Bethesda's upcoming space RPG Starfield has quietly removed support for the Russian language on its Steam listing. Due to this decision, Russian players cannot enjoy the game in their native language, nor audio or subtitles.
This is somewhat strange because previous Bethesda games, such as Fallout 4 and Skyrim, did provide support for Russian.
The change was noticed by PCGamesN by checking in the archive versions of Starfield on Steam. On April 4, Russian language support was available but by April 11 it was taken off. It is worth noting the change coincides with a backend update sent out by Microsoft-owned Bethesda.
The reason for this decision is unclear, but it may be related to the ongoing political situation between Russia and Ukraine. Russia has been accused of invading and occupying parts of Ukraine since 2014, and tensions have escalated recently with reports of troop movements and border clashes.
Some game developers and publishers have taken a stance against Russia's actions by suspending sales or removing content from their games in the region. Bethesda is a triple-A game studio that Microsoft bought for over $7 billion two years ago as part of its acquisition of ZeniMax Media.
Microsoft's Stance Against Russia
Starfield is an open-world space adventure game that takes place in a galaxy where players can visit 100s of planets. Development of the game has been difficult and it is expected to launch on September 6, 2023.
Microsoft has been one of the tech companies that has taken a tough approach against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. The company pulled its services from Russia and has been helping Ukraine with anti-cyber solutions to thwart Russian cyberattacks and cyberespionage.
However, the company has recently paid a $3 million settlement over selling software to sanctioned Russian companies, although all sales were before the 2021 invasion.
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