Starfield devs answer 16 questions from the community and issue a warning: "Don't get caught with those harvested organs"

Starfield NPC behind a desk
(Image credit: Bethesda)

In the run-up to Starfield's launch, two lead devs from Bethesda took to Discord to hold a little Q&A answering questions sourced from hopeful fans, and the resulting info dump also came with a helpful bit of advice: "Don't get caught with those harvested organs." Just like my grandpa used to say.

Lead quest designer Will Shen and lead designer Emil Pagliarulo fielded 16 questions in total. You can view the full conversation on the official Bethesda Game Studios Discord after signing up for Starfield's free Constellation club to get access to the constellation-dev-chat channel. 

Before we dive into a wall of text, here are a few highlights from the Q&A. Can you play through Starfield totally non-violently? You can avoid a lot of trouble, but a pure pacifist playthrough isn't "totally feasible." What about player housing – how does that work? Good news: you can buy a house in all of Starfield cities, and there's at least one secret hideout to unlock through questing. 

Here's a big one for aspiring space thieves: will you be jailed if you get caught committing crimes? Yep, because Starfield's legal system is more like Skyrim than Fallout 4's Commonwealth. Finally, how many Starfield companions can you recruit? Starfield has over 20 named characters for you to recruit, and four of them have extra story content and interactions. 

Now then, onto the nitty-gritty, which is to say, some more highlights. 

  • With the Kids Stuff Starfield trait, will your parents look like your custom character? "Yes, totally," says Pagliarulo. "Just as we did in Fallout 3 with your dad, and in Fallout 4 with your son, in Starfield, if you take the Kid Stuff Trait. your parents are based off of you."
  • How does smuggling work? Any items considered contraband have to be smuggled past security checks, and Pagliarulo says "you can hide them using special ship modules you can purchase. So, you know, don’t get caught with those harvested organs." Note that he didn't say don't harvest them, just don't get caught. 
  • Does time pass in-game when you aren't actively playing? No. 
  • Can you play as a double agent for factions? Yes and no. As Bethesda said last year, you can join all of Starfield's factions at once, kind of "like in Skyrim." So you might be part of two competing Starfield factions – for example, Pagliarulo says, "infiltrate the Crimson Fleet for the UC SysDef" as part of that questline – but Shen says "whether you betray the Fleet or UC SysDef is a choice you will get to make." 
  • What are the religious and belief systems of Starfield? Pagliarulo says real religions are part of Starfield, but the focus is more on original in-universe religions. The relatively new Sanctum Universum, for example, preaches that "God is out there, somewhere in the universe, and that humanity’s ability to travel the stars brings us closer to God." Shen points to the Enlightened, "an atheist group that focuses on humanitarian and community work."
  • What games or movies influenced some of the quests? You're not gonna believe this: Star Wars. Also Battlestar Galactica, Space: 1999, Buck Rogers, Battle Beyond the Stars, Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jaryd Syn, Contact, Interstellar, Event Horizon, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and a few more make up Pagliarulo's list. 
  • Do you have to pay  Starfield crew members a salary to work at outposts? Nope, just a one-time upfront fee. "There’s a lot to do in Starfield, and we wanted to minimize what the player had to constantly keep track of," Pagliarulo says. 

Starfield has gone gold and Xbox pre-load starts August 17. We're getting close, folks. 

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.