Starfield Direct needs to show me choice, consequences, and customization

Starfield dialogue system demo video persuading space pirate
(Image credit: Bethesda)

The Starfield Direct showcase is coming, and I already know exactly what I want from it. As a big fan of RPGs and story-driven experiences, there's nothing I love more than when my choices have direct consequences on me, the world around me, and/or those who surround me. Outside of customization, there's no better way to make us feel like we're shaping an adventure of our own than by giving us options for navigating scenarios, and choosing what approaches to take. From everything we've seen and heard about Starfield so far, Bethesda's highly anticipated space-faring role-player looks set to put choice at the heart of the experience. As Todd Howard said during the initial gameplay reveal last year, "It's not our story, it's the story you create by who you are and the choices you make". 

Of course, that "starts with character creation", says Howard, with Bethesda once again giving us the chance to customize and create our very own space adventurer. While we've seen some of the game's customization options so far – such as perks that come in the form of Starfield traits that we can choose for our character – we've yet to see much about how our choices will impact our journey among the stars. With the Starfield Direct scheduled for June 11, we're in-line for another fresh helping of Starfield gameplay, and as an experience that promises to let you "be who you want", I for one want more on how our choices, and their consequences, will determine the outcomes of our adventures.

Showing character


(Image credit: Bethesda)

Bethesda's past offerings are among the best RPGs around, and that's partly down to the way they nail their role-playing fundamentals – you build and shape characters to your whims, and you make decisions that can have a direct impact on myriad questlines. Starfield looks set to follow suit, with lead quest designer Will Shen having previously said in an interview that Starfield's quest design is "going back to our old-school RPG roots", with "lots of dialogue choices, referencing the player's skills and background, and a variety of combat and non-combat activities". 

The mention "referencing the player's skills and backgrounds" is what my imagination keeps sticking on when it comes to Starfield. I'm beyond excited to discover how the character traits and backgrounds will come into play, and how our choices may be reflected – perhaps with unique dialogue that'll be open to us as a result, or how others view us in the universe. Such details can really flesh out a character, and, combined with traits and perks, can add new layers of sophistication to their makeup. With everything from having Alien DNA after volunteering for a controversial experiment, to being an Empath who can deeply connect to the feelings of others, and even having a starter home that lumps you with a mortgage from the outset, I really hope we get a closer look at what's on offer and what they actually mean for us when it comes to our experience in space. 

Since there appears to be such a wide range of traits to choose from, I can already foresee myself spending far too much time carefully considering which ones to assign my character. But I'm keen to see just how much impact they'll actually have on the experience and whether or not we need to pay as much attention to them as I suspect we do. I would love to see some examples of how they might influence the direction of the story we shape in Starfield during the Direct, and how they may also affect quest lines as Shen appears to suggest.

Choices matter 


(Image credit: Bethesda)

"With main story quests, random encounters, and side quests, I'm dying to see at least one example of how a choice or approach we may be able to take will actually matter."

Outside of traits, it would be exciting to see choices and consequences in a broader sense when it comes to quests or the Starfield Factions we're set to meet. With main story quests, random encounters, and side quests, I'm dying to see at least one example of how a choice or approach we may be able to take will actually matter. Will we be faced with choices akin  to the level of The Outer Worlds, whereby a decision can lead to an entire colony closing down? Or will they be subtler and lead to the same outcome in some instances? 

With Shen previously saying that the Starfield quests will always have "some better option you might miss", it sounds as though we'll be presented with various options and approaches, but the proof really is in the pudding. I don't expect we'll be shown too much in terms of any quests so as to avoid spoilers, and I certainly do want to be surprised when the Starfield release date rolls around in September, but if choice really is such a big part of the upcoming RPG, I still can't help but hope we may see some examples of just this during the Starfield Direct. If we do, I'm sure it will only add to my excitement at the prospect of jumping into a game that may very well allow me to live out an adventure of my own making in the realms of space. 

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.