Starfield Abandoning Voiced Protagonists Didn't Spell Doom For Its Two Stars


When Bethesda abandoned plans for a voiced protagonist in Starfield, it gave the hired voice actors other roles within the sci-fi epic, reportedly an unusual move in video game voice acting.

Voice actor Elias Toufexis tweeted that he and Cissy Jones were originally the player voices in Starfield. Once the developer decided not to go forward with player voices, it cast Toufexis as Sam Coe and Jones as Andreja. According to Toufexis, "Games NEVER do this. Once you're out you're out. Good on Bethesda." Toufexis added that the effort work (i.e. grunts, exclamations of pain, etc.) was still voiced by Jones and himself. Jones did not add further context, but retweeted Toufexis.

Yeah it’s true. @cissyspeaks and I were originally the player voices in #Starfield. We worked for months.
When they decided the player should be voiceless they gave Cissy and me Andreja and Sam Coe.
Games NEVER do this. Once you’re out you’re out.
Good on Bethesda

— ᴇʟɪᴀꜱ ᴛᴏᴜꜰᴇxɪꜱ 🖖 (@EliasToufexis) November 8, 2023

In a previous interview, Starfield lead designer Emil Pagliarulo stated that not having a voiced protagonist was a big boon to the game. Having a voice actor made the player character feel "too specific," when the developers wanted to have a variety of potential player characters.

"So then we just arrived at, What if we just go text? and it was just really freeing. And, I mean, we have over 200,000 lines of spoken dialogue in Starfield with no voiced protagonists. And it was not having a voiced protagonist that allowed us to create such a big world," Pagliarulo said.

Starfield was reportedly the cause for the biggest single-day uptick in Game Pass subscriptions ever. It has sold well too, topping the charts when it launched in September. The critical reception was more tepid, as Starfield was the lowest-rated Bethesda game on Steam as of last September. Players recently discovered a Halo easter egg.