It Looks Like Starfield Has Major Accessibility Problems

Reviews have started pouring in for Starfield, the highly anticipated and allegedly gargantuan space RPG from Bethesda, which comes out worldwide on September 6. And though the reviews are mostly positive, and reports suggest that this may be the least buggy Bethesda launch yet, one content creator has pointed out a major problem with the Xbox and PC exclusive: accessibility.

Steve Saylor, a content creator and accessibility consultant who has worked with studios like Naughty Dog, Ubisoft, and Raven Software, posted a Starfield accessibility review on YouTube, calling it “extremely disappointing.” “I didn’t know when Todd Howard said on @KindaFunnyVids that they would have big font mode that was all they would have,” Saylor tweeted.

Steve Saylor

Starfield’s accessibility problems

“If folks were hoping space would be accessible, it is not,” he says in the 13-and-a-half-minute long video. “I wish I could say that this was going to be the first accessible hit from Bethesda–it is not. Sadly, not even close.” Saylor’s video then shows the accessibility tab in Starfield’s settings menu, and the four options available: general subtitles, dialogue subtitles, toggle iron sights, and large menu fonts, all of which can simply be toggled on or off.

Read More: New Microsoft Program Could Help Devs Make Games More Accessible
Pre-order Starfield: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

The big font mode is a crucial feature, since so much of Starfield relies on navigating text-heavy menus. “For the majority of the in-game menus—and there are a lot—the text is not perfect, but manageable,” Saylor, who is legally blind, said before pointing to the enlarged text’s lack of further customization options as another problem.

But the lack of font customization is most egregious when it comes to subtitles. There’s no ability for players to change the font-type, color, or background opacity for the subtitles, and since Starfield uses a stylized, computer-y font throughout, Saylor worries that it may be an issue for folks with dyslexia. “If you’re not happy with the default, you’re out of luck,” he said. The biggest issue is the contrast—there’s so little contrast throughout the menus and the in-game hud, and because the text is white it can often get lost on lighter-colored planets or even in bright parts of space (though Starfield swaps the font to blue when in your spaceship).

The Xbox Series X and S version offers some degree of button remapping that could help players with motor disabilities, but it’s unclear how well that works on PC. Saylor notes that Starfield has a small selection of “okay” accessibility features that don’t require customization, like a center dot that helps with motion sickness and high-contrast visuals when using the in-game scanner. But the overall offering pales in comparison to that of blockbuster games like The Last of Us Part II, which has around 60 different accessibility options including a high-contrast mode, a magnification feature, text-to-speech options, and customizable subtitles.

Read More: New Database Helps Players Find Games With Accessibility Features

Despite all of this, Saylor makes sure to point out that he still loves Starfield (he praises its “gorgeous soundtrack” and “intriguing” companions), and makes it clear that the blame for its lack of accessibility should not be placed on Xbox’s shoulders—Microsoft has made accessibility a cornerstone of its gaming business in recent years—but on Bethesda’s.

“Some folks may think that modding will help with accessibility, and yes, modding Bethesda games has helped in the past. But that is not the best way to get around accessibility,” Saylor told Kotaku over X (formerly Twitter) DM. “Only because if Bethesda releases a patch or an update, that mod could break, and it’s up to the modder to want to go in and fix it. Which can take time and there’s no guarantee it will be done. I wanted to add that to my review, but didn’t have time.”

It’s unclear if future Starfield updates will add more accessibility options, but with Bethesda now under the Xbox umbrella, you’d certainly hope so. Starfield launches for Xbox and PC on September 1 for players who shelled out for the special edition, and September 6 for everyone else.

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 Literally Saved A Couple From Dying In Apartment Fire

A ship exploding in Starfield.

Screenshot: Bethesda

We all know that playing video games makes you cooler, stronger, and more attractive, but for Reddit user Tidyckilla, it made him and his wife remain far more alive. Staying up late to binge Starfield is the reason credited for how the couple escaped a deadly fire in their apartment.

As spotted by Eurogamer, u/tidyckilla posted over the weekend to the Starfield subreddit to credit the game for his continued existence.

Starfield literally saved mine and my family’s life on September 1st,” the post begins. After explaining for how long he’d been anticipating playing, the not-dead person continues, “On the night of August 31st I decided to stay up and play as long as possible to experience this new universe. At 2:26 in the morning, while playing the game, I heard an explosion from my downstairs neighbors apartment.”

It seems it was no small explosion, and the resulting fire was in an awful rush. “I paused my game to see what was happen [sic], when I opened the door I saw flames rising up our stairwell to our apartment.”

I immediately got my wife and cat, rushing us to safety with only minor burns. If I hadn’t been up bingeing Starfield I would have been asleep and we would have all died to smoke inhalation.

The post is accompanied by a photograph of the raging fire, thankfully viewed from the other side of the street from the apartment, and frankly looks terrifying. The Redditor also posted some sad pictures of the aftermath of the fire, in response to the inevitable conspiracists claiming the story was made up. This news report suggests tragically one neighbor was killed, while three others were rescued by firefighters, with the cause of the fire under investigation.

It’s further proof that staying up too late playing games is very good for you.

“I want to thank this game from saving my family and me from a horrible fate,” says tidyckilla, before concluding, “PRAISE GODD HOWARD.”

Starfield Doesn’t Require Fast Travel After All…Sort Of

Pluto isn’t a planet. That really shouldn’t be a controversial statement any more, but it regains new contentiousness with the release of epic space RPG, Starfield. Developer and streamer Alanah Pearce wanted to find out if Bethesda’s epic space RPG really does require fast travel for all interplanetary travel, by setting off on the seven hour trip from Earth to the dwarf planet.

Starfield intends players to use fast travel to move between planets and solar systems. Disappointing many, who had hoped for a more natural ability to fly from orb to orb, it was widely speculated that the game was instead beaming players into bordered skyboxes within a solar system, with the uninhabited planets just decorations on the walls. Brave explorer, podcaster, and Santo Monica Studios writer, Alanah Pearce, decided to find out the truth.

Approaching Pluto in Starfield.

Screenshot: Alanah Pearce / Bethesda / Twitch / Kotaku

Pearce’s plan was to fly within the familiar trails of the Milky Way to discover if those extra worlds could be reached under a player’s own space-steam. To do this, the plan was to point toward a location, then leave the game running while she slept. However, Pearce’s first problem was where to head. Initially trying to aim for Earth, it turned out that the game’s ultra-realistic planetary orbits would have made it unrealistic to accurately aim before heading to bed. Instead, after much deliberation, the decision was made to point the ship to the right of Pluto.

Read More: 17 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Playing Starfield
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It turns out it’s not that simple. It’s never that simple. Every time Pearce’s Xbox controller fell asleep, the game paused, meaning there were stretches of the night where no progress was made until the streamer woke up to hit A, then went back to sleep.

On waking seven hours later, what Pearce unequivocally proved is that the game isn’t using skyboxes. The solar systems depicted in the enormous space map are for real, and like the real thing, mostly made of terrifyingly vast stretches of absolutely nothing. And now she was 47 kilometers from the dwarf body.

By this point, the textures were heavily blurred, suggesting Bethesda had not intended anyone to do this. Rather confirming that, on actually reaching the non-planet, Pearce flew straight through the skin of Pluto’s surface, on some level going “inside” it, whereupon the trans-Neptunian object became invisible showing the rest of space around her ship.

Getting out the other side proved somewhat trickier. Because, even though Pluto is endlessly demeaned for its diminutive size, it still has a diameter of 2,376km. And travelling at these subspace speeds meant that would take hours itself. So, you know, Alanah Pearce went back to bed.

After another five hours, the ship was outside of the planet again. Astonishingly, in the process, Pearce reports that she was so tired that she’d fainted on her return to bed and smacked her head. But it was for Science.


Speedrunner Beats Starfield In Under 3 Hours

A Starfield player runs across rocky terrain.

Screenshot: Bethesda / Kotaku

Though Starfield isn’t even out of its Early Access period yet (its full release will happen at 12:00 a.m. UTC on September 6, or 8 p.m. Eastern on September 5), one speedrunner has already managed to beat Bethesda’s hundreds-of-hours long game in less time than it takes to watch Barbenheimer. The speedrunner, Micrologist, wrapped up the NASA-punk giant in a neat 2 hours, 51 minutes, and 42 seconds, VG247 first reported.

Micrologist, who’s previously completed games like Doom Eternal in just over an hour and Bugsnax in 19 minutes, posted a time-stamped version of their Starfield run on YouTube on September 3. For viewers and other eager speedrunners, the video demonstrates which parts of Starfield’s main quest are easy to gloss over, and which sections require even a speedrunner’s full attention. Naturally, the entire 3-hour video coalesces into one mega spoiler for anyone who hasn’t completed Starfield’s approximately 40-hour main quest, or for anyone who hasn’t yet accessed the game ahead of its official, global launch.

When will Starfield be available on Xbox’s subscription Game Pass?

Competition between Starfield speedrunners is about to get more dense and people currently cowering from spoilers are, conversely, going to chill out—we’re very close to that official launch at 8 p.m. Eastern on September 5, which is when every Game Pass owner will gain access to Starfield.

You can also preload the action role-playing game on either your Xbox Series X/S or via Steam right now.

Read More: Here’s When You Can Actually Start Playing Starfield

Just remember that “you’ll need to clear out some room on your SSD, as Starfield takes up a decent amount of space,” Kotaku staffer Zack Zwiezen writes in a recent article, “specifically, around 139 gigabytes on PC and 126 gigs on Xbox Series X/S consoles.” The tricky part will be condensing those 139 gigabytes into a 2-hour world record.


Starfield Will Get DLSS Support, FOV Slider And Better Maps

Starfield’s first update is here and it’s…pretty small and not very exciting. However, Bethesda has confirmed that some highly desired features and improvements, including DLSS support, will be added to the RPG via future updates.

In a September 9 update on Steam, Bethesda confirmed that it would add DLSS support to Starfield’s PC port. Nvidia’s DLSS upscaling technology often helps players achieve higher resolution and better performance in demanding PC games. The popular feature was missing from the massive space RPG at launch, leading to a lot of controversy and fan mods to add it to the game. Starfield did support AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution feature, FSR2, though many PC players greatly prefer DLSS and modded it into the RPG as soon as they could.

Bethesda also confirmed more quality-of-life features would be added in the future, including better maps and an FOV slider.

Here’s the full list of “top community requested” features Bethesda is promising will be added via a series of updates:

  • Brightness and Contrast controls
  • HDR Calibration Menu
  • FOV Slider
  • Nvidia DLSS Support (PC)
  • 32:9 Ultrawide Monitor Support (PC)
  • Eat button for food!

“This is a game we’ll be supporting for years and years to come, so please keep all the feedback coming,” said Bethesda. “Even if we don’t get to your requests immediately, we’d love to do it in the future, like city maps. Our priority initially is making sure any top blocker bugs or stability issues are addressed, and adding quality-of-life features that many are asking for.”

The company explained it is working “closely” with Nvidia, AMD, and Intel on Starfield drivers and promised that each update will include “stability and performance improvements.”

Bethesda also re-confirmed that official Starfield mod tools would be coming in early 2024. The company explained that these “Creations” will work across all platforms, similar to how console mods worked in Skyrim and Fallout 4.

As for Starfield’s first update, Bethesda calls it a “small hotfix” that targets “top issues” the publisher has seen players encountering. Here are the full patch notes:

Performance and Stability

  • Xbox Series X|S Improved stability related to installations.
  • Various stability and performance improvements to reduce crashes and improve framerate.


  • All That Money Can Buy: Fixed an issue where player activity could result in a quest blocker.
  • Into the Unknown: Fixed an issue that could prevent the quest from appearing after the game is completed.
  • Shadows in Neon: Fixed an issue where player activity could result in a quest blocker.

After first releasing in paid early access, Bethesda’s Starfield is out now on Xbox Series X/S, PC, and Game Pass. Click here to read all of our past coverage of 2023’s biggest game.


Nexus Mods Is Happy To Remove Bigoted Starfield ‘Pronoun’ Mod

Nexus Mods, one of the largest online repositories of fan-made video game modifications, recently deleted a Starfield mod that removed the game’s built-in option to choose a pronoun for your created character. As you might expect, this removal angered a very toxic portion of players who yelled at Nexus Mods over its choice and threatened to stop using the massive site. But Nexus Mods is sticking with its decision and has a message to angry bigots: We aren’t sad to see you leave.

Starfield, one of the biggest games of 2023, is also a Bethesda RPG. That means it’s a large open-world game filled with quests and places to explore, but it also has some annoying bugs and frustrating design choices. And as usual, PC-based modders have come to the rescue to help tweak and improve the game. While many of these mods are useful and/or fun, some aren’t as positive, like a mod that removes the ability to choose a pronoun, a small feature in the game that became a viral talking point among toxic losers upset about Starfield being “woke.” However, if you try to download that mod from Nexus Mods today, you won’t find it, because the people running the site didn’t want it around.

In a report from 404Media published Friday, Nexus Mods told the outlet that while it doesn’t see itself as the “police of what people can and cannot mod into (or out of) their games” it does decide which content it wants to host or not host. And Nexus Mods said hosting this pronoun-removal mod was “not for us.”

“It is certainly within our rights not to host content on our platform,” Nexus Mods told 404Media. It also said the mod’s removal wasn’t a “political statement” or the site picking sides in the ongoing culture war. Instead, it said it simply believes in “diversity and inclusion,” adding that the “removal of diversity, while appealing to many, does not promote a positive modding community.”

Nexus Mods isn’t phased by toxic comments

If you’ve been on the internet at all in the last few years, you know what happened next. Lots of angry chuds hopped into forums and social media threads to yell about how this was evil censorship and infringing on their rights. For its part, Nexus Mods doesn’t care about the reaction.

“A reinforcement that this has been the best course of action has been some of the hatred, vitriol, and threats of violence coming from a very, very small minority of the community,” Nexus Mods said. “Frankly, we are not sad to see them go.”

This isn’t the first time the popular modding site has upset toxic assholes. In 2022, Nexus took similar action against a mod for Spider-Man Remastered that removed Pride flags from the game’s New York City. That mod would later be re-uploaded to the Internet Archive; a good reminder to those claiming these mods are no longer accessible, they are, you just can’t get them from one specific site anymore.

At the time, Nexus Mods had this to say in a blog post explaining why it had deleted the Spider-Man mod from its site: “We are for inclusivity, we are for diversity. If we think someone is uploading a mod on our site with the intent to deliberately be against inclusivity and/or diversity then we will take action against it.”

Buy Starfield: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop


Looks Like Starfield Features An Iconic Halo Planet

Starfield has an absolutely massive galaxy to explore, so it was only a matter of time before players started discovering Easter eggs and subtle nods to other sci-fi franchises that came before it. Recently, a certain habitable planet in the Eridani system has fans convinced it’s a recreation of a rather unfortunate world in the Halo series.

Read More: 14 Classic Science Fiction Ships Recreated In Starfield
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Players have discovered that Starfield’s version of the Epsilon Eridani star system, a real star system that’s also a major part of Halo lore, includes a planet that bears a striking resemblance to that of Reach, where 2010’s Halo: Reach took place. Described on Halopedia as featuring “towering mountains, deserts, and weather-beaten forests,” Starfield’s Eridani II has similar terrain to Reach. Sadly, no one’s discovered any weird ostrich-like birdies.

A star map in Starfield shows the planet of Eridani II.

Screenshot: Bethesda Game Studios / Kotaku

And like Reach, Eridani II is the second planet in the Eridani star’s orbit.

Read More: Starfield: This Creepy Derelict Spaceship Goes All Dead Space

As mentioned, Eridani II is a real star system out there in the void. It was first written about in Ptolemy’s Catalog of Stars, which listed over 1,000 worlds, as well as other Islamic works of astronomy. In the 1900s, it was estimated to be about 10.5 light-years from our solar system. Early on, SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence project which scans the skies for signs of other civilizations) took interest in Epsilon Eridani and Tau Ceti—which is also in Starfield and featured in Marathon, another Bungie shooter—as a likely spot for habitable planets, either featuring extraterrestrial life itself or possibly proving a good candidate for future space travel.

How to find the Halo: Reach Easter egg in Starfield

A star map shows the distance to the Eridani star system from Alpha Centauri.

Screenshot: Bethesda Game Studios / Kotaku

If you’d like to visit Eridani II in Starfield, you can do so very early on in the game. Starting from Alpha Centauri (home of The Lodge and other early story moments in Starfield), go down and to the left on the star map and you’ll find the Eridani star system, which is only a mere 19.11 light years away.

Read More: Starfield’s Photo Mode Is Deeply Satisfying

Once there, simply navigate to Eridani II and touch down on any of its biome regions for comfortable weather and mountainous terrain. As some fans have pointed out, Eridani II’s locations are closer to what’s seen in the Halo: Reach level “Tip of the Spear” than its more lush, grassy areas shown in other points of the game’s campaign. This is a prime location for Halo fans to build their first outpost (and you won’t have to deal with the challenges of extreme environments).

A lone helmet sits on the ground before some mountains.

May your trip on Eridani II be a bit more fortunate than a certain Spartan.
Screenshot: Bethesda Game Studios / Kotaku

You also won’t have to deal with, you know, Covenant.

Starfield Player Followed Across The Galaxy By An Entire City

Although early reviews claimed Starfield was Bethesda Game Studios’ most polished game to date, the open-space RPG still suffers from some of the strange, sometimes amusing, occasionally very helpful sorts of bugs and glitches the studio’s work is often known for. Maybe the most mind-boggling bug yet, however, is one that sees players being followed across space, not just by asteroids and other such objects, but even by forests and whole-ass cities.

Read More: Starfield Settings For A More Immersive Experience

Out now for Windows PC and Xbox consoles, Starfield is a game about exploring the farthest reaches of the black sea above us. You’ll join a troupe of space surveyors—as well as several other major and minor factions—to scour the cosmos looking for knowledge, loot, and power. Some helpful if annoying companions can accompany you on the voyage, which is nice. Traveling space can be lonely sometimes. But depending on how busted Starfield decides to be during your playthrough, you may find yourself yearning for that loneliness.

Stalkers are lurking in Starfield’s space

Across the game’s subreddit are posts from folks claiming that the most random of space objects are stalking them throughout the galaxy. On September 15, for example, redditor ReverendRoo posted nine images of an asteroid that had followed them “for the past 30 hours” like a pet. Similarly, on September 20, user Ultimastar shared four images on r/Starfield of an asteroid that “randomly attended my wedding” after 100 hours of gameplay. User Royal_Schedule4209 took to Reddit on September 22 to share an image of “a whole forest” that’s somehow been trailing their spaceship. Probably the wildest example of the bug, however, was shared on September 21 by redditor Punidue, who posted an image of “the whole New Atlantis” city creeping on them in space. Yikes.

That’s not all the things that’ve been breathing down the fuel tanks of Starfield players. One redditor claimed to have been followed by a part of a cave, while a separate commenter on user Xthekilr0y’s post about the asteroid following bug said they’re being chased by four pet rocks after mining asteroids. According to a few comments I’ve seen across multiple posts, the bug is seemingly permanent even if you reboot the game. The only way to get rid of them, at least for right now, is to either use console commands on PC or load a previous save. Regardless, this might be the most difficult dogfight you’ll ever find yourself in.

Kotaku reached out to Bethesda Games Studios for comment.

Read More: All Of Our Starfield Tips, Guides, News, And Reviews
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The world is big, but space is bigger. It’s nice having friends to help the years spent gravjumping from system to system speed by. I’m just not sure these space objects are the besties we want hopping galaxies with us. They’re all sus.