A group of modders behind the Starfield Community Patch have expressed their frustration with the game’s lack of mod support, which is inhibiting their attempts to fix the many bugs present in Bethesda’s space RPG. They go on to claim that modding does not appear to be a priority for Bethesda's latest RPG at all, despite the company’s support for and, to some extent, reliance on the modding community to adjust and improve their games.
The claims are made in a new report from Eurogamer, which delves into the curious project that is the Starfield Community Patch. More than just a group of enthusiast modders looking to fix Starfield’s problems, the Starfield Community Patch is specifically an effort to create an unofficial patching that is open source and community-owned. As explained by one of the patch’s founders, Timothy "Halgari" Baldridge, unofficial patches for Bethesda games have previously been “directly controlled by one or maybe two people" who have complete oversight over what bugs are fixed and what aren't.
Remarkably, SCP’s founders began planning the unofficial patch back in 2021. Having outsiders planning to patch your game two years in advance doesn’t seem to reflect well on your method of game development but Baldridge, as a software developer, is sympathetic toward Bethesda. "There are some times where you just say it’s going to take too long to fix that and we won’t make any money off it."
Where Baldridge's frustration stems from is that Bethesda hasn't made it easy for anyone else to fix Starfield either, because of the lack of mod support. For example, it took another modder who goes by the handle ElminsterAU over 400 hours to get a version of xEdit, a modding tool designed for Skyrim, working in Starfield.
Summarising his effort in the release, Elminster concluded that "modding capabilities were not a consideration in the development of the game engine up to now" and that "any existing modding capabilities appear to be incidental, stemming from the engine's legacy code base." Baldridge echoes Elminster's words. "The only reason we can mod it already is because we've modded the other games using the same engine and we know what to do. But a lot of stuff is really broken compared to the other games."
Bethesda also haven't been especially communicative on the issue either, with Baldridge stating that "Companies do talk, but Bethesda don't," adding. "You would think that a company that has 100,000 mods to download, that has petabytes of data for modding your game would [talk about it]."
It is odd that a company whose games are famed for their mod functionality would make mod support such a low priority. But let's face it, that isn't the only odd thing about Starfield. As Chris discusses in his PCG's review, its whole approach to space exploration is underwhelming, and many of its basic systems, like maps and inventory, just aren't up to standard. As for mod support, that's supposed to be coming early next year. But given what Starfield's unofficial patchers have said, it's going to be very interesting to see what shape mod support is in when it does, finally, arrive.