Barely has Starfield been launched when turbulence is felt within the Bethesda studio. What’s new under the stars? What new can we learn?
Video game journeys are often full of ups and downs. Marked among other things by significant arrivals and departures. This is precisely the case today with the much-loved Starfield. Could a major departure influence the future of the space RPG?
A farewell to Starfield
Will Shen, an emblematic figure at Bethesda who took on the role of lead quest designer for Starfield, has chosen to head to the Something Wicked Games studio. The latter was co-founded by another Bethesda alumnus, Jeff Gardiner. He himself is associated with Obsidian veteran Charles Staples, credited with being the pillar of the design of The Outer Worlds.
The studio’s press release reveals that Shen will take on the role of lead content designer for the upcoming RPG, Wyrdsong. Joining other talents from Respawn, Obsidian, and BioWare. A true dream team for RPG enthusiasts. The official announcement of his departure is available on his X account (formerly Twitter).
A talented man
Shen’s contribution to Bethesda is far from negligible. He has worked on flagship titles such as Skyrim, Fallout 4 and Fallout: 76, and was at the helm of the design of the Far Harbor DLC for Fallout 4. For Something Wicked Games, he is a great talent:
Shen has a unique gift for crafting scenarios that captivate and leave a lasting impression on players
Furthermore, Wyrdsong presents itself as a “supernatural RPG” immersing players in a fictional medieval Portugal. Jeff Gardiner spoke on this subject at Gamescom, notably discussing the influence of the success of Baldur’s Gate 3 on their vision of the RPG. The prospect is tantalizing, even more so if we consider BG3 as a muse. It should be noted that Wyrdsong, currently in pre-alpha, is developed with Unreal Engine 5. The first trailer is available below.
In conclusion, Shen’s departure shook the community. Having left his mark on iconic games like Starfield and Skyrim, he had built a reputation as an excellent storyteller. If his departure is a loss for Starfield, it is undeniably a boon for Something Wicked Games. Some critics also argue that Shen’s talent was not fully exploited in Starfield. After the departure of Pete Hines, it was definitely a disaster. It is difficult to know if the two pieces of information are related, but what is certain is that there is a talent drain at Bethesda.