How Bethesda Has Evolved Lockpicking Mechanic From Oblivion to Starfield!

Published 09/05/2023, 2:12 AM EDT

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Bethesda’s RPGs have always followed a very similar layout, and their gameplay too has been very similar in many ways. But now and then, they have evolved some of their mechanics in one way or another. Starfield, too, has a bunch of things that have evolved over the years.

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Once such a thing was lockpicking, from Skyrim to Starfield, it has evolved very interestingly. What was once a very simple minigame has turned into an interesting puzzle.

It all started with oblivion

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The first ever instance of lockpicking in a Bethesda game was seen in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The game was obviously set in Oblivion, and players were free to explore the world as they wanted. They were also allowed to be just the kind of person they wanted to be.

Being a petty thief is something that many gamers find fun; hence, Bethesda included a lockpicking mechanic in Oblivion. In that game, lockpicking was pretty similar to older Splinter Cell games, where players had to push the pins up in the right order to effectively unlock whatever they wanted to open.

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This changed in their next game, Fallout 3

Fallout 3 was an interesting game; it was the first time that Bethesda diverted their RPGs towards a more modern playground. That post-apocalyptic world was once again very open; players could go anywhere and do anything. Hence, they could even blow up a whole town by activating a dead atom bomb under it.

Lock-picking too returned with it, but this time it was somewhat more realistic. Players used lockpicks to manipulate the pins inside the lock. They could tell they were closer by the amount of pressure they felt on the pins. It was a delicate game that needed some precision, and it was much more satisfying than the one Oblivion had. Fans really loved this one.

Skyrim decided to take inspiration from Fallout 3

Then came Bethesda’s biggest title, Skyrim. Launched in 2011, it really set the standard for role-playing games. But this game borrowed its lock-picking mechanic from Fallout 3. Players once again used pins to lock pick containers and doors. They once again used the pressure of the locks as an indication of their success or failure in this mini-game. It was so satisfying that Bethesda decided to stick to it for a little longer.

They implemented the same thing in Fallout 4, same pins, same pressure—everything worked the same. It was not even surprising; they decided to stick with their tried-and-tested method, and it worked too.

Starfield brought yet another twist to the mechanic

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With their new game, Starfield, Bethesda has decided to put yet another spin on this mechanic. This time around, players use an item called Digipick. They use this thing to literally take a peek inside the lock.

Then players just have to fill the drums with similarly shaped circles. It works in multiple layers, and that’s why players have to do the whole thing like a puzzle. It’s once again an interesting and satisfying way to unlock things.

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Bethesda hardly disappoints when it comes to designing these small things for their games. With Starfield, not only did they bring out a completely new way of lock-picking, but they also came out with something that does not feel like a chore to complete.

Watch This Story: Is Starfield’s Trait System Designed To Make The Game More Challenging?

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Written by:

Rohit Sejwal

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Rohit Sejwal is a veteran eSports writer at EssentiallySports, with a passion for gaming that has been fueled by over a decade of experience in both playing and writing about games. His deep understanding of gaming and its finer nuances is evident in his engaging and insightful coverage of eSports. With a Masters degree in Science in film-making, Rohit brings a unique perspective to gaming, viewing it as a perfect blend of science and art.
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Edited by:

Ananya Giri

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