People getting upset over the nitty gritty elements in video games isn’t anything new. However, as it goes, it has now happened with Starfield, one of the most anticipated upcoming games. After a screenshot of the game’s title screen leaked before its September 1 launch, a row of discussions lit up in the gaming space. Many claim the main menu is bland, which in turn prompted a game dev to question Bethesda Softworks’ work ethics and the company replying back. Check out all the details here.
Starfield Start Screen and its Reception
On August 18, 2023, a few people who had access to Starfield shared pictures of the menu screen on X (formerly Twitter). In it, we saw the main UI composed of a fairly simple experience. This, in turn, sparked discussions from both sides of the gaming aisle.
While one set of gamers called the main menu lazy, the other side called it minimalistic and clean. The topic blew up further after Mark Kern, who formerly worked as the Team Lead for OG World Of Warcraft, and Producer on Diablo 2 and Starcraft, shared his two cents on Starfield’s title screen.
Kern claimed that Starfield’s main menu design feels rushed, giving the impression of a team that has either received a hasty shipping deadline or one ‘that didn’t care.’ He claimed that start screens are done at the end of development while the team finishes the core game. Furthermore, he stated that “It’s quite common for the start screen to completely change once the game is shipping or on patch 0.” As of writing this piece, the post has around 8.6 million views and has received a lot of infamy.
After the post received traction over the last few days, an X user tagged Pete Hines, the head of publishing at Bethesda. Sarcastically, the user asked the team to focus on the title screen. This prompted Hines to chime in and clear the air around the discussion.
Hines stated that the team at Bethesda created what they wanted and that the main menu of Starfield was one of the first things the team settled on. This debunked Mark Kern’s claims of the game being rushed. He further rebukes his claims, calling his posts unprofessional for a developer.
Why Jumping to Conclusions Just Yet is Wrong
While the title screen had already divided gamers, the heated discussion on X pushed them over the edge. While one side favors Kern’s claims, the other is against it. However, putting all the issues related to Starfield, including whether it will launch on PS5 aside, let’s talk about the title screen.
Historically, Bethesda’s games have always had a rather plain-looking UI. This started after Bethesda made Fallout 3, which had a power-armor helmet and uniform UI. Similarly, Skyrim and Fallout 4 followed a similar UI design, where the screen had the bare-minimum details and a uniform menu selection. It is clear that Bethesda continued that principle and used it for Starfield’s main menu. After all, why fix what isn’t broken?
At the same time, the title screen could use a dash of flair. As one user pointed out, Alien Isolation, a game by Creative Assembly, has a similar approach to the UI. However, the developers put various effects on the screen. For example – CRT effects and slight noise. This ensured that the screen didn’t look plain and had some personality.
This is not the first time we’ve seen a UI like this. Naughty Dog titles Last of Us and Uncharted 4 have a simple main menu screen. Similarly, titles like Ghost of Tsushima, Chrono Trigger, Elden Ring, and Dark Souls had them too.
However, the menu has never determined the quality of the game, as the titles mentioned above are great experiences. As such, jumping to conclusions about Starfield’s quality and questioning the developers’ work ethics from a single screenshot is a bit far-fetched.
Hopefully, we can move past this and wait for the game which is launching in two weeks. That should help in clearing any confusion. In the meantime, make sure to check out our Starfield Preload guide and get ready for it.