2023 has turned out to be the year of Baldur's Gate 3, RPG-wise at least, and it's easy to forget that no-one expected it to be this way. Many including myself expected the biggest and best game of the year to be Bethesda's much-anticipated Starfield, the first new series from the studio in decades and its first singleplayer RPG since 2011's remarkable Skyrim, one of the most beloved games ever made—and one that has had a unique afterlife thanks to mods.
Skyrim is the most-modded game in history, with Nexus Mods hosting just shy of 130,000 mods across Skyrim and Skyrim: Special Edition. Given that Starfield was widely perceived to be "Skyrim in space", the expectation was that Starfield would see something similar, and indeed the game has already been the subject of over 6,000 mods. Whether it can sustain that mod-mentum is another matter, and a recent development in the Starfield modding community throws doubt on it.
One of the main creators behind Skyrim Together has announced, in pretty brutal language, that they've thrown in the towel on Starfield Together. To briefly explain, Skyrim Together is a mod that lets you play the whole game in co-op with up to 30 players, and it's really rather good. To give an idea of the scale of this thing, Skyrim Together Reborn (the definitive version of the mod) has over a million downloads, and the Skyrim Together project overall is a big enough mod that other creators make mods for it.
So hopes were high for Starfield Together. Alas: it looks like they are to be dashed.
Robbe Bryssinck goes by the handle Cosideci and is one of the coders that was working on Starfield Together. Was. Cosideci took to the mod's Discord channel today, however, to announce he was done with it in no uncertain terms.
"When the game released I was hyped, like a lot of people, but probably for different reasons," said Cosideci. "I spent launch day and a few days after reverse-engineering the game, and porting over gameplay hooks from Skyrim Together to a potential Starfield Together mod. I ported about 70% of Skyrim Together reversed code to Starfield Together.
"There was just one problem: this game is fucking trash."
Tell me what you really think. Cosideci adds "I didn't realize this until after I actually started playing the damn game a week after launch." He goes on to call it "boring," "bland", and says the big draw of Bethesda games is "exploration in a lively and handcrafted world" which is "completely gone" from Starfield.
Which makes his big announcement no real surprise: "I won't be continuing development on Starfield Together. I'm not gonna put my heart and soul into a mod for a game as mediocre as this."
Cosideci says that as they've done the work, they're going to upload the code as open source in case anyone else wants to finish it, though warns that "'finishing it' is probably still upwards of 100+ hours of work."
By the end of this I was almost wincing on Starfield's behalf. The TL;DR is even more of a drive-by murder. "I made a start on Starfield Together, but Starfield is ass, so I stopped working on it."
This is of course just one modder saying they don't like Starfield, albeit pretty definitively, and to be clear Cosideci was part of a bigger team on Skyrim Together: so while he's out with a bang, there may yet be some hope for a Starfield Together mod coded by someone else. But it does feel that, several months after launch, the mood music around Starfield is not great, and people are beginning to realise that maybe this isn't going to have the kind of afterlife that Skyrim did.
Cosideci's Discord post later found its way onto the Starfield subreddit, where the top comment from Boyahda seemed to land with a lot of the game's more dedicated fans: "I never considered that "the modders will fix the game" only works if modders want to fix the game."