Starfield’s NPC Approach is a Tradition Decades in the Making | Games Rants
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Starfield’s NPC Approach is a Tradition Decades in the Making | Games Rants


  • While Starfield has its quirks, such as the way NPCs are treated, this is not new for Bethesda games, and fans familiar with the studio’s RPG formula will know what to expect.
  • The game’s NPCs sometimes exhibit strange AI behavior and certain NPCs cannot be killed due to their importance to the story.
  • Any flaws in the NPC design can generally be excused by the quality of the surrounding gameplay and the often-amusing antics of NPCs.

Starfield has finally been released, and it seems to have cemented itself as one of the best sci-fi RPGs of recent years. Exploring a new genre is always a risky endeavor, especially after 25 years of doing the same thing, but Bethesda has crafted an incredible journey through the stars that players will likely not soon forget. While that all sounds great, Starfield also seems to have a few quirks that Bethesda fans will know all too well.

Bethesda has made a name for itself with its RPG formula through both The Elder Scrolls and Fallout. Players usually know what to expect from the studio whenever a new game comes out. However, Xbox Game Pass has opened up Starfield to a whole new audience that may have never experienced a Bethesda game before. This means that there could be a ton of people unfamiliar with some of the rougher sides of these games, specifically when it comes to the way the studio treats its countless NPCs.

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Starfield’s Handling of NPCs is Nothing New for Bethesda


Open-world RPGs are often filled to the brim with NPCs to help make the worlds feel alive. These NPCs often come in many forms with their own unique roles that they often complete on a loop. There are often quest givers, important story characters, random side characters, nameless guards and soldiers, and other NPCs just wandering the many cities. This is something that every single Bethesda RPG has done alongside most of its RPG peers, but some players have noticed a few odd things with Starfield‘s version.

After Baldur’s Gate 3 let players kill any NPC they came across, some players expected Starfield to do the same. However, they quickly realized that Bethesda did not give them that same level of control. While players will kill many NPCs during their adventure, they cannot kill certain ones as they are important to the story. Instead of dying, these NPCs will just hunch over for a bit before getting back up to resume their duties. This may seem like a bug or an odd mechanic, but it is actually a staple of Bethesda RPGs.

Bethesda will often give players control of the narrative and include multiple endings to reward additional playthroughs. However, quest-essential NPCs have never been killable, which ensures that players are able to actually finish the many stories these games offer. While players may want more control over Starfield‘s narrative, Bethesda has yet to truly give them that power. Maybe the studio will lift these barriers some day, but for now players will just have to work around it.

Some players have also noticed that Starfield‘s NPCs also seem to suffer from an assortment of bugs that cause strange AI behavior. Again, this is pretty standard for a Bethesda RPG. The game’s AI will often make strange decisions, move abnormally, or even pull a gun on the player for no reason. An argument can be made that this should not be a problem in 2023. However, the fun gameplay and interesting stories often make up for some of these rougher edges.

Starfield‘s NPCs may seem a bit odd, yet they are no odder than past Bethesda RPGs. These games have always had an interesting relationship with the characters that populate their worlds, which Starfield seems to be putting on full display once more. Because of that, players have spent the last couple of days spreading around hilarious videos of the strangest NPC encounters they can find. Just like with Fallout 4 before it, these quirks will make players talk about Starfield for years to come.

Starfield is available now on PC and Xbox Series X/S

MORE: Starfield is Fallout in Space, But That’s a Good Thing

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