Bethesda RPGs are known for their sprawling worlds, varied questlines, and moral choices. But Starfield is also impressing players with some incredible detail when it comes to the tiny objects littered throughout environments, and the physics around how they interact with one another.
Players have been picking up and hoarding random objects in Fallout and The Elder Scrolls for years. Starfield is no different, though the sheer scale at which players can mess around with everything from sandwiches to coffee mugs has people wowed. The first example to really make an impression was a star ship full of potatoes.
Earlier this week, user Moozipan shared a video on the Starfield subreddit on September 4 called “Time To Let Something Go.” The clip showed a hatch opening up onboard the Frontier to reveal hundreds of potatoes pouring out into the hallway. It wasn’t just that Moozipan had painstakingly collected and placed all of the produce on their ship that was wild, it was how each of the individual potatoes rolled out in one intricate but fluid animation.
The clip blew up across social media. “This is pretty mind blowing, actually,” tweeted Digital Foundry’s John Linneman. “The fact that these objects all have physics is impressive.” The subreddit, where it’s currently the third most popular post, was in even more disbelief. “Those spill physics were beautiful,” wrote one fan. “Crazy to think it was rendered in real time,” wrote another. “And that the game didn’t chew itself alive rendering that many spuds,” added a third.
Players have been blown away by a similar amount of real-time flexibility when it comes to other objects. While sticking buckets over NPCs heads to stop them seeing you steal stuff remains a Bethesda RPG 101 skill, one industrious player managed to steal tons of items simply by pushing them into containers and then carrying them off without ever technically adding them to their inventory.
“A very unique way of stealing lots of credits (Game physics at work)” reads the title for the latest clip taking the Starfield community by storm. A repost of footage from September 4, it shows them holding a desk organizer and using it to push credit chips into a laundry basket. They then carry the laundry basket around, full of 2,000 jangling space bucks, until they get to a safe spot in the kitchen where they can pick up the loot risk free. “Dude, I literally did the same thing yesterday,” wrote one commenter. “Gotta love Bethesda games.”
There was a lot of debate about why Starfield only runs at 30fps on Xbox Series X/S when other “next-gen” games are pushing performance modes that offer 60fps. I’m by no means a technical expert when it comes to game performance, but the sophisticated interplay of object physics and object permanence like this seems one good reason why. Perhaps most surprising of all, Starfield still manages to let fans indulge in their eccentric playstyles while rarely crashing or bugging out the way some past Bethesda games have.
It’s by no means a perfect game, but I can’t wait to see what players discover they can do next.