Bethesda teases ‘all new ways of travelling’ coming to Starfield next year

Bethesda says some big changes are coming to Starfield in 2024 including ongoing quest fixes, support for FSR3 and XeSS, and—this is the big one—”all new ways of travelling” on your journey through the stars.

A small new update rolled out for Starfield today that fixes a crash issue during saves, clears up a problem with guns not spawning properly, and gets rid of “space clingons,” a glitch that saw rocks, forests, and other bits of space stuff follow players around wherever they went. It almost sounds like a shame having to bid farewell to the cute little asteroids who were following spacers around like lost puppies, but it was a game-breaking bug for some players, so best to see it gone.

All good news, but the more interesting bit came in a message Bethesda posted in the Starfield subreddit talking about its plans for 2024.

“We’ve been hard at work on many of the issues you’ve posted, and expect an update early next year that will include a large number of ‘in-progress’ quest fixes as well as FSR3 and XeSS,” Bethesda wrote. “Though we fixed several quest issues from occurring, in-progress quest fixes are much harder to fix and we’ve built a new system to correct those without you having to roll back your save.

“We’re also hard at work on many of [the] new features you asked for, from city maps, to mod support, to all new ways of travelling (stay tuned!). These will be rolling out with a regular cadence of fixes and updates we expect to have roughly every six weeks. If something can be done in a smaller hotfix in between (like the asteroid), and we feel it’s safe, we’ll get one of those out as well. Safe is the key here. We do take a lot of time to test even the smallest change in a game this large and dynamic.”

FSR3 and XeSS—that’s Intel’s upscaling tech—support will definitely be welcome, but I think the really intriguing tease in there is the promise of new ways to travel. Starfield is a game about exploring the cosmos, which as Douglas Adams once said is a really big place, but the game’s over-reliance on fast travel, as online editor Fraser Brown noted in September, makes it feel quite small. The only time you really get to go hands-on with your ship is when you’re in a fight: If you want to travel somewhere, your only option is to target a quest marker or activate your grav drive through the in-game menu, at which point you’re almost immediately taken to your destination. The net result, he wrote, is that Starfield “actually feels considerably smaller than its predecessors. This is not a game for explorers.”

The Slower Than Light mod released earlier this year enables players to fly seamlessly between planets in the same system, but aside from some technical issues it also puts a finger on the essential problem with real-time space travel: Space, as previously noted, is vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big, and flying through it in real time is slow and, sooner or later, extremely boring. I recall the first time I decided to see what was out there in the old space sim X2: The Threat: After a dull hour of cruising along a straight line I realized that what was out there was a whole lot of nothing. That’s obviously going to be a challenge for Bethesda to overcome: It’s easy enough to let Starfield players roam around in the black void of space, but giving them a good reason to do so is a whole different thing.

But that’s for 2024. For now, you can check out the very brief 1.8.88 patch notes below.

Gameplay:

  • Addressed an issue that would cause space matter to become stuck to player’s ship during space travel. Loading a save will now remove the space clingon. Please note: This fix should address any space matter being stuck in your travels, but not in instances where player ships have New Atlantis attached. A fix for that will be released in a later update.

Outpost:

  • Fixed an issue that prevents random guns from spawning in a newly created Weapon Case after loading a save.

Save/Load:

  • [MSS/Xbox] Fixed an issue where players could experience crashes while saving during long playthrough without going through the Unity.