Mon. Sep 25th, 2023
    Vasco: A Missed Opportunity for a Compelling Robot Companion in Starfield

    Robots and androids have always been intriguing characters in science fiction and fantasy, offering unique insights into the world and its people. Unfortunately, Starfield’s robot companion, Vasco, falls flat in delivering on that potential. With a lack of independent thoughts or feelings, Vasco becomes a disappointment in exploring the complexities of artificial intelligence.

    While the concept of “shackled” AI being outlawed in Starfield’s universe is interesting, it becomes a drawback for Vasco. He is incapable of desiring or enjoying anything, leaving him with nothing to say about the world around him. This is a missed opportunity as even a slight deviation from his programming could have added depth to his character.

    On paper, Vasco’s design as an old Lunar Robotics model with the ability to hold conversations is intriguing. However, in practice, he might as well be silent. Dialogue with Vasco is underwhelming, offering no significant insight or discussion about science fiction, despite the possibilities. A comparison can be made to HK-47, an assassin droid from Knights of the Old Republic 2, who showcases personality and opinions despite being built for a specific purpose.

    Vasco’s lack of personality and limited dialogue is a reminder of wasted potential. While he has a great design and voice work, his rigid limitations prevent him from becoming a memorable character. Starfield misses the opportunity to delve into what makes robot companions in science fiction great, resulting in Vasco being nothing more than a coded robot without the capacity for thought or enjoyment.

    There is a story waiting to be written for Vasco, an ancient Lunar Robotics model who could have witnessed significant events. Instead, he remains an empty vessel, devoid of substance. As a player, it is difficult to connect and empathize with Vasco when he constantly reminds you of his limitations.

    In the end, Vasco is a missed opportunity for Starfield. As a robot companion, he should have been a love letter to the engaging robots of science fiction. Unfortunately, the game falls short in exploring his potential, leaving players with a companion devoid of true character and emotional depth.

    – Artificial intelligence (AI): A field of computer science that simulates human intelligence in machines.
    – Androids: Human-like robots or synthetic organisms with human qualities.
    – Science fiction: A genre of speculative fiction that typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts.
    – Lore: Background information and world-building details within a fictional setting.

    – Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: A novel exploring themes of creating new life and the responsibility towards it.
    – “Sally” by Isaac Asimov: A short story about self-driving cars and the ethical implications of harvesting their synthetic brains.
    – Knights of the Old Republic 2: A video game featuring HK-47, an assassin droid with a distinct personality.
    – Star Trek: A TV series and franchise known for its exploration of futuristic concepts and characters like Data.