Starfield Exploring Planets

Starfield Design Lead: Players Are “Disconnected” From How Games Are Actually Made

Starfield, one of the most anticipated game releases of 2023, had a mixed reaction at best, and at worst, could be considered underdelivered by players expecting standards of a Bethesda game such as Skyrim.

Since its release in September 2023, a lot of players have voiced their discontent, and Emil Pagliarulo the Studio Design Director of Bethesda Game Studios, has spoken out on X (Twitter) in response as to raise support and respect for game developers.

Here is the full statement:

Emil Pagliarulo's X Thread


(1/15) Funny how disconnected some players are from the realities of game development, and yet they speak with complete authority. I mean, I can guess what it takes to make a Hostess Twinkie, but I don't work in the factory, so what the hell do I really know? Not a lot.

(2/15) Part of me really gets it. When you're a consumer and spend money on things, that gives you the right to complain about those things. I spend a LOT of money on games every year, and sometimes it takes a lot for me not to scream into the internet's collective consciousness.

(3/15) I don't complain about games on social for two main reasons: 1.) I know how hard it is to make games, and have too much respect for my fellow devs. 2.) I work for a game studio, and it would be uncool and unprofessional for me to do so. But sometimes I want to. Oh boy.

(4/15) Most people don't have these constraints, and are free to post whatever they want. The internet is a glorious wild wild west, and I wouldn't have it any other way. And there was a time when I exercised that right very freely.

(5/15) When I was writing game reviews for the Adrenaline Vault forever ago, I was absolutely that person who would say whatever I wanted about a game, good or bad. Sometimes the good was over-enthusiastically too good. And sometimes the bad was me being a sarcastic asshat.

(6/15) But throughout that time, I actually had no inkling what game development was actually like. How hard the designers, programmers, artists, producers, and everyone else worked. The struggle to bring a vision to life with constantly shifting resources. The stress.

(7/15) This isn't me complaining about my job. I've experienced all these things, and will again. It's the nature of AAA game development. But I also have a great position, and am still gainfully employed after 21+ years. A blessing considering the thousands of layoffs this year.

(8/15) I'm not trying to change anyone's mind, because the internet. But given my position, I can't not share the truth. And that truth is, nobody sets out to make a bad game. And most game devs are incredibly talented... even if the game they release isn't up to par.

(9/15) See, I never knew this before, but if nothing else, video game development is a series of concessions and tough decisions. There's that perfect game you WANT to make... and then there's the game you CAN make. Sometimes, if the gods smile on you, those two are very close.

(10/15) But in order to get there, in order to get it as close as possible to the vision, the team has to push itself harder and harder... often while dealing with devs being shuffled around (or leaving), looming deadlines, and creative decisions you wish you didn't have to make.

(11/15) And "team" is absolutely the operative word there. Lots and lots of folks doing lots of lots of work. Writing, level building, making character models, coding game systems, trying to schedule it all so it can get done and folks don't burn out, and on and on.

(12/15) So sure, you can dislike parts of a game. You can hate on a game entirely. But don't fool yourself into thinking you know why it is the way it is (unless it's somehow documented and verified), or how it got to be that way (good or bad).

(13/15) Chances are, unless you've made a game yourself, you don't know who made certain decisions; who did specific work; how many people were actually available to do that work; any time challenges faced; or how often you had to overcome technology itself (this one is HUGE).

(14/15) So yes! Love games, buy them, play them, and complain to your heart's content! It's sort of the nature of the developer/player transactional relationship.

(15/15) But... just know that the game you're playing is in some ways a freaking miracle in and of itself. Normal people have come together to work FOR YEARS for one goal - to bring you fun and happiness. So it helps to remember that... and them! đŸ€“â€

So What?

While insightful, and good intentions or not, customers paid the full price for Starfield and the final product is what matters. Similar prescience happened with Cyberpunk 2077, where 3 years after its release, improvements were made and finally players could consider it an enjoyable game.

Starfield has had patches, but could be considered still a long way to go for players to be satisfied. With The Elder Scrolls 6 currently in development, the players who tried Starfield will have had their trust eroded and should be more wary of trying the game as soon as it launches.



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