Starfield’s Final Quest Was Almost ‘Missing’ From the Game

Starfield was released in September 2023 to a wild reception that saw it hit 10 million players in a relatively short time. Since then, it has seen a monumental drop-off as players run out of things to do, opting to sit back and wait for the game’s first expansion – Shattered Space – to be released. In their millions, players moved on to other titles, giving up on Starfield even with its ‘next-generation’ levels of replayability.

Recently, while speaking at GDC in San Francisco, a former Bethesda Game Studios employee leading some of the development of Starfield revealed that the game was so rushed at the end that the ‘action-filled payoff’ that closed the game was almost overlooked entirely.

Necessary Urgency

Speaking at the Game Developers Conference, Will Shen (former Lead Quest Designer on Starfield) touched on some behind-the-scenes tidbits about the development of both the Fallout franchise and Starfield. Shen was a Bethesda veteran before branching off to work at a new studio, and he had plenty to say about Bethesda Game Studios’ latest open-world epic.

He spoke candidly about how the final quest in Starfield was ‘missing’ and had to be rushed into place:

We were finally at a state in the project where we could play through the whole (game). And it became very clear that we were missing the large final location that was going to tie the story together and have a satisfying action-filled payoff. I was both implementing the main quest and leading the quest design team, so I had absolutely no time. The entire quest design team was already overbooked.

(quote obtained from PCGamer)

Shen explained that the team working on Starfield was drastically oversaturated, boasting a whopping five hundred developers and it quickly became a sea of resources that couldn’t be easily navigated. This meant that the final stages of Starfield came together in a rushed format ‘out of necessity and urgency’, which was pretty obvious for anyone playing through the closing chapter of the game. The last mission boasted a rinse-and-repeat formula that both made no sense and was dull and unsatisfying.

Which is kind of the opposite result that Shen was aiming for.

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