It's so close I can almost taste it. Spacerim is around the corner. With the Xbox Showcase deep dive giving us a lot of details, there are still some aspects we haven't confirmed and that I very keenly want.
Here are a few things Starfield needs if it wants to win my game of the decade vote.
1) Moral choices that matter
Bethesda of course has a long history of vastly deep RPGs with decisions and dialogue options that have consequences for the rest of the game. Then there’s Fallout 4.
Fallout 4 is a game I very much enjoy; it was the first Fallout game I played, and I found the combat to be superior to others I later went on to play. But it’s not the most popular among fans of the franchise. Often the reason given for this is the bland story and lack of effective choices.
It at least does it better than a lot of other RPGs. Where no matter the dialogue choice you make the outcome is the same in the end.
With Starfield, I really hope we get meaningful choices, with dramatic impact on the outcome of the game. Let me sass the wrong imperial officer and be made to watch my planet be blown up before me.
2) Romance-able Aliens
Maybe it’s from watching Captain Kirk bang his way around the galaxy, or always picking the flirty dialogues in Mass Effect. But I am keeping my fingers crossed for some intergalactic relationship choices.
No, it’s not an alien fetish. Honestly.
If I can talk my way into the ship cabin of a many-tentacled blue alien, then game of the year.
But with no confirmation if there are aliens in this game, I might have to go disappointed. The game has a very 'near future' Sci-Fi look, so this could be a human-only galaxy.
Which will be a shame, in the name of equality and inclusion I consider myself open to good times with any weird grotesque Xeno the stars throw at me. My Character! I mean, my character is open to these… Moving on.
3) Ability to pilot my own ship (into the sun)
We now know a fair bit about space traversal. And while we have been promised that 'the moon you see over there you can actually fly to'. We haven't been promised 'you can sacrifice you and the entire crew to that big burning ball of gas over'. But then, maybe they want to leave us with some fun surprises.
I am hoping, like Outer Wilds, Elite Dangerous and other open space fairing games, it gives me the freedom to pilot myself to a fiery end. Like a moth to a flame, I can’t help it, any time I’m given total control over my spaceship, I must find out what awaits me in that beautiful orange orb. It could be secrets! Maybe it’s not as hot and dangerous as it looks. Only one way to find out. Punch it Chewy.
4) Funky weaponry
Realistically, in our near future, we aren’t going to be firing lasers, or plasma cannons. At least I don’t think.
But realism can do one. This is Sci-Fi. Give me a Sci-Fi gun. I want to be encasing my foe in a stasis bubble, firing a stream of nano-bots which tear them apart at a molecular level. Something that’s more akin to Ratchet and Clank than Call of Duty.
If you’re going to palm me off with a ballistic projectile weapon, it better at least be the Mass Effect railgun tech type. Dam this is making me want to play Mass Effect.
Fallout has its fair share of peculiar guns; Outer Worlds has a shrink ray. Starfield, give me something inventive and physics-defying, please.
5) Exciting map design
Please not just another sand planet, we’ve had so many sand planets, do you really think more sand is going to wow me Star Wars?! I mean, Starfield.
Yes, Starfield, don’t pull a f**king Star Wars. Give me something enjoyable to look at as I waltz around, banging cyborg space whales.
We probably can’t get away from there being at least one desert, I mean, the trailer showed us a barren rock, so Tatooine might as well be confirmed at this point. But some of the other concept images looked livelier.
For all the negativity targeted at No Man's Sky, the planets themselves are often a little interesting. Albeit in a cartoonish manner. If Starfield can take some inspiration from the Dr Who writers and give us unique planets made entirely of diamonds, less unique once copied, but I still think it would be cool to see.
Give us weird shit, really weird shit, planets that make me question what the writers were on when they conceived of the idea. Flex those creative brains Bethesda, I believe in you.
We now know that unarmed combat will be a thing. It's not all projectile weapons (and hopefully weird science sh*t). And this makes sense, on a planet devoid of atmosphere any knife swipe to your space suit is going to pop your eyes out the front of your face just as much as a bullet.
Some nice melee animation would go a long way in immersing me in my worrying space villain fantasy. Much like Skyrim had, and had ever more of with the right mods, a dramatic third-person decapitation would be very welcome here.
But a little punch or stabby stab isn't quite enough for me. Having dedicated enough of my brain's very limited potential to learning everything about Warhammer 40K, I'm fully in team Chainsword. It's not too much to ask, is it Bethesda? It's a weapon with practical applications after all. Tearing your way into abandoned spaceships, mining resources, eviscerating the odd space pirate. And yes I'll probably cause my partner to leave me after the 500th 'FOR THE EMPEROR!' they hear me yell as I charge down terrified faction soldiers. But I'll be happy. Let me have this Todd.
6) Space the Crew
No pirate game has succeeded yet in giving you the true power trip of having a crewmate walk the plank. Not that I'm aware of anyway. Evil? Maybe. Callous? Sure. But this is my role-playing break from reality and if I deem my companion treacherous enough to need kicking off the crew, then I want the means to send a message to the rest of the team. Let me eject those unwanted leeches into the depths of space. The Sci-fi equivalent of walking the plank.
All the ingredients are there. Air lock, check. Followers, check. Willingness to forgo empathy and take pleasure in the silent screams of those who trusted you... check? You know Bethesda are more than capable of crafting some obnoxious annoying followers, they even showed us one in the deep dive. So if you find yourself with a space Preston Garvey insisting you go help another space settlement every few minutes, maybe let us send him on his way through the nearest exit.
Those were 7 things I want to see from Starfield if it wants to be the best game it can be. If there are any other fantastical things you demand Todd delivers, let us know in the comments.
Bring on Spacerim!
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