Starfield is just days away from launch and ahead of that the Bethesda RPG has seen several leaks. Copies of the game are currently in the hands of select reviewers and even some players who obtained it illegally, before sharing a plethora of screenshots and gameplay videos online. One such clip that’s now causing concern for fans about Starfield’s scope was first leaked on a Chinese forum, over the weekend, which suggested that a player could run non-stop in one direction for 40 minutes, before being met with a ‘Boundary Reached’ message. The videos have since been removed, though players are now questioning the legitimacy of developer Bethesda’s claims.
Bethesda’s Head of Publishing Pete Hines, who’s apparently played Starfield for a minimum of 130 hours, responded to a fan’s tweet asking if players would be able to explore entire planets. He responded with, “Yup, if you want. Walk on, brave explorer.” As the aforementioned leak came pouring in, the comment was met with numerous fans accusing the studio of lying about the game’s depth in exploration. While many have been defending the game by saying that the Boundary Reached message is from the tutorial segment of the game, some game journalists who’ve been reviewing it have also begun vaguely pushing back against complainers. “This is actually not entirely accurate,” Windows Central’s Jez Corden said on X (formerly, Twitter). “Just wait for the reviews. The half-truths being spread are being done in bad faith sometimes.”
You guys probably already saw this screenshot flying around & people saying “You cant explore planets, bethesda lied!”. Guys, There is nothing stopping you from exploring the planet. It just may be a loading screen or you may have to land at the next spot (a short loading or… pic.twitter.com/Qq161IZ9Dl
— Darrius Fears (@TheRealDfea) August 26, 2023
It certainly doesn’t help that during June’s Starfield Direct presentation, game director Todd Howard claimed that players could select any spot on an unknown planet and land there, causing many to believe that exploration would be seamless — akin to No Man’s Sky, where planetary beings, vegetation, and conditions are procedurally generated. However, in Starfield’s case, this could mean that planets are seamlessly explorable in chunks. Even if we consider that the leaked clip/ image wasn’t from the tutorial segment and look at the ‘Boundary Reached’ menu that pops up on the screen, we’re presented with three options. You can fast-travel back to your ship, press cancel and walk around until an invisible wall halts you, or you can ‘Open Planet Map’ to explore another region on the map.
This indicates that exploration on the planet isn’t necessarily over and that you could certainly land at any given point of the map and explore, before eventually hitting that roadblock — where I’m assuming the game is unable to continue loading the area in real-time. A lot of this discourse will surely be cleared once the reviews are out on August 31, which will undoubtedly touch upon the exploration mechanic since that’s been one of Bethesda’s key selling points. Expectations for Starfield are extremely high, with the developer continuously touting its massive size, in addition to new information about a Jail system and the debate about it being locked to 30fps on consoles.