How buggy is Starfield? Somewhat, but definitely less than other Bethesda games

Starfield — a player character standing in front of an NPC guard, who's been left in their underwear by an unfortunate bug
(Image credit: Bethesda)

It's been a long wait, but for some of you it's nearly over. Starfield is launching today in certain regions for those who bought the Premium Edition or higher, with the full early access rollout happening across August 31 and September 1 ahead of the game's general September 6 launch.

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It's an exciting moment, but with a new Bethesda launch comes acknowledging Bethesda's track record of buggy games. It's part of their charm in a weird, roundabout way. The jank is to be expected and occasionally embraced, but as we've seen with launches like Fallout 76, it can hamper the experience right out of the gate. As senior editor Wes Fenlon wrote back in March: "If there's two things I know to be true in this world, it's that you can't make a Tomlette without breaking some Gregs, and you can't launch a Bethesda RPG without some pretty big bugs."

Thankfully, we've had seven space-faring PC Gamer editors who've been spending a ton of time with the game over the last few weeks. That's seven totally different rigs to experience Starfield and all of its strange little quirks, or lack thereof.

Here's how the game's been running for each of them, with a rating out of five for how the overall performance has been.

How buggy is Starfield? Seven PC Gamer editors weigh in

Morgan Park: Crashing problems

The Experts weigh in

(Image credit: Future)

Bugginess rating: 🐜🐜🐜

Running on: RTX 2080 Super, Intel i9-9900KS, 32GB RAM, Windows 10, 1080p

Morgan Park, Staff Writer: Starfield has not been what I'd consider a smooth ride. The game has crashed to desktop at least once during all of my sessions, and there's a fair bit of classic Bethesda jank. Some bugs are obvious, like a loading screen that takes eight times longer than usual or a character trying to say two lines at the same time, while others might just be quirky design decisions. Occasionally the bugs are pure entertainment, like the two boxes I watched fuse together into one box and then take flight into the atmosphere, never to be seen again.

Starfield is a buggy game, but if graded on the curve of only Bethesda RPGs, it's more stable than I expected. 

Starfield bugs — a dialogue sequence with an NPC, who's facing the wrong direction

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Chris Livingston: Pretty stable, but buggy

The Experts weigh in

PC Gamer team

(Image credit: Future)

Bugginess rating: 🐜🐜

Running on: RTX 4070 Ti, Intel i7-9700K, 16GB RAM, Windows 10

Chris Livingston, Features Producer: Most of the bugs were of the harmless variety. Initiate conversations with characters in mid-stride and they'll often continue walking, but slowly, weirdly, one step at a time. In every city there's a single security officer dressed only in underpants. Walking around the ocean-top city of Neon, a giant alien shark appeared on the streets instead of where it should be, 100 feet below in the water. In photo mode, Vasco would appear hovering outside my spaceship instead of inside. Stuff like that.

I had a couple bugs that made me reload old saves, like combat erupting during persuasion minigames, and I had occasional loading screens that lasted so long they seemed like crashes, but eventually recovered. I only had one crash to desktop in 90 hours, so unlike Morgan, Starfield to me feels pretty stable, a little buggy, and plenty janky.

Lauren Aitken: Jankier as it goes on

The Experts weigh in

Profile pic

(Image credit: Future)

Bugginess Rating: 🐜🐜🐜🐜

Running on: Intel i7-9700F, RTX 2070 Super, 32GB RAM, Windows 10, 1080p 

Lauren Aitken, Guides Editor: The longer I play, the more jank Starfield is becoming. I docked to visit Grandma, a delightful old lady who has some awful patter, and after depositing a little treat in the captain's locker, suddenly my gun whipped out and started firing indiscriminately. I couldn't put it away and accidentally shot dear old granny. Nightmarish stuff.

Aside from that, it's been a bit of a stuttering mess on my system, which is obvious given my GPU's age. It often freezes when aiming down sights and when I engage an NPC in some chat, they move their lips but the subtitles and audio take around 10 seconds to kick in. A lot of people don't have bodies anymore, just heads, hands and legs that aren't covered by clothes. My companion keeps leaping miles ahead in a really bizarre way. Basically, everything you'd expect from Bethesda bugs. 

Starfield — another guard NPC robbed of their clothes by a bug

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Robin Valentine: Less buggy than expected

The Experts weigh in

Robin Valentine

(Image credit: Future)

Bugginess Rating: 🐜🐜🐜

Running on: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, 32GB RAM, Nvidia Geforce RTX 3080, Windows 10, 1080p 

Robin Valentine, Senior Editor: As hubristic as it sounded at the time, Matt Booty of Microsoft might've been right when he said Starfield would have "the fewest bugs any Bethesda game ever shipped with"

It's a glitchy game, no doubt, especially relative to other AAA open world games. I've fallen through the world a few times now, and enemies seem to have similar trouble slipping inside the scenery. Coffee shop patrons seem to have taken to standing on tables instead of sitting at them, and NPCs sometimes turn murderously hostile while I'm in the middle of a persuasion check. But my experience hasn't been defined by bugs so far in the way that, say, my first couple of weeks with Fallout 3 were, and given the scope of the game the level of glitchiness here seems only proportional. 

I will say, though the game mostly feels functional, that doesn't mean it always feels finished. With some elements, I struggle to tell what's a bug and what's simply a half-baked feature working as intended. Enemy AI, for example, is so shockingly poor throughout that I wouldn't be confident saying whether moments where they stare blankly at me without firing, or run wildly from cover to cover without purpose, are bugs or simply an expression of their very limited set of behaviours. Similarly, I've run into a lot of quests where it's hard to tell if an important segment hasn't triggered properly, or if its odd gaps are just parts Bethesda didn't fill in. 

In other words, it's a lot less buggy than I expected, but that doesn't mean it ain't janky.

Sarah James: Mostly fine!

The Experts weigh in

profile photo

(Image credit: Future)


Running on: RTX 3070, Intel i7-12700K, 32GB RAM, Windows 11, 1440p

Sarah James, Guides Writer: Honestly, it's mostly been fine for me. I've had the game crash once, right when I died, but other than that, nothing that actually interrupts gameplay. The worst I've had—and this happens a lot—is that companions either stare at blank walls while you're searching through somewhere, or just get stuck behind tables or other objects when trying to keep up with you. Other NPCs tend to bug out too, like looking in the wrong direction when you talk to them.

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Ted Litchfield: Nothing too rough


Ted Lichfield

(Image credit: Future)


Running on: Intel i5-12600K, RTX 3070, 32GB RAM, Windows 11, 1440p 

Ted Litchfield, Associate Editor: Like Sarah, I too have been blessedly spared anything particularly rough in my Starfield playtime so far. My greatest struggles have been reserved to the Microsoft Store, outside the game itself. In Starfield, there's just been a little bit of that Gamebryo/Creation Engine jank, but man, at this point that feels like greeting an old friend.

My pathetic companions, bound to terra firma, quake with fear at the sight of my mighty Boost Pack, launching across moonscapes and getting caught on weird geometry in New Atlantis. Even without going all Boba Fett mode, I've found that I'll turn around and they've had a bit of trouble catching up with me. I've had a few frustrations with quest markers as well⁠—particularly when the game keeps directing me toward New Atlantis' public transit to reach areas I've yet to unlock for New Atlantis' public transit.

Tyler Colp: Nothing game breaking so far


Tyler Colp

(Image credit: Future)


Running on: i9 12900K, RTX 3080 Ti, 32GB RAM, Windows 11, 4K 

Tyler Colp, Associate Editor: I’ve put in several hours into the game and haven’t run into anything game-breaking. Funky dialogue scenes pop up here and there where characters won’t correctly turn to face you, but, honestly, I’d prefer that over having NPCs stare into my soul.

The worst bug I’ve had so far (which was more funny than broken) featured two characters in conversation with each other slowly sliding out of the room. I just stood there and watched them vibrate into outer space. It was kind of beautiful, honestly.

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.  

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