Imagine you work for months recording lines to be the lead of a new mainline Bethesda game and possibly one of the most important Xbox exclusives of a generation. Then you’re told, “actually, we’re doing a silent protagonist, it turns out.”
That was the situation faced by Elias Toufexis and Cissy Jones, whom Bethesda originally hired to be the male and female voices of Starfield’s player-created explorer. But somewhere along the way, Bethesda decided they did not want to repeat Fallout 4, and would instead silence the protagonist.
Toufexis was famously the voice of Adam Jensen in Deus Ex among countless other roles, while Cissy Jones is also prolific, this year alone acting in Baldur’s Gate 3, Remnant 2, Redfall, Jedi Survivor and Destiny 2. But thankfully, there was a happy ending for both of them.
Rather than just scrap the work and say goodbye, Bethesda turned both actors into two of the core companion NPCs of the game, Sam Coe and Andreja, I’d argue the two best companions, and obviously characters that still had thousands of lines in the game. Possibly more than even the lead may have originally had, frankly.
This was revealed by Toufexis on Twitter this past week, something no one knew before this, and he brought it up as a way to praise Bethesda for accommodating them both and ensuring they still had big roles in the game, even after their original part was cut, inspiring loyalty for future projects:
I doubt that Toufexis and Jones were doing their same Sam and Andreja voices for the leads, as I’m sure we weren’t supposed to be a cowboy or uh…well I’m not sure what Andreja’s accent is. But given that we have more story content coming to Starfield in the upcoming Shattered Space expansion, I expect that their work will continue into that, as we’re surely not just ditching our longtime companions.
It’s a neat little story and ultimately yeah, for a Bethesda game, I do think avoiding a voice for the player character was probably the right decision in the end. Generally I am not a fan of that, but comparing how things went in Fallout 4 as opposed to other Fallout and Elder Scrolls games without a voiced hero, I think it’s the right call for this type of game, and probably the correct move for Starfield. While obviously in say, Mass Effect, we needed Commander Shepard to actually have a voice.
Looking forward to whatever comes next in Starfield, even if it’s been a bit buried among a half dozen GOTY hopefuls recently here.