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Starfield devs reveal the classic games that influence Bethesda’s RPG

Starfield is Bethesda's first new world in two decades, and to bring it to fruition Bethesda's Will Shen and Emil Pagliarulo discuss the space RPG's influences.

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Putting together a world as vast as Starfield means that inspiration can come from anywhere. Bethesda’s first new world in decades is almost here as the Starfield release date approaches, and to flesh out the game’s world, studio design director Emil Pagliarulo and lead quest designer Will Shen discuss the game’s influences in a recent Q&A session.

When it comes to diving into books and movies, Shen says the game’s quests come from his love of the past: “I’m a history nerd, so I actually listen to a lot of podcasts like Hardcore History and The History of Rome.” Fittingly, Pagliarulo cites “very fond memories” of sci-fi classics such as “Star Wars, original Battlestar Galactica, Space: 1999, Buck Rogers, [and] Battle Beyond the Stars.”

However, two franchises in particular are key to Pagliarulo’s love for space. “I love space games. Love the original Elite and Elite Dangerous. [Wing Commander] Privateer was a huge influence,” Pagliarulo details. You may have heard about the Elite franchise before, as Starfield competitor No Man’s Sky also shares the same inspiration. The first Elite game was released in 1984, drawing acclaim for its open-ended design, allowing the player to carve out their own path of space trading, piracy, and other interstellar antics.

The most recent entry of the Elite franchise, Elite Dangerous, explores a 1:1 scale representation of the Milky Way galaxy. Like Elite Dangerous, you’ll probably get lost exploring all the Starfield planets in your play through.

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It would later serve up ideas and influences for developer Origin Systems and publisher Electronic Arts, with the arrival of Wing Commander Privateer, pictured above. It’s easy to see where Starfield is looking to regarding Starfield ship customization, which we’re sure you’re eager to experiment with.

Elsewhere, Shen adds on the subject of history that “while our game is science fiction, I like how historians can tell you about how human beings react to extreme circumstances (like war, famine, and technological breakthroughs), and you can imagine how we’d react to similar circumstances in a fictional setting (just at a grander scale).”

We’d be remiss if we didn’t draw attention to some of the best science fiction movies of all time, as Pagliarulo notes that movies “like Contact, Interstellar, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and even Event Horizon” are in the mix too.

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There’s no time to waste ahead of Starfield’s arrival, so get the game downloaded via the Starfield preload as soon as possible. We can’t wait to see how Shen, Pagliarulo, and the rest of Bethesda’s influences have shaped the Starfield cities, the core Starfield companions, and the overall story and lore of this behemoth RPG.

Still looking for more? While a good Starfield wiki can be a handy source of information, our new Starfield Database goes further, offering you daily news, searchable databanks, and even interactive tools.