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‘Skyrim’ writer, now priest-in-training, helped create religions in ‘Starfield’

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The fictional religion Sanctum Universum in Starfield features contributions from a former The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim writer who is now training to become a priest.

Religion acted as a conduit for Starfield‘s themes of theology yet, as it is such a personal part of people’s lives, the team was aware they might mistakenly offend players. In the game, Sanctum Universum believes that God exists in the universe and that the Grav Drive (that allows for interstellar travel) is evidence that He is encouraging humans to find Him.

In an interview with Polygon, design director Emil Pagliarulo shared that Bethesda reached out to one of their old employees for a realistic perspective on a fictional religion.


“We actually had Shane Liesegang, who was one of our writers [on Skyrim and Fallout 4] … He’s now studying to be a Jesuit priest,” explained Pagliarulo. “We talked to him about: If we were to make this real, this religion, what would we do? How would we write it?”

‘Starfield’ Credit: Xbox Game Studios

“And so he advised us and did some writing for us, he wrote for the Sanctum Universum, and it really grounded it in the believable,” continued the design director.

Films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Contact and Interstellar were used as inspiration too with their own individual explorations about humanity’s curiosity in cosmic space.

On the other hand, the Enlightened of Starfield is an organisation of atheists that deny the existence of a higher power. Instead, their focus is the continual improvement of the standard of life for humans in space, with numerous humanitarian and community outreach programs across the Settled Systems that promote their mission.

Starfield‘s early access period is live now for the Premium and Constellation editions of the game, and will launch on September 6 for PC, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.


In other news, Bethesda director Todd Howard praised the developer’s fans as being the “smartest” in gaming, and thanked them for all of their support over the years.

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