Star Quest designer highlights unfortunate reality of game development

Warning: Spoilers for “Starfield.”

Okay, you’ve gotten past the title, let’s get started.

So during a recent GDC talk, former Starfield lead mission designer Will Shen discussed how the game’s final mission came together, and the answer came to the fore at the last minute. This is far from ideal, but as Shen mentioned in his presentation, large games like Starfield unfortunately present challenges for many studios right now.

First, let’s see what the designers have to say about the creation of the final mission (thanks, PC Gamer). “We finally got to a point where we could play through the entire project [game],” he recalled during his presentation, “It was clear that we missed a large final location that would tie the story together and have a satisfying, action-packed payoff. “

“I was working on the main mission while leading the mission design team, and had absolutely no time. The entire mission design team was already overbooked.” So since he was struggling to find someone who could create a large final sequence for the mission, Shen consulted Senior level designer Steve Cornett, who came up with the idea of ​​allowing players to dimensionally jump between many of the game’s existing locations.

Something went wrong, and Cornett helped fix it, so you can see why Shen called him “our panic button” when outlining this sequence of events.

Now, some background. Yes, this is far from an ideal approach to a critical part of the game’s final mission. But, as Shen admitted during his presentation, one of the key points was discussing how the studio approaches a big, ambitious game like Starfield, and the lessons that can be learned by reflecting on scenarios like this.

For example, making sure departments don’t feel so pressured to get their work done in a timely manner that they can’t help other departments in the studio get their work done, sometimes resulting in a breakdown in communication. In our super crazy, capacity-strapped times, this can happen to almost any large workplace, depending on what happens.

So while it would have been nice if Shen wasn’t put in a position where he had to rely on Cornett for a quick fix, you’d be foolish to interpret what happened as any sign that the developers were trying to fix the problem and the game wasn’t playing its best . If that doesn’t convince you, all you have to do is look at the amount of extra content that inevitably gets cut from major games before release.

Also, if you’re looking for reasons to dislike Starfield, it’s a pretty good game, I had a lot of fun playing it, and I would personally say that a lot of its problems have to do with how its vision ultimately feels. Once it comes together, it’s complete. There isn’t a single mission or moment that suddenly crashes or takes a turn for the worse, like you usually don’t in games, and everything ends up being okay instead of setting the world on fire.

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