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Bethesda’s usual bugs make Starfield a wild ride

Can ‘Stop right there, criminal scum!’ really be improved on?

a broken spacesuit helmet sitting on a shelf in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

Starfield is a sprawling RPG that promises cosmic awe, mysteries of the universe, and a vast galaxy to explore. Even though its narrative and scope are philosophically profound and very large, respectively, I instead find myself tickled by many of the small details and silly moments in the game. Bethesda RPGs have a certain jankiness to them that persists throughout all their titles, and Starfield is no exception.

For instance, players can be a roguish sort who is OK with stealing things from settlements. The problem is that nice things are usually surrounded by witnesses. The solution? Thanks to the game’s physics engine, the player can take whatever they’d like simply by using another object to knock it into a bucket, then carrying that bucket off to a quiet corner to claim their prize.

There’s also the old classic of putting a box over someone’s head, so they can’t see you steal things. That’s just a universal truth across Bethesda games, and it’s a life hack that shopkeepers don’t want you to know about.

Starfield also generates unintentional slapstick comedy, and it gives me many a hearty chuckle. Redditor Fildo28 posted this instance of ragdoll physics leading to a fate so grisly, it kind of wraps back around to being full Looney Tunes.

This is probably one of the more brutal things I've witnessed in a Bethesda game
by u/Fildo28 in Starfield

Another perfect moment is this clip of a United Colonies officer bugging out in a way that appears to give her a defiant last stand. It’s a little goofy, but also kind of touching. Something else that’s unexpectedly emotional is this rock that started following a Redditor named Ultimastar around. The rock even attended their wedding, which is beautiful.

10 hours in I got a bug that made this rock follow my ship. 100 hours in and the rock is still with me and just randomly attended my wedding
by u/Ultimastar in Starfield

Most of the bugs players are experiencing are relatively harmless. In fact, they’re part of the fun. There’s an inherent comedy to some of the situations you might encounter in a Bethesda game. It also makes for great montage material; these bugs often feel scripted in their own way, like an absurdist comedy bit let loose in this grand space opera.


We compiled some of the funniest Starfield glitches from around the internet #starfield #starfieldglitch #starfieldbugs

♬ original sound - ABC Gamer

where tf did she come from #starfield #starfieldgame #fallout #Bethesda #fyp #gaming #gamingmemes

♬ original sound - Nukov

Starfield glitch #starfield #starfieldgameplay #starfieldglitch #glitch #bug #funny #game #gaming

♬ original sound - ipostclipsandstuff - ipostclipsandstuff

This is part of the charm of Bethesda games — the NPCs. The player meets hundreds of people, and most of them exist to give a few lines of exposition. Starfield lends itself to unusual behavior — for me, that manifests in picking up every nail gun, shot glass, and picture frame I find.

Sometimes, when a bug kicks in, my immersion breaks a little. These characters feel like a Westworld cast, here to serve as set dressing for my journey. We really must wonder: What do we look like from their point of view? It’s comical, but that’s part of the secret sauce in Bethesda RPGs. These little quirks all combine to create a certain je ne sais quoi, and I’m here for it.