Starfield’s Random Encounters Will Feature Procedurally Generated Quests

Skyrim is considered one of the best RPGs out there by many and a large part of that is because of its world. It seems like every time you set off in the direction of your chosen destination, there's endless distrations and events that threaten to take you on a massive detour. Even on short journeys, there's usually a random encounter with a bandit, travelling merchant, or Daedra hunter to keep things interesting.

Starfield is expected to release next year and Bethesda is likely hoping it can replicate the success of Skyrim, the feeling of its world in particular. Given there's going to be 1,000 planets to explore, that's going to be a pretty tall order to fill. Lead quest designer Will Shen is confident Bethesda is up to the task though, and has even revealed that the random encounters in games like Skyrim are going to be a bit more fleshed out in Starfield.

In an interview posted to the Bethesda Softworks YouTube channel (thanks GamesRadar), Shen explains that the team has managed to work in procedural generation into Starfield's random encounters that will make them a lot more involving than in previous titles. Instead of just a random guy walking up to you and asking you a favor/mugging you for all your worth, you'll be able to stumble across full blown outposts full of people.

"Now you could say, maybe you're going to an outpost and you actually discover there's a whole group of people there with a particular problem," explains Shen. "Whereas before it might be just a person coming up to you on the road, now it's an actual whole location that can be put there."

"And maybe they have a problem like, 'one of our members has been kidnapped by some pirates, and we think they're over there' – we actually are placing a whole other location with that person in it and enemies around it, so it's a dynamically placed settlement that is taking you to a dynamically placed dungeon as you're walking through the planet."

Anyone that's played Fallout 4 will probably be given painful flashbacks of Preston Garvey, sending the player off on an endless amount of procedurally generated quests to go and save a random settlement. Instead of having the player accept these kinds of quest from a single individual, it sounds like these types of quests will be implemented into the natural exploration of the game's planets.

While it sounds pretty neat in theory, there is a slight worry that this kind of procedural generation could potentially make many of the game's 1,000 planets feel a little void of personality. Bethesda can't possibly fill each planet with deliberate questlines and characters, meaning some level of procedural generation was always going to implemented in some way. Hopefully, there aren't just hundreds of barren planets with nothing but randomly generated mini-quests like the ones that Shen describe.

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