CDPR dev defends Starfield amid criticisms that its character animations don't match up to Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077
(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

A veteran developer at CD Projekt Red has leapt to Starfield's defence amid criticism of the game's character animations.

Cyberpunk 2077's launch back in 2020 was nothing short of disastrous, but after numerous updates, an overhaul of the base game, and the ambitious Phantom Liberty expansion, CD Projekt Red has spectacularly turned things around. So impressed are fans with Cyberpunk 2077, in fact, that they wish Starfield would take a leaf out of its book.

On Twitter, user @SynthPotato wrote, "As much as I like Starfield, Creation Engine needs to go. Going back to Cyberpunk puts in perspective just how outdated Starfield's dialogue animations are, and it is staggering. Starfield does not have body animations in dialogue, aside from basic turns and the occasional generic hand gesture. I've been really feeling more and more critical of Starfield after going back to Cyberpunk, with the constant load screens, awful dialogue camera and lackluster animations."

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This prompted a response from CD Projekt Red's senior quest designer, Patrick K. Mills, who argued that the way both games handle cinematics and animations is more down to "tools and design" than the engine they are built on. 

Mills points out that the focus for Starfield is more on offering a tremendous amount of freedom on a mammoth scale. "They do some scenes that are staged in a more refined way, like meeting constellation for the first time, some quest sequences etc," he says. "But they have vastly more scenes with a revolving cast of characters and a mind boggling number of possible locations."

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He also points out that each of Cyberpunk 2077's major scenes took years to put together, which just wouldn't be feasible in a game as huge as Starfield. "Instead, [Bethesda Game Studios] puts their resources into giving maximum levels of player freedom, they are just doing something different with their time and that's cool. You can want their scenes to be more cinematic or whatever, and that's fair, but it comes at a cost."

This isn't the first time Mills has come to Starfield's defence. Last month, the developer responded to a video comparing the game to Cyberpunk 2077, implying it lacked the level of detail and realism found in CD Projekt Red's offering. Mills wasn't having any of it and described it as "fake criticism" and "actively harmful".

Check out our Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 update guide for all the new additions to the core game.

Anne-Marie Ostler
Freelance Writer

Originally from Ireland, I moved to the UK in 2014 to pursue a Games Journalism and PR degree at Staffordshire University. Following that, I've freelanced for GamesMaster, Games TM, Official PlayStation Magazine and, more recently, Play and GamesRadar+. My love of gaming sprang from successfully defeating that first Goomba in Super Mario Bros on the NES. These days, PlayStation is my jam. When not gaming or writing, I can usually be found scouring the internet for anything Tomb Raider related to add to my out of control memorabilia collection.