Starfield Feels Forgotten But Bethesda Promises Updates Are Still Coming

Starfield Feels Forgotten But Bethesda Promises Updates Are Still Coming

Starfield’s updates have been sporadic since it arrived over seven months ago. It’s clear the team at Bethesda has been diligently fixing bugs and adding small improvements, but it doesn’t feel like the open-world RPG has gotten the same amount of post-launch love as some of its peers. Director Todd Howard recently hinted that could be changing in the near future.

The nod came during an interview about the new Fallout TV show. IGN asked if the post-apocalyptic shooter franchise’s recent spike in popularity meant Bethesda might prioritize Fallout 5 over The Elder Scrolls VI. Howard said the studio wasn’t planning on changing up the batting order, while also reiterating that it currently has a lot on its plate.

“We’re still doing a lot of work, obviously on Fallout 76, and we see the community, so many people going into that game and kind of rediscovering it and just so happy with where that game is at,” Howard said. “It really does, and I mean, this has one of the best communities in all of gaming. Surprisingly, it’s a very, very nice apocalypse, and we’re doing a lot of Starfield work as well. So we have some really good updates that are going to get announced soon for that game. So, a lot going on here.”

Those “really good updates” might include features Bethesda previously teased in an end-of-year blog post last December like city maps, new ship building options, and “new ways to travel.” The development team also said mod support via the “creation kit” and settings for customizing things like carry capacity and ship damage are also coming in the future. And then there’s Shattered Space, the Starfield expansion that’s expected to add new story content.

Image: Bethesda

I’ve barely thought about Starfield since I finished it last year. Should that feel surprising? It’s hardly a live-service game that needs to keep juicing player engagement with new content and updates. And it wasn’t busted at launch like Cyberpunk 2077 was. Still, I keep finding myself wishing some big gameplay twist or new addition would pull me back into its planet-hopping sprawl where most of my character’s business was left unfinished.

Despite roughly three major patches since Starfield came out last September, most of the changes to the game have dealt specifically with fixing bugs or improving graphics and presentation. As Forbes’ Paul Tassi pointed out last month, it would have been a stretch to call many of the changes true quality-of-life improvements. Being able to now eat food directly off tables remains one of the few major gameplay changes. There’s a lot more potential to be mined.

It’s hard not to compare Starfield to Baldur’s Gate 3 in this regard. Launched around the same time, Larian Studios’ D&D-based RPG has tweaked endings, added new modes, expanded epilogue scenes, and introduced a litany of other changes that alter how players interact with the game’s characters and its world. Just today, Larian announced new endings are in the works for its next big patch. My intent here isn’t to pit these two games against each other, just to underline the type of future I still want for Starfield. It doesn’t need to become an all-time classic like Skyrim to have a foundation that’s still worth building on for the millions of players that will shuffle through its cosmic wilderness in the years to come.

Maybe I’m grading on an unfair curve here. It took a long time for Skyrim and Fallout 4 to begin receiving meaningful gameplay changes after launch as well. But the energy around Starfield has felt especially muted in recent months, especially as Fallout is thrust into the limelight. It’s not lost on me that Howard only mentioned Starfield briefly after lingering on Fallout 76’s slow-burn live service revival, as if it, too, is now in the rear-view mirror. I hope it doesn’t stay that way.

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