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CDPR's Quest Designer Addresses Criticism of Starfield's Dialogue Staging

Patrick Mills has spoken about the criticism of how Starfield's dialogues are staged, saying that "it's not a focus for them for a lot of reasons".

Image credit: Bethesda, Starfield

Starfield garnered mostly positive reviews, although both the press and players had their fair share of complaints. One of the main criticisms focused on the game's dialogue animations and camera angles, which have remained largely unchanged since The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

Players have drawn comparisons between the dialogue system in Starfield and that of Cyberpunk 2077, expressing that Starfield feels outdated in contrast to CD Projekt RED's game, despite Cyberpunk 2077 being released almost three years earlier.

Some players speculate that the persistence of the old dialogue system in Starfield may be due to the utilization of Creation Engine. However, Patrick Mills, a Senior Quest Designer and Loremaster at CDPR, has clarified that the engine was not a factor in the decision-making process.

"I like Starfield a lot, so I'm not getting involved in the core criticism here, but I will say that the way they handle cinematics vs. 2077 is not down to engine so much as it is tools and design. Related but not the same," Mills wrote on Twitter.

He also stated that Bethesda's priorities were different for various reasons, such as ensuring a high level of player freedom and providing robust tools for customization.

"It's not a focus for them for a lot of reasons, and the necessarily high level of player freedom is actually as big a deal as the tools. You can't do the Judy's roof thing because you can have that scene play out on a hundred-something different planets, at any time" he stated.

Image credit: Bethesda, Starfield

In addition, Mills pointed out that in Starfield, there are certain scenes that are meticulously staged, such as the initial encounter with the constellation or specific quest sequences. However, the game boasts an extensive array of scenes featuring a diverse cast of characters and an astonishing number of potential locations. So, Bethesda made the decision to prioritize production and opted for a more simplistic camera approach.

"Every major scene in 2077 took literal years to make. In Starfield I can propose to like 10 different NPCs and I can do it on any of a thousand different planets, you can't do elaborate scene design like that, you'd be making the game forever.

Instead, bgs 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," Patrick wrote.

According to Mills, implementing dialogue systems at the level of Cyberpunk 2077 in a game like Starfield would be exceedingly challenging, and it's evident that Bethesda was well aware of this limitation.

Speaking of Mills, a few weeks ago, he addressed all these speculations about Elon Musk being Cyberpunk 2077's NPC, saying that it's nonsense.

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