Interested in learning what's next for the gaming industry? Join gaming executives to discuss emerging parts of the industry this October at GamesBeat Summit Next. Learn more.

For all the success and longevity of games like Fallout and Skyrim, the look of Bethesda Game Studios‘ character models has never been one of its strengths. Even in the most recent Fallout and Elder Scrolls games, humans look stiff and puppet-like. They also look ugly. But for Starfield, the upcoming massive space role-playing adventure from Bethesda, the development team is changing how it does things.

In a new promotional video for Starfield, Bethesda lead artist Istvan Pely revealed that the company is evolving how it designs characters. Instead of drawing models from scratch in a 3D rendering application, the studio has begun scanning real-world people to bring into the game.

“We’ve always allowed the player to create really interesting, unique characters. With this game, we’ve definitely leveled that up,” said Pely. “The tech is based on scanning real-world models similar to the photogrammetry we do with our landscapes. We’re applying the same thing to our people as well.”

This is something that other game studios have done for years. While the tech is probably not exactly the same, BioWare scanned model Mark Vanderloo as the basis for Commander Shepard in Mass Effect. Players know that game for its intimate character interactions, and Pely made it clear that Bethesda wants to replicate that for Starfield.


MetaBeat 2022

MetaBeat will bring together metaverse thought leaders to give guidance on how metaverse technology will transform the way all industries communicate and do business on October 3-4 in San Francisco, CA.

Register Here

“We want all the personal interactions with NPCs and other characters in the game to be as impactful as possible,” he said. “For that, you have to believe these are real people.”

GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Learn more about membership.