— Bethesda Game Studios

Bethesda Game Studios boss Todd Howard hears Starfield fans loud and clear regarding the developer’s recent controversial downloadable content. And for now, it looks like future content drops will forego charging players for something as incremental as a single quest.

During an interview with Youtuber MrMattyPlays, Howard addressed the backlash to the newly released quest called The Vulture, a content-light $7 mod made by the developer that stirred fans to submit negative reviews for the space-faring role-playing game on Steam.

Howard said he thought The Vulture would be received as a typical piece of Creations Club content, similar to other top-quality mods sold in their other games like Fallout 76 and Skyrim.

“That was really an attempt to something we did in Creation Club where we’d say, ‘hey you get this special outfit and you get this special weapon,’” Howard said. “We wanted to put them together, and then thought, let’s go the extra mile and wrap those around a quest.”

Unlike typical downloadable content for Bethesda’s games, such as the upcoming Shattered Space expansion due later this year, The Vulture offers a single quest with some by-the-numbers rewards (two wearable outfits and a sniper rifle) for $7. To make things more confusing, the paid content was the second quest for the Trackers Alliance, a brand new faction added to the game in a recent update, essentially adding a paywall to the normal progression of the game’s newest questline.

The divisive release hampered what should have been an exciting time for the Xbox-published game. After months of lackluster support, Starfield’s new update introduced the bounty-hunting Trackers Alliance, some tweaks to ship customization, and official mod support on console and PC.

However, skeptical fans were more concerned that charging $7 for individual quests for the new faction would become standard. Howard squashed those concerns during the interview.

“We definitely see the feedback,” Howard said. “And that’s not what we want at all in terms of, ‘Oh no, this looks like a faction that we’re chopping up and then selling for 700 credits at a time.’ And so I do think we are going to take a look at that and how we deliver content like that, and whether we’re changing pricing or breaking it up or what we should do there.”

It’s good to see Bethesda’s top executive take constructive criticism. While charging $7 for a single quest is egregious on its own. But it is more befuddling to sell it on the brand-new storefront meant to benefit the game’s most prolific creators. Like their other games, the Creation Club is meant to give verified creators the option of getting paid for exceptionally well-made mods.

Players who purchased Starfield’s premium edition received 1000 Creation Credits (or $10) to spend on the Creations Club last week. Incentivizing players to spend most of these credits to unlock content made by Bethesda rather than something created by a content creator seemed especially scummy. After all, Bethesda’s already made money from selling the based game, as opposed to a modder who’s poured hours and hours into creating their mods.

It’s been a weird few months for Bethesda Game Studios. While interest in the developer’s work has been at an all-time high thanks to the excellent Fallout television series on Prime Video and the resurgence of Fallout 76, recent fumbles like The Vulture quest and the buggy launch of the Fallout 4 next-gen update have also dampened a lot of this goodwill.

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