Starfield Lead Says Some Players Don’t Understand Game Development

Starfield game development

Bethesda design director and Starfield design lead Emil Pagliarulo doesn’t think players really understand how video games are made. In a long thread posted on Twitter on Wednesday, the Starfield developer says that players are “disconnected” from the “realities of game development”.

“Funny how disconnected some players are from the realities of game development, and yet they speak with complete authority,” he said. “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?”

The post comes in response to the criticism Starfield has received since it’s September launch. What was supposed to be the game of the year for many has become a game with less and less praise. It’s at the point where more players are moving on for a game that was touted as being “endless” by Bethesda.

Pagliarulo says that he understands why players voice their frustrations so loudly. With value money being spent on a product, especially in an era where things are more expensive than ever, it lends to a belief of a “right to complain”. He even admitted to, at one time, being one of those types of people. However, he says, moving into game development for a career changed is view on things and opened him up to a world he knew little about.

“See, I never knew this before, but if nothing else, video game development is a series of concessions and tough decisions,” he said. “There’s that perfect game you WANT to make… and then there’s the game you CAN make.

“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.”

He closed his thread by stating that unless someone has actually made or worked on a game, they don’t know about the time constraints on features in a game, specific work that was done, decisions that were made, and more. He wants players to still voice their concerns and “complain to your heart’s content” about them. But he also wants people to understand that games being made are “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,” he said.


Do you think there’s truth to what Pagliarulo is saying about Starfield players and game development in general? For more Insider Gaming, read about the Death Stranding movie that’s now in development.

  1. Oh please,you are to blame as well (yes you Insider gaming). You make the most clickbaity, pot-stirring title and make it like he is on a tirade against the players in the first part of the article. But then you keep all the info that actually has nuance in the second part of the article, knowing full well that most gamers will cherry pick to feed their bias of this guy and to create another fire. Shame on you, Mike Straw and Insider Gaming.

    1. Absolutely this, 100%. Saying a game has infinite possibilities is a marketing phrase intended to evoke the feeling of a massive world. You as “journalists” are *supposed* to understand nuances in language. Instead you take a line that’s supposed to give the feeling of something and claim it as absolute fact. Can’t imagine what you shrews would say back in the arcade days. “The PONG team claims the game is table-tennis, yet I see no paddles – must be liars.” 💀

  2. Some of these things are simple fixes that don’t take much time to implement. They just ignore them forever.
    I mean a value per mass is nothing it’s literally one calculation and drawing a string to the screen, but 3-4 games and 20 years later it has still hasn’t dawned on them.

  3. I mean, yea, this is spot-on. More specifically, the youngest generations of gamers are particularly ignorant. Remember how Gen Z was sending death threats to the CDPR development team’s FAMILIES? That same game is now considered one of the best, not because it got major updates (because it didn’t), but because an anime show came out.
    Same people that think Larian is genius for having patch notes like “Reintroduced bug exploit to allow players to recruit Minthara.”
    Thats not good game design, that’s just an audience enjoying bad design.

    1. You’re really exemplifying the developer’s point. Bethesda isn’t using some 3rd-party engine creator like Unreal that zoomies use to make ripoff Pokémon games. They are literally developing those processing systems alongside the game. There is no string to “draw” on the screen.

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