Starfield has some of the worst post-sex dialog I've ever seen

Who is this guy?
(Image credit: Bethesda / Xbox)

Back in March, Australia's Classification Board let slip that there will be no knocking spaceboots in Starfield—and for those unfamiliar with the vernacular, that means no sex. But now the ESRB rating is up, and according to that, you will have the opportunity to play chesterfield rugby with various NPCs, and engage in some genuinely jaw-dropping dialog when it's over.

Australia rates games with a simple, colorful chart that breaks down various elements of content—violence, language, nudity, that sort of thing—over six arbitrarily-defined categories. The ESRB takes the opposite approach by describing a game's content with a big wall of text. Some of it, such as "Players use futuristic guns, lasers, axes, and explosives to kill enemies," is very mundane. Other bits are almost silly in the amount of detail they offer up.

"A fictional drug (Aurora) is prominent in the game, with a section involving players' characters working in an illicit drug lab," Starfield's ESRB rating states. "Players can also obtain Aurora by stealing or buying it from vendors (consuming Aurora results in a distortion effect on the screen)."

My favorite part of the rating, though, refers to sex. The ESRB rating indicates that there will not be nudity in Starfield, but there will be some "suggestive material" that will come up in dialog and "after sharing a bed with characters," and that pillow talk will include some real bangers:

  • "Life is a sexually transmitted disease that's 100% fatal."
  • "I'm all for getting a little wild, but next time let's try it without the jetpacks."
  • "Talk about seeing stars, whew... that was amazing."

Even by the admittedly low standards of sex in videogames, which if we're being honest we'd have to admit is generally awkward as hell, that is bad. I'm not sure it even qualifies as "suggestive," except to suggest that any and all NPC dialog is to be avoided at all costs if this is representative of the full game. I really hope it isn't, because, to borrow a phrase, "Whew! That was not amazing." Safe to say Starfield won't be making it on the best sex games list.

The ESRB rating also revealed something interesting about Starfield that will have a more practical impact on the game, at least for some players: The presence of "in-game purchases." There's no indication as to how that will work or what might be offered for sale, but it will presumably be cosmetic microtransactions of some sort. 

That might seem silly for a singleplayer game, where you're the only person who's going to see the extra-spend item in question, but let us not forget that Bethesda actually pioneered this sort of thing 17 years ago with the infamous horse armor in The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion—and despite all our opprobrium, in the end, horse armor won. I've reached out to Bethesda for more information on Starfield's in-game purchases and will update if I receive a reply.


Starfield factions: Find a cause to quest for
Starfield cities: See the big spaces in space
Starfield companions: Collect cosmic comrades
Starfield traits: Give your hero some history
Starfield ship customization: Make your spaceship special

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.