Starfield’s massive screenplay has shocked some renowned developers


At yesterday’s Tokyo Game Show, Bethesda’s creative director, Todd Howard, told the public that the next space RPG Starfield will have over 150,000 lines of dialogue. If that sounds like a lot, it is. In response to the announcement, some developers at other AAA studios expressed shock with the large volume of dialogue.

If you recall, Todd had already said that Starfield would be something “like Skyrim in space”. For context, however, Skyrim “only” had 60,000 or 50,000 lines, less than half of Starfield’s projected line count. Basically triple the size of Skyrim.

Wyn Rush, a senior narrative designer for Gears of War developer The Coalition, spoke with Kotaku about why they and their narrative colleagues were so preoccupied with the news. Implementing such a huge script, they say, involves many hours of more than just game writers.

“A great game script isn’t just a ton of work for the writing team… It’s work for the audio department, engineers, animators, possibly even the level designers… One giant script means a lot of time making VO recordings, recording line processing and management [script]. ”

There’s still no denying that Starfield’s script will be a huge undertaking in terms of developer work. Robert Brookes, a narrative designer at Bungie, noted on Twitter that the amount of work on a 150,000-word script can go up to 500 voice recording sessions. Assuming the actors were experienced, “…that’s a little less than a whole year of uninterrupted recording if you’re not using multiple recording studios and audio directors.”

Brookes also recognized that it was entirely possible that Bethesda could succeed. “It might not take as long as I figured either,” he said. The Bungie guy was highly shocked on Twitter and made several perplexed calculations.

Starfield represents the first new Bethesda IP in 25 years. The game is scheduled for release in November 11, 2022 for Xbox and PC, and it won’t make it to Playstation.