Classic Bethesda bug sees Starfield crew members riding on the outside of your ship in deep space

Two images: A Fallout 4 NPC on a roof and Starfield NPCs on a ship.
(Image credit: Bethesda)

"We could make a safer, less buggy, less risky game if we wanted to" harrumphed Pete Hines last week, talking about Starfield while claiming Bethesda's reputation for buggy games is undeserved. But, you see, that reputation is deserved and that's why we love them. A wise friend once observed to me that everyone talks about Skyrim in terms of grand adventure and epic storytelling, whereas for him it was a game about fly-tipping cows down mountains and watching the physics scramble to cope.

With Starfield now in the wild, players are discovering that it is not really the galactic exploration extravaganza some expected but, in fact, a bit of a Bethesda game: You can steal an elite spacesuit early thanks to a gap in the scenery and combat erupts during persuasion minigames. But redditor sloppenheimer420 has found my favourite bug so far, and it's a classic. I've seen this in many Bethesda games and especially in Fallout 4. They couldn't find the crew on their spaceship, then decided to use the game's photo mode to take a picture of their craft. And…

Couldn’t find all my crew… decided to take a photo of my new ship aaaaaaand….. from r/Starfield

Yep, Bethesda NPCs are still a special breed, and what this instantly brought to mind is Fallout 4's settlements. I spent a bunch of time in that game trying to build a nice settlement, and when I visited would discover everyone and their Brahmin walking around on the roofs. It's nice to know that, even in the far future, it just works.

This is far from the only bug players are regularly encountering on their ships, with the robot companion Vasco seemingly particularly error-prone. "Vasco is the buggiest NPC in my ship," notes Low-Pomagranate-5229. "Sometimes he's folded in a walkway and get past him so I shoot him until he de-spawns and appears elsewhere on my ship." Vasco is a robot that's supposed to be stored in an external bay on your ship, but as Underdogg13 notes "most of the time for me tho he's just bugged out and floating above my cockpit lol."

It apparently gets even better, with player Dastari noting: "I had several people on the party ship float out through the ship and could see them outside." Hey, space walking is a thing. I wonder, given that this particular bug has heritage, whether it'll ever be fixed or just something that lingers on and on… because that's the thing about Bethesda's bugs. Images like these, with human beings literally chilling on the outside of a spaceship, encapsulate everything I love about Bethesda games.


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Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."