For some time now, we’ve known that Bethesda originally planned to give your Starfield character a voice – like it did with Fallout 4. However, while confirming that it did hire actors in pre-production to portray the playable protagonist, we still don’t know what the player-character would have sounded like. Well, until now. Starfield actor Elias Toufexis reveals that your player-character almost sounded like Sam Coe or Andreja – depending on which Body Type you chose.
We know whether your player-character has a voice or not isn’t the only thing to think about when it comes to a game like Starfield being regarded as one of the best RPG games of all time, but it’s certainly something that can – and does – have a huge impact on a player’s experience with the game. If anything, it has the potential to make or break the ‘roleplaying’ aspect of a ‘roleplaying game’ like this. So, the decision to include a player-character voice or not is an important one and – after backlash from Fallout 4 fans – Bethesda decided against the idea. A decision we now know was the right one.
But, actors were hired – as this Polygon interview with Starfield design director Emil Pagliarulo reveals – and there was a player-character voice, once. Now, thanks to the man behind the voice of Sam Coe, we know a little bit more about what that cut voice would have sounded like. On X (formerly Twitter), Elias Toufexis is sharing that himself and Anreja voice actor Cissy Jones – another one of the Starfield companions you can travel the Settled Systems with – were originally tasked with bringing the player-character to life. He also adds that the player-character efforts are all still his work, so Sam Coe and the player-character grunt the same – which is nice.
Before being given Sam Coe to voice, something Toufexis respects Bethesda for as “games never do [that]” (meaning, when you’re cut from a project, you’re usually out of the job), he says that both himself and Jones “worked for months” on player-character voices – something that suggests quite a few voice lines were worked out and recorded. Now, though, after the decision was made to cut player-character voices from Starfield, players can hear both Toufexis and Jones as Sam Coe and Andreja. Not only is it good to see both actors were still able to contribute to the project after the decision to cut their original roles was made, but it’s also – without a doubt – the right choice now that we know what Sam Coe and Andreja sound like.
As much as we do enjoy hearing Sam Coe’s dulcet tones from time to time, and Andreja’s firm line delivery on occasion, having those two voices for your player-character – even if they were tweaked slightly – would feel limiting and ultimately hinder the experience. Sam Coe is one six-shooter away from the Wild West and Andreja often comes across as a closed book. With Bethesda offering players so much freedom through the Starfield character creator, these player-character voices would ultimately be counter-productive to the developer’s other efforts and encourage players to roleplay their characters in a specific way unintentionally.
This is something Pagliarulo echoes, while also explaining how important cutting player-character voices was to the overall experience. He explains that both Toufexis and Jones felt “too specific” after testing in pre-production and that this led to the studio realizing 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”.
“It was not having a voiced protagonist that allowed us to create such a big world”, Pagliarulo then adds. We’re not sure this applies to all the Starfield planets you can explore and the extensive Starfield ship customization you can take advantage of, but it certainly applies to the Starfield characters you come across, the Starfield factions you can join, and anywhere else where you stumble across an NPC.
Without a voiced protagonist, Starfield has around 200,000 lines of spoken dialgie, says Pagliarulo – a staggering amount worthy of a game of this scope. In comparison, Fallout 4 has roughly 112,000 lines of spooken diagogue – with a huge portion of those belonging to the player character. With the sheer number of conversations you have in Starfield and the dialogue options we now know Bethesda wanted to include, having a voiced player-character would have either required an incredible amount of work or cutting back on a lot of the options available – near-doubling the amount of spoken dialogue in your game is quite something.
However, now, while you search for the best Starfield weapons and the best Starfield outpost locations, you can do so portraying your character your way. You might be about to make this major mistake with your Starfield skills, but you’re not being forced into playing as a ‘space cowboy’ like Sam Coe – which is definitely a good thing. (Sorry, Sam!)
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 like a New Atlantis map for exploration.