Starfield will let you talk your way out of a lot of trouble, but the devs say a true pacifist run of the spacefaring RPG isn't "totally feasible."
As part of a Discord Q&A, lead quest designer Will Shen and lead designer Emil Pagliarulo discussed the viability of a totally non-violent playthrough of Starfield, the idea being to avoid killing anyone, or potentially anything, whatsoever.
"I can’t guarantee every mission can be completed in pacifist mode, but we do have a couple of systems that will help," Shen begins. "One system is our Speech Challenge game, where you can persuade someone to do something like not fight you." As we learned earlier this year, the Starfield dialogue system looks like a modern take on Oblivion's persuasion, which is exciting to see.
"So, we talked about this very early on during pre-production, whether or not we would fully support a 'non-lethal' playthrough. We realized that, for various reasons, that wasn’t totally feasible," Pagliarulo explains. "Now, that being said, there are some good non-lethal options, whether through dialogue or by using a non-lethal weapon. Those can be used in certain situations, honestly a lot of situations, though I couldn’t comfortably say you can complete the entire game without any killing whatsoever.
Shen specifies that "the speech challenge game is added in specific scripted moments, and we try to add one to most quests where important characters confront you."
Pagliarulo adds that while "the Settled Systems is mostly civilized," players are "absolutely going off the beaten path" and are more likely to run into greater dangers in the trenches and margins of the world, and it sounds like they aren't much for talking.
Starfield has officially gone gold, and Xbox pre-load begins tomorrow, August 17. PC players have to wait until August 30 to pre-load the mammoth RPG.
If you're looking for some more reading material, check out the *checks notes* 300 years of Starfield backstory that Bethesda just dropped.