. This new way to play the game was added post-launch and forced players to treat the game like a true survival experience. You could get in lots of trouble if you didn’t eat and drink regularly.
Being unable to quicksave and having to sleep to save made exploration and combat much more intense, as failure was so punishing. The adrenaline feature gave you bonus damage the longer you went without sleeping, leading to an interesting risk-reward dynamic that I haven’t seen in many other games. There were so many good things about the mode, and it made the game more replayable.
If survival mode returns in Starfield, be it on day one or post-launch, it should include all the bells and whistles that Fallout 4 had, and much more. It should encourage players to engage with the game’s systems more often and to plan ahead before rushing into a fight. Bethesda can take advantage of the space setting and give us a fuel meter for our ship, unique alien diseases, and so much more.
4. Unique Random Encounters
One of the best things about exploration in a Bethesda game is the random encounters you can come across. Whether it’s a bandit demanding you hand over your coin or two completely identical men calling the other one a robot, random encounters make exploration very fun and immersive. So much so that many players expect open-world games to have them in some shape or form.
Starfield should be no different. More importantly, since it’s a sci-fi game set in space, it should take full advantage of its setting when handing out random encounters. Imagine watching an asteroid crash down on a planet’s surface, then looting it for some rare resources. Or maybe a space pirate comes aboard your craft and demands tribute!
There are so many interesting options for encounters, and I hope that Bethesda doubles down on them in this game. Considering there are over a thousand planets, some of which will be quite desolate, random encounters would shake things up, make exploration fun, and it lessen the blow of having less hand-crafted content to explore on unpopulated planets.
5. Improved AI
As many people have pointed out after watching the Besthesda gameplay reveal for Starfield, the shooting looks rough. Really rough. One of the reasons is that NPCs didn’t seem to react very strongly when being shot at. While this is hopefully gameplay from an earlier build that will be changed by release time, it’s still something that we should be concerned about.
Even if Bethesda isn’t able to give us fantastic shooting, one way to make the combat better would be improved AI. NPCs should react faster to being shot at, and should make more of an attempt to get out of the way. In the gameplay reveal, one NPC ran towards the player while holding a knife, making no attempt to dodge fire. It would be cool if NPCs could jump from side to side as they rushed.
It would also be great if groups of NPCs acted more like a team, and pushed together or made an attempt to flank the player. Again, shooting has never been Bethesda’s strongest selling point. But Starfield is the perfect opportunity to improve the AI so that combat can be more engaging and rewarding.
6. Unique Story
When many people first heard of the story of Starfield, they were disappointed. The idea of humanity in the distant future seeking out an alien artifact and making contact with an extraterrestrial species is really cool, but it is a common sci-fi trope that we’ve seen many times before. I’m personally looking forward to the story and think that it will be great, but I can understand people’s hesitation.
There are many different things that Bethesda can do with this story just based on what we already know about the game. Maybe the alien species will be something completely unique and unexpected? Or, maybe there will be a shocking plot twist that completely changes how we view the story? What if the two major factions in the game tie into the alien plot in an interesting way?
I write articles for a living, not fictional stories, so I wouldn’t be the best person to ask about what they should do. Even if the base plot isn’t that interesting, we could at least get some unique side plots and characters thrown in. Bethesda has always been very good at making memorable side stories, so even if the main story doesn’t do anything unique, we’ll always have that side content.
7. Interesting Perks
Based on what we have seen so far, the perk system — or skills, as they’re called in Starfield — looks pretty standard for what we’ve seen in other RPGs. The fact that you can level them up by completing challenges is a neat idea. I also like that you can have up to three different starting skills based on the background you pick. One thing, in particular, I am concerned with, however, are the skills themselves.
Many of them seem to be pretty basic stat increases, allowing you to use the weapons you have more efficiently. There are also some that just unlock new crafting recipes. Now, it is fine if some skills are like this. But a good RPG would provide plenty of unique skills that really change up how you play the game. There is one skill that allows you to intimidate an enemy into laying down their weapon, which is nice.
We need more perks like that. I don’t want to just have less weapon sway or more damage with my gun, I want to do really cool things with my character. Maybe we could get a perk that causes enemies to explode and deal damage to nearby NPCs if you shoot them in the head? Maybe we could get one that allows us to throw our melee weapons like a spear, doing extra critical damage? That would be sick.
8. Choice & Consequence
While many people love Bethesda games for exploration, there are quite a few old-school Bethesda fans who want an excellent RPG with lots of choice and consequences. I am one of those fans. Since Bethesda said that Starfield would be much more “hardcore” in terms of its RPG elements, I would hope that this sentiment also includes having more consequences for your in-game actions.
There are many different ways Bethesda could achieve this. Maybe when doing a quest, we will make a decision that could lock us out of joining one of the factions in the game. It would also be cool to see companions pressure us into making certain decisions, and if we don’t do what they want our reputation with them would be permanently sourced. This gives our choices much more weight.
It would also be fantastic if the world would visibly change depending on certain decisions we make. Maybe if we help the Free Star Collective over the United Colonies, they could take over certain areas. They would hang up their flags everywhere and you could see patrols of their soldiers walking around. NPCs could even commentate on everything that transpired, and news stories could cover the event.
9. Well-Written Factions
No disrespect intended to Bethesda, but their writing isn’t exactly top-tier. In Fallout 3, the story’s factions were pretty basic and one-sided. You have the good-guy Brotherhood of Steel protecting the weak, versus the evil Enclave looking to commit genocide on the wasteland. Fallout 4 tried to improve this, but it also had some major writing flaws.
The Institute lacked any real motivation or plan for humanity’s future, which made them nowhere near as interesting as they could be. Remember that famous line from the leader of the Institute when you ask him about the Institute’s plans for the future? “It is too complicated for you to understand.” Yeah, I remember that line too. Let’s not make that same mistake again in Starfield.
While I don’t expect Fallout New Vegas-level writing, I hope that Bethesda agrees with us when we say that things need to improve. So far, the two major factions in the game — The United Colonies and The Free Star Collective — are a little basic in their premise. But that doesn’t mean they will be poorly written or lack proper motivation. Bethesda can still do a lot with them to make them intriguing factions.
I want them to have actual plans for their futures and reasons why we should side with them. They need to allow players to engage and have a conversation with them. Again, it doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, just something that isn’t “the good guys” vs. “the bad guys.” As long as they each have plenty of interesting and complex characters, we should be fine.
10. Hand-Crafted, Content-Rich Exploration
We all know Todd Howard and his love of marketable quotes. “It just works!” and “Sixteen times the detail!” Neither of these quotes have aged well, and many people felt their hearts drop into their chests when they heard him get up on stage and say, “One thousand planets!” Many fans are worried this means we won’t be getting the same level of detail as past games.
Bethesda has always used procedural generation to make content, but never on the scale that it’s being done in Starfield. While it’s perfectly fine to have some procedurally generated content, we must not forget the importance of having lots of meaningful ways to interact with what you are exploring. There needs to be plenty of areas with loads of things to do.
This means hand-crafted dungeons, quests with multiple outcomes, unique NPCs to talk with, and the works. Many people I’ve talked to online seem to agree that smaller, more dense worlds are the way to go. It allows developers to craft more memorable experiences that players will have fun revisiting. But can Bethesda pull off the best of both worlds with Starfield? Only time will tell.
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We hope you enjoyed this article on the top ten things we want to see from Starfield! What do you want to see the most from Bethesda’s next RPG? Let us know! If you haven’t already, take a minute to watch the trailer, and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for more weekly content! We offer regular features on all the best games, including more open-world RPGs!