Starfield Almost Had a Voiced Protagonist But Plan Was Scrapped, Here’s Why

A silent protagonist is often the best protagonist.

Image via Bethesda

In a recent interview with Polygon, Starfield’s Lead Designer, Emil Pagliarulo, revealed that Bethesda once planned to have the main protagonist voice acted but binned the idea in pre-production.

When asked whether fan reaction to Fallout 4’s voiced protagonist caused Bethesda to opt out of including one in Starfield, Pagliarulo revealed that the company had considered it, and actually went so far as to hire an actor and having them read lines.

“In pre-production, the plan was to have a voiced protagonist,” he said in the Starfield interview published on August 28, 2023. “We hired an actor, we got the voice, we listened to him and we were like, You know what, this guy is too specific.”

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According to Pagliarulo, the design team toyed with the idea for a while but decided that having a set voice would interrupt the ability to create a unique character. “Do we have, like some RPGs do, four voices? Do we have one voice, but hire someone else who’s more convenient?” he continued. “…We realized that the only way to really do it and let the player be the person they want to be was to have an unvoiced protagonist.”

Starfield reportedly has over 200,000 lines of spoken dialogue via various non-playable characters with already established identities. So, opting not to voice the main character was, according to Pagliarulo, “really freeing” and “allowed us to create such a big world.”

Starfield releases on August 31, 2023, for those who have purchased the Starfield Premium Edition for Early Access. For everyone else, they’ll be able to launch into space on September 6, 2023.

About the Author

Meg Bethany Koepp

Meg started out as a video games journalist in the UK in 2014, before getting a degree in Games Journalism (yes, it exists). She moved to the US in 2018 where she eventually became Managing Editor at Prima Games in May 2022. When she's not working, you can find her playing her ASUS ROG Ally, training Pokémon, or trailblazing through the galaxy in Honkai: Star Rail. You can contact Meg at [email protected].