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Starfield Isn’t Boring Actually, Bethesda Tells Steam Reviewers

The meta-narrative around Starfield just took a very weird turn. Steam reviews for the sprawling sci-fi RPG recently fell to “mixed” on Valve’s storefront, and now Bethesda employees are arguing with players in the comments about why the game isn’t as boring and soulless as some of them claim.

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Developer responses to some of Starfield’s most negative Steam reviews were recently spotted by X (formerly known as Twitter) user JuiceHead and shared online. These aren’t simply fact-checks or brief comments either, but multi-paragraph rebuttals that read like a potential Bethesda customer service person working off a script. “The story is as generic as it gets and the gameplay gets boring,” read one recent review posted on November 27 by a user who had amassed 75 hours of playtime. “I wish there was a reason to even bother exploring planets and building outposts. everything is fun until you do it once, then it’s all a repeating, soulless chore.”

Here was Bethesda’s response, which reads like the kind of peak corporate parody you’d find in an older Bethesda RPG:

Other responses are much more pointed, with Bethesda pushing back hard on criticism of Starfield’s 1,000 planet galaxy as “boring.” “We are sorry that you do not like landing on different planets and are finding many of them empty,” reads another customer service response. “Some of Starfield’s planets are meant to be empty by design—but that’s not boring.” The rep then quoted an interview director Todd Howard gave in which he mentioned that the moon is empty but astronauts weren’t bored when they landed on it.

Read more: Starfield Isn’t The Future Of Video Games, And That’s OkayBuy Starfield: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

Another Bethesda customer service response pushed back on a review critiquing the game’s many loading screens for how they interrupt space travel and exploration. “While there may be loading screens in between fast traveling, just consider the amount of data for the expansive gameplay that is procedurally generated to load flawlessly in under 3 seconds,” it reads. “We believe that shortcoming will not hinder our players from getting lost in the world we created.”

Steam reviews can make or break a game’s long-term success on the platform, especially if they dip into the dreaded “mixed” category with less than 70 percent positive feedback at which point the rating goes from blue to “danger zone” yellow. Starfield recently crossed that threshold in a rush of new sales ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. But it’s rare to see a studio actually push back against subjective assessments and basically tell users they’re playing the game wrong.

While far from a bad game, it’s clear the long-awaited space RPG from the makers of Fallout 3 and Skyrim hasn’t blown everyone away like some fans might have hoped. Kotaku’s own extensive review lays out both the good and the bad of the sprawling open-world game, and the lack of a Game of the Year nomination at Geoff Keighley’s Game Awards, followed by debates about shrinking concurrent player counts on Steam, have further complicated the narrative behind Xbox’s big 2023 console exclusive as something other than a runaway success.

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