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The nihilistic pillow banter and microtransactions in Starfield are exposed by the game’s ESRB rating



Whoa, that’s some serious jetpack fun

The ESRB has announced a rating for Bethesda’s upcoming science fiction role-playing game Starfield. It came as no surprise that it was rated M for Mature, but reading about the reasoning behind this decision has been entertaining today.

The ESRB provides both its letter grades and the rationale behind them as part of its rating procedure. Blood, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes, Drug Use, and Violence, as well as In-Game Purchases, are some of the content warnings. That last one might indicate downloadable content or cosmetics, but it could also raise concerns about microtransactions. Given Bethesda’s track record with RPGs, it’s not completely out of the question.

Anomaly in space

However, by reading the descriptions, we may get a feel for what the various content descriptors mean. Players murder their adversaries using “futuristic guns, lasers, axes, and explosives” while hearing regular “cries of pain” and explosions. Areas will portray blood around corpses, and certain attacks will apparently trigger blood-splatter effects.
However, let’s go right to the article’s meat and potatoes by discussing the “suggestive material.” Starfield has been rated M for “after sharing a bed with characters” and “suggestive material in dialogue” by the ESRB. Here are some sample lines they give:

Asexual transmission of a lethal disease: that’s life.

To paraphrase, “I’m all for getting a little wild, but next time let’s try it without the jetpacks.”
Wow, that was a real stargazing experience.
That first line is a little bleak, especially when taken together with the insinuation of jetpack-enabled depravity. I can just picture them thinking that, then lighting up and staring blankly into the horizon as they do so.
Strangely, neither physical nudity nor sexual material are mentioned in the ESRB’s rating. Post-game discussion appears likely, though it might not be as overt as it was in Cyberpunk 2077 or Dragon Age: Inquisition.

In addition, there is a fictional narcotic called “Aurora” that the player can purchase, steal, use, and even create. Some of the language they employ includes “fuck” and “bullshit.” Which, considering there could be space slam sessions powered by jetpacks, makes a lot of sense.

On September 6, 2023, Starfield will be available for purchase on PC and Xbox Series X|S. On June 11, following the Xbox Games Showcase, there will be a Starfield Direct where we should get some answers.

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