Bethesda's upcoming game, Starfield, has been the subject of much anticipation. However, a recent leak of the game's start menu on social media has ignited a flurry of opinions. The leaked image showcases a straightforward menu with options such as New Game, Load, Settings, Photo Gallery, Crew, and Quit, set against the backdrop of the Starfield logo and a sun peeking over a planet's horizon.
The controversy began when Mark Kern, a former team lead for the original World of Warcraft at Blizzard, tweeted the leaked image, suggesting that start screens can be indicative of a development team's rush or lack of pride in their work. Kern opined, “Starfield's start screen either shows hasty shipping deadlines by a passionate team overworked, or a team that didn't care.” He further added that start screens are typically finalized towards the end of game development, and teams that take pride in their work might redo them just before the game's release.
The physiognomy of start screens.
The start screen of a game can reveal a lot about how rushed the team was and how much pride they took in their work.
Starfield's start screen either shows hasty shipping deadlines by a passionate team overworked, or a team that didn't care. pic.twitter.com/Ok4gzQ3DVo
— Grummz (@Grummz) August 19, 2023
The gaming community was quick to respond. Many fans highlighted that Bethesda's previous blockbuster titles, such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 3, had similar start screens. They argued that it's not feasible to gauge a team's passion or dedication based solely on a game's start screen.
Pete Hines, Bethesda's head of publishing, didn't remain silent on the matter. Addressing Kern's comments, Hines stated, “Or they designed what they wanted and that's been our menu for years and was one of the first things we settled on.” He emphasized that while everyone is entitled to their opinions, questioning a developer's commitment based on personal preferences is “highly unprofessional coming from another ‘dev.'”
Or they designed what they wanted and that's been our menu for years and was one of the first things we settled on.
Having an opinion is one thing. Questioning out a developer's “care” because you would have done it different is highly unprofessional coming from another “dev”
— Pete Hines (@DCDeacon) August 20, 2023
Bethesda Now Revoking Early Access from Leakers
Starfield is set to launch on September 6, 2023, exclusively for Xbox and PC. However, some lucky reviewers and influencers have already received early access codes to the game, which were reportedly sent out two weeks before the release date.
While this may seem like a sign of confidence from Bethesda, it also comes with a risk of leaks and spoilers. According to a recent report from MSN, there are mixed reports about whether or not Bethesda is going after those who are leaking the game's content online.
Independent gaming news journalist Tyler McVicker reportedly had his early access revoked. However, this claim does not come from McVicker but rather @d3monWolf on Twitter. It is worth McVicker did not spoil the game but rather gave positive impressions. However, it seems his actions were enough to break the non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
On the other hand, some other sources have confirmed that Bethesda is indeed taking action against leakers. For instance, Forbes reported that Matt Frary, Senior Director of PR at Bethesda, tweeted that he was not happy about Starfield leaks and that he was working with the legal team to address them. Frary also urged fans to avoid spoilers and wait for the official launch.
It is unclear how widespread or severe the Starfield leaks are, and how much they may affect the game's reception and sales. Starfield is one of the most anticipated games of the year, and many fans are eager to explore its vast and immersive universe. However, some fans may also prefer to experience the game without any prior knowledge or expectations.