Starfield 'boundary reached' drama triggers debates about planetary exploration in other games

A Starfield character exploring a planet.
Credit: Bethesda.

A Starfield character exploring a planet.
Credit: Bethesda.

Most of the hardcore Bethesda RPG fans who’ve invested thousands of hours into Skyrim and Fallout 4 can't wait for the imminent release of Starfield.

Some have been passing the time until it arrives by getting ready to make some mods for the game, dissecting developer quotes about its silent protagonist, or just planning out how they’ll become the universe’s foremost sandwich-hoarding pirate.

Sadly, some have also been getting caught up in the numerous discourses that have surrounded aspects of the game that have been leaked, such as its main menu screen. The latest of these now has one group of fans debating whether the possibility of planetary exploration having limits might be a good thing.

Have you waded into the Boundary-based discourse that’s enveloped Starfield?

As Kotaku reported earlier this week, the discourse in question stemmed from some leaked Starfield gameplay videos that surfaced over the weekend. They seemingly demonstrate that the game’s planets aren’t singular open-world environments that players can explore seamlessly.

One of these videos shows a ten-minute time lapse of a player walking in one direction, before getting a message that reads “Boundary reached. Open the map to explore another region, or return to your ship."

While some of those currently playing the game have responded to the discourse suggesting that the leaked videos don’t paint an accurate picture of how exploration works in the game, debate has raged on as to whether the leaks contradict a tweet posted by Bethesda’s Pete Hines last week.

Now, in one Reddit thread, some fans have decided to weigh in by suggesting that their experiences playing space-themed games that do allow for seamless exploration of planets have led them to conclude that this wouldn’t necessarily be a good feature for Starfield to have.

“I know some people are upset at the possibility of not being able to explore an entire planet," wrote user BusinessBeetle in the post that kicked off the thread in question. They continue: “but, coming from someone who bought into Star Citizen, it's not all it's cracked up to be.”

They went on to say that seamless exploration was “impressive” at first, until “you realise it's pointless without content,” adding: “Going over endless, mostly unchanging terrain, soon turns monotonous. I get it might be nice to have the option [in Starfield], but for me, it's definitely not a deal breaker.”

Other fans in the thread seem to agree, having cited similar experiences with the exploratory freedom offered by the likes of Elite Dangerous and No Man’s Sky, leading them to believe they won’t be missing out on much if Starfield does break up its planetary exploration a bit.

Regardless of whether you’re desperate to be able to race VASCO around an entire lap of Mars, make sure to follow us for lots of guides to Starfield’s world and mechanics.

You can also check out our latest mods of the month for some impressive works for other Bethesda games that might help tide you over until it arrives.

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