Starfield Players Get Excused From Work By Bethesda Exec

Bethesda’s head of publishing Pete Hines posted a boilerplate excuse note on Twitter for any Starfield fan who, ahead of the game’s official release on September 6, is rapidly starting to feel a little bit…feverish.

Your stomach is twisting into tight knots. Your hands are slick and shaking, your whole body shivers with the exciting prospect of handing a multibillion-dollar company your $70. It’s okay. You’re safe now with Hines, whose name on Twitter currently specifies that he is “(not a doctor).”

“To Whom It May Concern: Please excuse ____ from work/school/chores for the foreseeable future,” begins his magnanimous excuse note. “They are currently undergoing treatment for an infection from [a dinosaur-like Starfield creature] Ashta bite after a recent expedition to [planet] Tau Ceti II.”

Hines’ note isn’t the first time a developer has tried to help you get out of responsibilities in order to play their new game. Ahead of Baldur’s Gate 3’s August 3 release, developer Larian Studios posted a “request for special dispensation” form, and encouraged players to hand it to their boss so they could spend hours upon hours in an expansive RPG world. Starfield, which similarly promises a thousand explorable planets and side quests, seems like another game that might suck up all your free time.

It’s also not the first time Hines has offered gamers a sick note to play his company’s latest game. He shared a much shorter, simpler sick note two days before Fallout 4’s November 10, 2015 release date. “I figure some of you might need a note from your doctor for your upcoming ‘sick day(s)’ this week,” he wrote then. As far as running gags go, it could be worse.

Will this Starfield sick note work? It’s unlikely, but your boss, professor, or mom can judge for themselves if Pete Hines, described on the note as an “MD, LAN, PhD, ARS” and “Head Physician, Constellation,” wants what’s best for you.

Read More: Here’s When You Can Actually Start Playing Starfield
Pre-order Starfield: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

“Whether you need time off to play Starfield starting tomorrow in early access,” Hines said on Twitter, “or next week at launch, Uncle Pete has you covered.”

“Already asked my boss earlier this week (and was approved),” said one commenter. “But, man, you should’ve sent this earlier.”

“Literal people are going to use this,” another Twitter respondent said. “Genius.”

Starfield launches in Early Access at 8 p.m. Eastern on August 31.


Starfield Players Are Already Filling Their Ships With Junk

I did not expect Starfield to have so many useless items lying about that I could pick up and do absolutely nothing with. A few hours into the sprawling sci-fi blockbuster and my first ship is already full of junk I’m just dumping on the floor, unsure where to place it, and apparently I’m not alone. Starfield players just can’t stop themselves from turning their space wings into portable junkyards.

If you think I’m the galaxy’s only Michael Scott driving around in a dumpster’s worth of fish filet wrappers, you’re wrong. One of the biggest posts on the Starfield subreddit right now is user swampyswede sharing a money shot of their space load. “Just because you can pick it up, doesn’t mean you should,” reads the first comment. “Succulent farmer should be a side quest. I would be on the leaderboard,” swampyswede wrote back. Other Starfield players confess to filling their ships up with foam cups, spoons, plushies, and more.

A screenshot shows a Starfield Reddit tribute to trash.

Screenshot: Bethesda / Reddit / swampyswede

Thirty years of playing video games have taught me that if you can press a button to grab a thing and add it to your inventory you should definitely always do that. Space bases in Starfield are full of notepads, glass vials, cutlery, and all manner of found objects that you can take with you. None of it does anything, and as far as I can tell you can’t even scrap it for crafting materials like you could in Fallout 4 and Fallout 76.

All you can do is sell it, which the game incentivizes you to do by displaying tantalizingly inflated prices next to each item description. There are just two problems with this. Becoming a NASA-punk pawn star requires 1) finding a place to actually sell the stuff with no real map and 2) transporting it there with a laughably low encumbrance threshold (carry too much stuff around in Starfield and your lungs will fill with CO2 until you die).

But Starfield does give every player a ship right at the start, and you can dump all your crap on the ground in it and it will…just stay there. Succulents, sandwiches, shotguns—you name it. Is there a cargo hold you can stow stuff in? 100 percent. Did I figure out how to use it? Not for several hours. And even now it’s so much faster and simpler just to toss new things on the existing pile.

Space hoarding can be quite lucrative if you stick with it though. Some players are already dreaming of paying off their first house (though you can start with one and a big loan if you choose the Dream Home perk during initial character creation). But me, personally? I’m kind of in love with my little trash mound and don’t know that I’d be willing to part with it. Go explore the great unknown they said! I got the great unknown pile of crap right here baby.

Update 9/5/2023 11:28 a.m. ET: Junkyard ships were apparently only the beginning. One enterprising Starfield player loaded up their entire cockpit with potatoes. It’s incredibly to behold and terrifying to ponder, just like the cosmos themselves. I can’t believe the game didn’t break:

Gif: Bethesda / Moozipan / Kotaku

Behold 2023’s Game of the Year: Spudfield.


Starfield Players Are Still Waiting For It’s Frist Big Patch

Art shows a space ship sitting over a giant canyon.

Image: Bethesda

Bethesda released another tiny update for Starfield on September 25 that addresses a handful of minor bugs and performance issues on PC. The studio promises a much more massive update is still on the way as fans wait for further tweaks and much needed quality of life improvements.

“This update addresses some issues with performance and stability as well as a few general gameplay issues,” Bethesda wrote on its website today. “We are continuing to work on a larger update that will add features and improvements that we noted in our last update notes.” Here are the full patch notes for Starfield update 1.7.33:


  • Characters: Fixed an issue that could cause some characters to not be in their proper location.
  • Star Stations: Fixed an issue where Star Stations would be labeled as a player-owned ship.
  • Vendors: Addressed an issue that allowed for a vendor’s full inventory to be accessible.


  • AMD (PC): Resolved an issue that caused star lens flares not to appear correctly AMD GPUs.
  • Graphics: Addressed an upscaling issue that could cause textures to become blurry.
  • Graphics: Resolved an issue that could cause photosensitivity issues when scrolling through the inventory menu.


  • Hand Scanner: Addressed an issue where the Hand Scanner caused hitching.
  • Various stability and performance improvements to address crashing and freezes.


  • Displays: Fixed an issue that would cause displayed items to disappear when applied to in-ship mannequins.
  • Displays: Fixed an issue that would cause items stored in Razorleaf Storage Containers and Weapon Racks to disappear after commandeering another ship.

It’s the second update the sprawling open-world RPG has recieved since it arrived on September 1. Another very small “hotfix” went live on September 13 that addressed exactly three bugs in major quests and more general stability improvements on Xbox Series X/S. Big ticket items like more PC display options, better accessibility features, and improvements to actual gameplay remain MIA at the moment.

Nvidia DLSS support was a big sore spot at launch due to Starfield’s exclusive partnership with rival GPU maker AMD. While players eventually modded the graphical upscaling tech into the game themselves, Bethesda has promised to provide an official fix. Brightness and Contrast controls, a HDR Calibration Menu, and FOV Slider are also all still on the docket, as is a button to automatically eat food found out in the world rather than losing it in the inventory screen.

Starfield’s now been out for almost a month, and the lack of more major updates is certainly striking in contrast to recent blockbuster RPGs like Elden Ring and Baldur’s Gate 3. Bethesda’s space exploration hoarding sim didn’t launch with any major bugs or performance issues on Xbox Series X/S, but has had a somewhat rockier reception on PC.

And while many critics have praised the game, they’ve also pointed out a lot of annoying UI issues and systems that feel dated. The lack of accessibility options has been especially bad. It’s unclear how much of that will change in the months ahead, but Bethesda and Microsoft have already said they are committed to ongoing post-launch support and future DLC expansions for the space exploration epic.

Buy Starfield: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop


Sonic Frontiers’ Final Horizon Update Is Kicking Players’ Asses

Sonic Frontiers, Sega’s latest (and surprisingly well-received) entry in the speedy hedgehog franchise, received its final free content update on Thursday. It seems this new update is proving to be way more difficult than the base game, as players who once bragged about how easy the game was are getting their generous blue asses handed to them.

Sonic Frontiers’ final update, appropriately titled The Final Horizon, advertised itself as bringing a new story; new playable characters in the form of Knuckles, Tails, and Amy, and new challenges. Apparently, Sega meant that last part with its whole chest because players are struggling to get to the finish line of The Final Horizon.

Since the update’s release, players have taken to social media in a mix of frustration and excitement over how difficult it is to either:

– Adjust to how differently Sonic’s companions move while completing challenges

– Complete trial towers (which don’t have checkpoints)

– Defeat the update’s tough-as-nails new boss Tank+, a spider tank that’ll riddle Sonic with bullets on sight, exploding the blue streak into a fountain of coins

Buy Sonic Frontiers: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

To add more kindling to the blazing difficulty fire players are experiencing, some players are reporting that the game now requires them to perfect parry enemies during trials. That’s rough, buddy.

Read More: That New Sonic Game Is A Weird, Lonely Mess (That I Can’t Stop Playing)

While some players are finding The Final Frontier’s evident difficulty spike as a welcome update to the game, others are hoping Sega patches the free update to make its boss fights less of an uphill battle.

“God damn, [Morio] Kishimoto seriously took offense to people calling his game too easy. I love the challenge, but god DAMN,” SonicFanatic67 wrote on the r/SonicFrontiers subreddit.

“Sonic Team really took everyone’s complaints on how OP the parry was and just said ‘Aight, bet. Now you gotta time your shit. Have fun, jackasses.” xXWarriorAngelXx added.

“This shit ain’t even fun. There’s fun/challenging difficulty and then there’s spiteful/cheap difficulty. This feels like the latter,” YesHai wrote on Reddit.

“Hit the last challenge before the final boss in Sonic Frontiers DLC and yeah it’s probably the most difficult thing they’ve ever put into their games,” KZXcellent tweeted. “DLC has been the most fun I’ve had playing a Sonic game, but it’s not gonna be for everyone.

Sonic The Hedgehog

On the upside, The Final Horizon has a new Super Sonic form for players to enjoy. Hopefully, aside from being aesthetically pleasing, the newly minted superpowered Sonic will functionally aid players in conquering Sonic Frontiers’ final slew of challenges.

Buy Sonic Frontiers: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

RuneScape Ditches Battle Pass After Players Revolt

The just-introduced RuneScape battle pass has nowhere near the longevity of the 22-year-old game to which it belongs: after debuting the pass on September 4, developer Jagex plans to terminate it on December 3, it wrote in an October 6 update post.

RuneScape fans have won the war. They initiated it immediately after Jagex debuted the Hero Pass, which tacks onto the $80, 12-month, premier membership tier that unlocks every RuneScape area and gameplay mechanic. The Hero Pass was meant to give players a new event every three months in which they would do things like earn points for cosmetics—so, your typical battle pass, but players already couldn’t stand RuneScape’s increased reliance on microtransactions in its Treasure Hunter loot boxes.

Their anger erupted with Hero Pass’s debut in September, and, according to recent negative Steam reviews, people who have been playing RuneScape for 15, 16, or even 20 years decided to give it up.

“Jagex have always been controversial in their updates, mostly due to their cash grabs through microtransactions, and the latest [battle pass] update takes the cake,” a negative review with 160 “helpful” ratings as of this writing says. “[Microtransactions] have killed this game. As a player of 16yrs of grinding, I am out. Time to find other alternatives.”

Jagex tried pacifying fans on September 6, writing in a blog that it was “looking to work towards areas where we can make this [battle pass] system better for everyone,” but players maintained they were disturbed by a battle pass in any form. It didn’t help that this one was so lackluster, though.

“I’m a whale and I hate battle pass,” said one Reddit post on the Runescape board with over 1,000 upvotes. “The constant in-game pop ups are intrusive, most of the cosmetics are lackluster at best, […] who is this battle pass even for?”

The feedback stacked until Jagex got the message.

“Every single player of RuneScape—whether currently active or taking a break—matters,” it decided in its October blog. “RuneScape has a long future ahead of it, and we intend to make that an ever-better experience where players have more influence on how the game evolves.”

And so, “we will not be releasing another Hero Pass after [current season] Underworld ends on December 3rd,” “we have done this to recognize questions it raised that do not reflect our direction for the game,” and “if we pursue a new reward-system, it will be built with players and not involve Content Buffs with Membership/paid disparity.” Power to the people.

Destiny 2 Offers Players $45 Credit Over Mistaken Cheating Bans

A Destiny 2 Guardian rejoins the fight from their space ship cockpit.

Image: Bungie

Destiny 2 has been cracking down on cheating in recent years, and the sci-fi shooter is now riddled with players who claim they were banned by mistake. However, it seems at least some of them may have been telling the truth: Bungie recently contacted a few players to apologize for banning them by mistake, offering them roughly $45 in premium currency to make up for the error.

As reported by The Verge’s Tom Warren, a recent email from the studio stated that a “small number” of players had their accounts “inadvertantly flagged as having tampered with game client functionality.” The email continued, “While the overwhelming majority of these detections are accurate, we discovered that in extremely rare cases this detection may be triggered through no fault of the player.”

Bungie explained that a recent audit of its cheating detection processes revealed the false positives, and it’s taken action to fix the issue. It’s unclear for how long any of the players wrongly banned for cheating were excluded from the game, but the studio is offering them 5,000 Silver to spend on emotes and ornaments in the Eververse microtransaction shop. The premium in-game currency bundles can also be spent on battle passes for upcoming seasons.

Destiny 2 has been in a constant tug-of-war with cheaters, especially in its top-tier competetive modes like Trials of Osiris, a weekly competition where players compete for some of the best loot in the game. Its recent crackdowns, which have been cheered by the community as a way to sure up the integrity of the game’s struggling PvP modes, have resulted in a number of publicized ban waves. Bungie even got a player legally banned from ever playing Destiny 2 again through a court order last month.

Some of those caught up in the cheating ban waves have been less impressed by Bungie’s efforts. The game’s subreddit, forum, and social media include frequent posts by people claiming they were wrongfully banned and criticizing the studio for the lack of transparency around its appeals process. It’s unclear if the recent “small number” of mistakes will alter the way Bungie deals with suspected cheaters. The studio did not immediately respond to a reqeust for comment.

Update 10/11/2023 2:00 p.m. ET: A spokesperson for Bungie provided Kotaku with the following statement:

“We recently identified and resolved an issue that resulted in a small number of accounts being inadvertently flagged during a recent ban wave. This issue was isolated to this specific ban wave, and we have made changes to our review process to ensure this issue is not repeated. Impacted players have been notified, accounts restored, and make-goods provided.”


Overwatch 2 Players Raise Hell Over Moira’s Pricey Lilith Skin

Overwatch 2’s Halloween-infused seventh season, Rise of Darkness, went live on Monday, bringing with it a swath of creepy new skins for its heroes, including a hotly anticipated skin based on Diablo IV’s Lilith for sardonic healer Moira. Unfortunately, players who eagerly dived into the season for a chance to acquire Moira’s devilishly good skin now feel like its existence is a price-gouging trick rather than a treat thanks to its hefty cost and paywalled availability.

You see, Lilith Moira can only be unlocked by purchasing the game’s Ultimate Battle Pass: Season Seven Bundle which costs $40. Last season’s Premium Battle Pass also cost $40, but at least that one came with three new story missions. Usually, OW2 skins can be acquired by completing levels in its Battle Pass but the Lilith Moira skin, as well as Pharah’s Legendary Inarius skin and Bastion’s Epic Pumpkin skin, can only be acquired by purchasing the Ultimate Battle Pass. Lilith Moira’s price tag isn’t going over well with fans who see the bundle as yet another example of Blizzard fleecing players for new skins.


Read More: Overwatch 2’s New Patch Has A Lot More Than Sombra’s Rework

“Casual reminder that Overwatch, the ENTIRE GAME was $40 on release,” Arenyr wrote in a r/Overwatch thread. “Now we’re paying that amount for a couple of skins and a Battle Pass.”

“Blizzard is so fucking gross for this,” Drewboy13 replied in the same thread. “Not only is everything so crazily overpriced, it’s also paywalled and locked behind even more expensive bundles.”

“I thought the only reason the previous season’s Ultimate Bundle was $40 was due to the Invasion ‘campaign missions’ as well as the fact that you got three legendary skins,” LeKrahka said. “Actually bonkers.”

“I’d rather buy a nice game on sale or at the same price without a sale than a disgustingly overpriced pack,’ Sharashaska said. “Every time they have the opportunity to be decent they fail and make the shittiest decision possible regarding their consumers.”

Read More: Overwatch 2 One Year Later: Why Am I Still Doing This?

Last August, Blizzard sent out a survey asking players if they’d be willing to pay $45 for new hero skins. At the time, a Blizzard spokesperson told Kotaku the survey was “entirely intended to better understand player preferences for different types of Overwatch 2 cosmetics” and prices offered in it were “randomized per user and are not indicative of final pricing.” I suppose Blizzard’s survey led to the conclusion that Moira mains like myself would be willing to pay $40 to get the support hero a good skin that wasn’t her David Bowie-inspired one from 2017. I’m going to stick with the Bowie one.


Spider-Man 2 Fast Travel Is So Quick It’s Blowing Players Minds

Gif: Insomniac Games / Sony / Kotaku

Spider-Man 2 is full of impressive technical achievements, but the one that’s currently blowing everyone’s minds is just how quick fast travel is. The PlayStation 5 exclusive lets you travel from one end of its sprawling map to the other in just a couple of seconds. It’s so good players thought Insomniac Games must be hiding something.

A clip that recently went viral on social media ahead of Spider-Man 2‘s October 20 launch had players marveling at the feature’s elegance and speed in the new blockbuster. “The fact that you can travel to any location, even the opposite corner of the map, with ZERO loading is absolutely mind-boggling,” tweeted user Okami13. “Definitely the most seamless fast-travel system I’ve seen.”

Pre order Spider-Man 2: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

In a thread on ResetEra discussing the fast travel system (via Gamesradar), users debated if there might be a mini-loading screen hidden in the button press required to initiate it. When you fast travel in Spider-Man 2, you have to hold down the triangle button for a second or two overtop of the location you want to move to. The fast travel it triggers is so speedy, some players assumed Insomniac must be using this delayed input to mask the map loading in the background.

Not so according to Mike Fitzgerald, Insomniac’s director of core technologies. “That’s a hold-to-confirm prompt, not hiding a load,” he wrote on ResetEra. “If anyone wants to check, they can look at how late it’s possible to cancel it out when they’re playing.” In fact, the studio even debated removing it at one point to make fast travel even faster.

“Last month I brought up whether we should remove the hold-to-confirm, mostly to address that accusation we were seeing,” Fitgerald wrote. “But it was correctly pointed out to me that having a confirmation window was important for player usability, which at the end of the day is far more important than Internet cred points (even though we love our Internet cred points).”

Having played Spider-Man 2, I definitely agree that the “hold-to-confirm” requirement is a nicer experience. In addition to the satisfying haptic feedback from the button press, it also prevents you from accidently initiating fast travel to somewhere you didn’t mean to go or while trying to check map icons for information about new activities. But it’s still wild to think that Spider-Man 2 could actually support almost instantaneous fast travel across its sprawling version of New York City if the feature was turned off.

Pre order Spider-Man 2: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

Spider-Man 2 Players Discover Its Most Absurd Glitch

Now that Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is finally out in the wild, players are finding all of its cool moments and comic book Easter eggs. But a bunch have encountered something much more unexpected: a glitch that turns Spider-Man into a little white lump of tofu.

It’s not technically tofu per se, but that’s certainly what some players think it looks like. The strange bug sees a small cube you might associate with early development prototyping completely replace the titular superhero’s body. Spider-Block as some are calling it (me, I’m calling him that) can still do all the amazing things the neighborhood web-crawler normally does, like web-slinging through New York and comboing bad guys skyward. The weird glitch transforms the experience from cool comic book stuff to extra-surreal fever dream.

Social media is already full of players encountering the cube glitch:

Despite the bug’s prevalence, no one really seems to be sure exactly what causes it. The tofu slabs just appear any time either Peter Parker or Miles Morales’ suit model fails to load. Then it’s cube time. You can fix it by going back to the suit menu and swapping to a different costume. It’s smart to do that quickly, too, since there are reports of some cubed players falling through the map after their unexpected transfigurations. Perhaps therein lies a portal to the blockverse, but your best bet is just to reload from the last checkpoint if that happens.

Fortunately, my 40-hour experience with Spider-Man 2 was mostly bug free, though some players have reported game crashes or occasionally getting stuck on parts of the environment. A few players have even reported being unable to play the disc version of the game at all, with installations getting stuck at 36 percent. Insomniac Games hasn’t yet provided an official workaround, though the issue doesn’t seem to be too widespread. Hopefully it gets solved soon so those players can also experience the glory of Spider-Block.

Update 10/27/2023 11:48 a.m. ET: A new patch for Spider-Man 2 has fixed the block glitch and players are sad. Insomniac released the update yesterday to fix several other issues as well including an error with the game’s missing Puerto Rican flags. But now Spidey-Block is no more too. Rip to a real one.

Bungie Blames 100 Layoffs On Players Leaving Destiny 2

Destiny 2 Guardians prepare for The Final Shape.

Image: Bungie

Bungie employees knew the Destiny 2 studio was struggling, but might not have expected a recent mass layoff of roughly 100 staff. That’s according to a new report by Bloomberg which details a meeting earlier this month in which studio leadership blamed poor player retention following 2023’s disappointing Lightfall expansion for revenue going off a cliff.

The money Bungie was bringing in was reportedly running 45 percent below projections for the year. Despite an initial spike in concurrent players on Steam, Destiny 2 has struggled in the weeks and months following the release of its cyberpunk-infused Lightfall expansion. Bloomberg reports that The Final Shape, which Bungie has been hyping up as the climactic conclusion for Destiny 2‘s current storyline, was getting good but not great feedback internally. As a result, the decision was made to delay it from February 2024 to June in order to try to win back players. (Extraction shooter Marathon was delayed as well, to 2025.)

Read More: Destiny 2 Fans Worry About The Future After Cuts And Delays

In the meantime, Bungie ultimately decided to lay off roughly 100 employees, or about 8 percent of its 1,200 headcount, Bloomberg reports. As first shared by Forbes writer Paul Tassi earlier today, employees are receiving three months of severance and health insurance, while other benefits run out on November 1. And while bonuses will be prorated for the year, those with shares from the 2022 Sony acquisition that haven’t yet vested will lose them. Sony, for its part, also appears to be cutting costs across its studios.

“Today is a sad day at Bungie as we say goodbye to colleagues who have all made a significant impact on our studio,” Bungie CEO Pete Parsons wrote on Twitter on October 30 after the news broke. “What these exceptional individuals have contributed to our games and Bungie culture has been enormous and will continue to be a part of Bungie long into the future.”

The tweet has since been ratioed, with some commenters calling the remarks “tone deaf” and asking the executive whether he had taken a pay cut before deciding who to lay off. Bungie has so far declined to comment on the situation.