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I hope this game is the opposite of Starfield


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Yesterday Bethesda revealed a lot of Starfield in their not-E3 conference. You can see it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcs0eyZF6ng

What they revealed was:

* Ship flying and combat

* Leveling system based on Fallout 4 with perks such as "+10% small guns damage" and "+10% medpack healing"

* Scanning animals and plants

* Resource gathering and crafting

* Base building and management

* Over 1000 planets that you can land on. This will probably be completely auto generated landscapes similar to No Mans Sky.

 

None of this is why I want to play an RPG. In fact they barely seemed interested in that. All they said was that the story was about gathering some thingies and that there would be factions. So more of Fallout 4 essentially. They do not care about trying to write better stories or characters. instead of inventing cool new alien worlds, which is what made Morrowind so great, they have just made a bunch of human settlements with generic space architecture.

I know this is a lot of criticism for a game that isn't out yet, but based on what they wanted to advertise this game with it seems to be Fallout 76 + No Mans Sky. I hope Obsidian does not feel inspired to try and copy that. I still replay Fallout New Vegas a lot more than I replay Fallout 4, even with its technical additions. For TOW 2 I would much rather be engaged in a great story, discover cool alien worlds, or have to make hard choices, than running around gathering iron ore so I can add a new gun to my space ship so I can kill my auto generated enemies.

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I don't know about *the opposite* but I definitely hope they've planned to go in a totally different direction. As much as I am looking forward to both, we'll see Avowed before TOW2 so there's probably not a ton that's entirely concrete at this point. Then again, they've got Microsoft money, so they won't be living from game budget to game budget, who knows? They could be blocking out levels right now.

I'll also point out that, AFAIK the 10% increases were things you unlock by using them, so if you unlock an SMG perk and never shoot an SMG you won't get anything else, but if you use ARs then your AR perk will improve through use, unlocking those percentage based improvements. I was annoyed myself, when I thought that they were falling into the same "Perk every level means we need filler perks everyone will have to have" build flattening trap Fallout 4 fell into.

What I found the most hilarious to me about Fallout 4 was the fact that it copied the stuff that made me shrug and say "Well, I don't have any desire to do that again atm." when I finished New Vegas the first time after launch. NV did so much right, but their 4 factions (if you could Yes-man as a faction leader) was the least appealing aspect to me. When I finished as the head of the wastes I didn't look at Caesar's Legion or the NCR and say "Yeah, I want to back them instead." I will say that each faction was fleshed out respectably, even if Ulysses' original incarnation got cut. Fallout 4 did much worse IMO by forcing you to destroy the Institute with every non-Institute faction. "Hey, there's all this amazing R&D and tech, should be save it? Nah, let's blow up the only known major R&D done since the apocalypse. Hey, we think these synths are people! Let's blow up the only place they're manufactured so if they all have some manufactured genetic defect we'll have no idea how to cure it and they may well all die. Hey, we love technology and are scattered across the country, let's blow up teleportation technology because there's a funky 3D printer nearby that we really don't like. More, the lack of minor factions in Fallout 4 really hurts the setting and world building, leaving vast holes for people named Settler that will never be a part of some people's games because they don't like building in single player titles since no other person will use their work.

F4 mechanics are tight, I've got over 1700 hours in the game, but it's almost entirely about collecting junk and shooting for me. I put on an audiobook if I want to be interested in a story while I play it. Bethesda has definitely been going in a direction for the last several games, and it's not the one I'd choose for them, for sure. Fallout 4 is about reshaping the immediate Wasteland with duct tape, where I'd prefer choices and consequences that made me feel like I did more than build a series of concrete fortresses that no one acknowledges in any way (and seriously, would it have been hard to have people say "Have you seen the new construction at X" when you were near the settlement build limit? Or remark on a settlement being attacked/repelling an attack? So many potential barks that aren't accusing me of being a synth there to spy on some dirt farmer.)

Game developers aren't working in opposition though, especially not to a sister-studio under the Microsoft umbrella, so there's plenty of room for one of the biggest RPG developers to stop developing RPGs and start developing simulation/shooters with lite RPG trappings (numbers get bigger, that's RPG, right?) and still have Obsidian and InXile working on choices and consequences, world building that could actually be changed (Defeated The Master? Well, Supermutants are everywhere in Bethesda's Fallout, forever. Almost all dumb-dumbs too, even the talking super mutants.) 

I'm curious if the first original IP from Bethesda with Todd as CEO will actually improve and adapt over time. Everything else they inherited from Black Isle or Michael Kirkbride era Bethesda. Even Morrowind, which could easily be said to be the most alien of the "modern" Bethesda Elder Scrolls titles, was mostly finished when Todd finished up Redguard. Since then Todd's seemingly only had one desire, to remove elements from RPGs. He got down to "Can we do one without NPCs?" which... yeah. No? I feel like the answer was a resounding no. They didn't even format the game like Rust, where there could conceivably have been a lot more interactions and reasons to interact with other potentially hostile players with caution against a definitely hostile world. Worse IMO, they didn't even let the PLAYERS do that, because they want to sell Fallout 1st in perpetuity and releasing dedicated server software so people who would prefer that gameplay could have it. That, despite having said they would. I may be bitter about 76. And I may also think that Todd's imposter syndrome may have e.g. cost us the chance to see what Bethesda could do with an engine designed from the ground up by John Carmack, but that's neither here nor there. I know game developers don't like to see people building their work up by tearing someone else's down.

At any rate, since this is the first thing where the answer "What can we take away" will only be "Something we added for a reason" I'm curious what will happen. Will Starfield launch and become an untouchable timeless (because Bethesda doesn't know how time works, and thinks 20 years and 220 years are approximately equivalent as for how much nature will reclaim structures) IP where people who have an architectural motif will maintain that exact standard for the next thousand years implying a disturbing level of cultural stagnation? Only time will tell. There's vast potential there, either way.

I hope that Starfield goes in a more simulation focused direction, part Sim Settlements, part Satisfactory, where we can build our own parts for spaceships and weapons. If I had my druthers, we'd see an equipment manufacturing section of the game that was completely decoupled from the leveling, by which I mean if I build a colony to manufacture top tier weapons, I don't have to actually be the world's greatest marksman. It's more than a little silly when F4 weapons upgrades need e.g. sniper perks to make the best sniper rifles, manufacturing things you can't use as well as your customer base is common practice, and it's way more jarring to my suspension of disbelief to say "You need to be level 40 to manufacture this widget" than... just about anything else? If they did go that route, I hope they did it sensibly and made some kind of BS certification you need to get and need to be a certain level for (or better, need to complete a quest filled with enemies of that level where I can sneak and avoid combat or talk my way past or whatever.)

There's so much room in the "Science Fiction RPG" genre it's not even funny. If they announced tomorrow that InXile's rumored Steampunk FPS RPG, Starfield, and TOW2 were all launching the same year, I'd play them all before the year was out (provided they weren't all launching in late December.) On top of that, I'd play Fallout London, Miami, and Cascadia in the same timeframe (though admittedly Fallout is only loosely sci-fi.)

I lived through the 90s, when it was hip for games publishers to say "RPGs? Why would we make any of those? We haven't sold one copy of a new RPG in the last year! How many did we make? Zero, obviously, duh. What do you mean, self fulfilling prophecy?" so I'll never feel like there's a glut of these things. More, though, they retain their value and replayability for many years. Some of the people who are going to love Starfield and The Outer Worlds 2 haven't even been born yet, they're not likely to care if they were shipped in the same decade as one another. We don't want to give people the impression that Microsoft is in danger of reaching market saturation or competing with itself.

So, even if I'm inclined to agree with most of what you're saying, it's patently false to think that these titles have to be in competition with one another. I try to keep my Starfield complaints to the Starfield subreddit, and my TOW2 speculation... here, mostly, I guess?

TL;DR: I get what you're saying, but keep in mind for the future that it's a bummer to developers when fans tear another game down to build theirs up.

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