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Starfield couldn’t risk doing what Baldur’s Gate 3 does, dev reveals

If you want to see more impactful story choices in Starfield like Baldur's Gate 3, this developer explains why Bethesda couldn't risk it.

Starfield story changes Baldur's Gate 3: an image of Karlach and Sarah Morgan

We know comparing Bethesda’s Starfield to Larian Studios’ Baldur’s Gate 3 might seem a little out of pocket, but they’re both rich RPGs that invite players into wonderfully crafted universes full of fantastic characters and adventures aplenty. However, one of those features important decision-making at every turn and meaningful choices throughout – and it isn’t the one developed by a triple-A studio with Xbox’s backing. If you want to see more important Starfield story choices, though, one developer explains that Bethesda simply just can’t risk it.

Both Starfield and Baldur’s Gate 3 are among the best RPG games we’ve ever seen, which is great for gamers, and both present their respective players with a lot of fun in their respective fictional worlds – be that the Settled Systems or Baldur’s Gate itself. Where one features a branching narrative with thousands of Baldur’s Gate 3 endings to explore, the other offers Starfield New Game Plus and – ultimately – one finale. Why is this the case, though? Well, Bethesda design director Bruce Nesmith says the Starfield studio had to make sure everyone could play everything – which limits the amount of important decisions you can include.

Speaking with Ben Hanson on the MinnMax podcast, Nesmith – when asked about Baldur’s Gate 3 and what stands out to him when compared to Starfield – reveals that the littany of important choices you’re met with throughout is what impresses him the most. It’s a “triumph”, which is quite a nice thing to say. However, Nesmith reveals that this is something “[Bethesda] could never get [itself] to do”.

“At Bethesda”, Nesmith adds, “the games we’re making are so big, we had to take the approach of ‘well, everybody has got to be able to do this at some point… We can’t lock off content”.

In Larian Studios’ RPG, however, you do get a sense that every decision will lock one door and open another – which adds much more importance and meaning to every decision you eventually make.

Nesmith is quite supportive of this design choice, as you can see in this short section of his MinnMax interview down below. However, the fact that “any one player is going to see 50% of the game – that’s it” (numbers Nesmith admits he pulled out of thin air, just to make his point), is a design decision Bethesda couldn’t afford to do.

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Bethesda is “in the business of making games that people would play for hundreds of hours, and if you cut out 50% of your game, they’re not going to play for hundreds of hours”, says Nesmith. So, while there are benefits to this, he admits that most of the decisions in a game like Starfield don’t feel “highly meaningful” – which might be why some players are finding themselves after Starfield New Game Plus changes.

Is this one of the best games ever, despite the limitations rightfully pointed out by the Starfield developer? Well, while you might not be able to do everything and befriend everyone in one playthrough, we think it deserves consideration – at least. If you want to share your playthrough with your friends (or family, or internet strangers), you’ll be pleased to know that a Baldur’s Gate 3 Photo Mode is officially on the way from Larian Studios.

For those of you just starting out, though, you can check out the best Baldur’s Gate 3 party options right here and why this Baldur’s Gate 3 spell is basically a cheat code for victory here. We don’t know about you, but we don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.