According to Microsoft Game Studios head Matt Booty, a man who presumably doesn't mind being haunted by his words, Starfield currently has fewer bugs than any previous Bethesda game has had at launch.
"We have an awful lot of people internally playing [Starfield]," Booty said on a Giant Bomb stream this week (via VGC). "Working with Todd and the team, I see bug counts and, just by the numbers, if it shipped today, this would have the fewest bugs any Bethesda game ever shipped with."
I love a statement like that. Booty's just talking about "the numbers," so even if turning your spaceship left erases your C: drive, he might technically be correct. But even if the statement is true in spirit, and Starfield has a relatively bug-free launch, Booty has set himself up to be quoted whenever so much as one inch of an object clips through another object.
I respect the bravery of making yourself the guy who said Starfield wouldn't be as buggy as other Bethesda games. Maybe it's just his way of collecting bug reports to pass on to Todd Howard and team, since you know every one of them is going to be tweeted at him?
Speaking of, has anyone sent Booty this still from a gif on the Starfield Steam page where the character's left hand has completely missed their gun's foregrip? Only a matter of time, I'm sure.
The statement also makes me wonder: Has Bethesda really logged the number of known bugs each of its games had at launch? If so, I'm desperate to see those numbers. (I assume Booty's just referring to Bethesda Game Studios as of Morrowind or so, and not Bethesda games in general, which date back to the '80s, because how many bugs could an Amiga game possibly have?)
I sort of appreciate the unpredictability of Bethesda's buggy open worlds at launch (remember when Skyrim giants launched you into the stratosphere?), but there's some major bug and bad port fatigue out there right now, and I'm not sure how good-humored players would be if Starfield had a Cyberpunk 2077-like launch.
I am inclined to believe it'll at least be better than that, based on what we've heard. Xbox head Phil Spencer was also on the Giant Bomb stream, and said that Microsoft has lent the game some serious QA muscle since it acquired Bethesda and pushed Starfield's release date back (perhaps only slightly exaggerating).
"Truth be told, when the acquisition closed, this game had a significantly earlier ship date than where we're actually launching it," said Spencer. "...So sitting down with Todd and the team, and explaining that we want to give this team the time—I think Matt [Booty] says we have every QA person in our entire company playing Starfield right now, looking at bug counts, looking at the quality of where we are."
If you want to see the full discussion, these quotes come from around 2:40:00 into Giant Bomb at Nite: Night 3. And here's our recap of Sunday's Starfield Direct, our first properly detailed look at the RPG, which'll be out on September 6 and apparently less buggy than usual. (But probably still pretty buggy if we're being real.)