Todd Howard says Starfield's character traits 'are something you can solve' if you get tired of them

An image of Todd Howard in the middle of explaining a concept using hand gestures.
(Image credit: Bethesda)
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Bethesda's been talking quite a bit about Starfield (opens in new tab) in its recent chats with, um, itself (opens in new tab). In a Q&A with community director Jess Finster, Bethesda Softworks executive producer Todd Howard shed some light on the game's character trait system, including the ways that players can choose to remove those traits if they get tired of them.

Starfield's traits function a lot like the ones in Fallout: New Vegas. When you're making a character, you're given three slots that you can fill from a list of traits like "Introvert," "Empath," or "Neon Street Rat," (which is the one I'd pick). Unlike Fallout's perks, traits aren't straight upgrades, but offer both a benefit and a drawback. The introvert trait, for example, gives you an endurance buff when you're alone, but penalises it when you have companions.

They're the kind of thing you might sour on after a while, especially if you decide to change up your character build midway through a game. It looks like ol' Todd wants to avoid a situation where players have to choose between sticking with traits they don't want, or starting a new character from scratch (or using console commands to get rid of them, which is what you'd actually do). Every trait in the game can be removed with a special quest that deletes the trait—both its positives and negatives.

The Q&A makes it sound like each trait will have its own corresponding removal quest: Howard says that "each of them are something that you can solve that removes the entire trait for the rest of your playthrough". It sounds like a lot of work, but this is the game that just crossed a quarter of a million lines of dialogue (opens in new tab), so I guess crafting 16-or-so quests for each possible trait is kind of a drop in the bucket.

We'll get a chance to find out next year, delays permitting. Starfield was originally slated to come out on November 11 this year, 11 years to the day after Skyrim, but was delayed to the first half of 2023 (opens in new tab)

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.