Starfield's design director says some players are "disconnected" from how games are made, "yet they speak with complete authority"

Starfield's playable character
(Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios)

Starfield's design director Emil Pagliarulo has called out critics who are "disconnected" from how games are made. 

In a recent X (formerly Twitter) thread, Pagliarulo shared his thoughts on game criticism, saying that although it's fair and he acknowledges that consumers have the right to complain, some players aren't familiar with the realities of game development (via PC Gamer).

"Funny how disconnected some players are from the realities of game development, and yet they speak with complete authority," Pagliarulo wrote. "I mean, I can guess what it takes to make a Hostess Twinkie, but I don't work in the factory, so what the hell do I really know? Not a lot.

"Part of me really gets it. When you're a consumer and spend money on things, that gives you the right to complain about those things. I spend a LOT of money on games every year, and sometimes it takes a lot for me not to scream into the internet's collective consciousness."

The developer goes on to say that he doesn't personally complain about games on social media because he knows how hard it is to make them and he has too much respect for fellow developers, as well as the fact that he works for a studio and "it would be uncool and unprofessional for me to do so. But sometimes I want to. Oh boy."

Starfield screenshot in space

(Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios)

Pagliarulo continues and laments about the time when he was writing game reviews for the website Adrenaline Vault, explaining back then he "would say whatever I wanted about a game, good or bad", labeling himself as "a sarcastic asshat" if the criticism was bad.

"But throughout that time, I actually had no inkling what game development was actually like," he adds. "How hard the designers, programmers, artists, producers, and everyone else worked. The struggle to bring a vision to life with constantly shifting resources. The stress."

After a few more tweets, Pagliarulo says that he's not trying to change anyone's mind, "But given my position, I can't not share the truth. And that truth is, nobody sets out to make a bad game. And most game devs are incredibly talented... even if the game they release isn't up to par."

To conclude, the design director says that people can dislike or even hate a game entirely, "But don't fool yourself into thinking you know why it is the way it is (unless it's somehow documented and verified), or how it got to be that way (good or bad).

"Chances are, unless you've made a game yourself, you don't know who made certain decisions; who did specific work; how many people were actually available to do that work; any time challenges faced; or how often you had to overcome technology itself (this one is HUGE)."

Pagliarulo doesn't specifically talk about Starfield, but it's hard to ignore the fact that the game has received its fair share of criticism since the game launched. 

One video from popular YouTuber NakeyJakey went viral days ago, in which the creator calls Bethesda's sci-fi RPG "outdated". It's possible the developer's thread could have been prompted by the conversation that was sparked by the video.

In other news, Bethesda has confirmed that new Starfield features are on the way and that players should expect them to arrive "with a regular cadence of fixes and updates" around every six weeks.

For more, be sure to check out our list of the best RPGs, as well as our list of the best story games of 2023.