In their never-ending quest to push the boundaries of realism in their games, Bethesda has announced that they are making a change to a system that is present in almost every title they’ve produced, from Fallout to Skyrim: the companion system. The company cites the fact that an adult finding a new friend outside of a school or work situation, even if it’s the apocalypse, is unrealistic and immersion-breaking.
“Honestly, outside of an improv class or something, there really isn’t any way that a reasonably aged adult that isn’t Mormon or whatever is making new friends past the age of twenty-five,” says a leather-jacket-clad Todd Howard as a way to dodge our question about Starfield. “It sort of makes sense in Skyrim, because your companion is less your friend and more of an indentured servant. But we took a hard look at Fallout 4, and realized that you can make several new friends in the game, without even having to attend community college or work at Best Buy. So, we’re making a change.”
When asked if this meant that romanceable characters would be absent from future Bethesda releases, Howard assured us that romance options would remain, but that “it’ll just be sex, nothing more.”
Howard explains a new system where you and your wife’s friend’s ex-boyfriend meet up to grab a burger and have an awkward chat out of a strange obligation to hang out because the two of you had a lot of fun at a party a few months prior. “It’s not that he’s a bad guy, or that you guys don’t have a good time, but you both know in the back of your heads that you’re not going to text each other later, and much less is he going to come on a long quest with you where he steps in traps and holds all of your heavy stuff. Like, what is this, freshman year orientation week?”
When asked if this new “acquaintance system” would be present in Starfield, Howard smiled and began talking about how his favorite part of the design process for Skyrim had been building the game’s vast open world.