An Australian rating for Starfield provides some insight into its content, painting it as a violent, drug-filled, sex-free experience.
Aside from the game itself being pushed back to September, Bethesda fans must wait another three months for any new Starfield information, since a dedicated showcase isn’t scheduled until June.
In the meantime, fans have to rely on age ratings for a smattering of new details. Although it’s yet to be rated here in the UK, Starfield has already been classified in Australia, earning itself a restricted 18+ rating – the highest one the Australian government can hand out.
The main reason for this is due to a copious amount of drug use, as well as a strong level of violence. Although, amusingly, Starfield will feature very little nudity and absolutely no sex whatsoever.
While this doesn’t necessarily rule out the possibility of the game featuring romance options similar to The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, it does mean you’re not going to see your character and some alien do the horizontal shuffle, à la Mass Effect.
Admittedly, this isn’t too surprising as Bethesda has always been more coy about depicting the act of sex than BioWare. It was only ever implied in the Fallout games (with characters laying robotically on a bed before things fade to black) and The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim didn’t feature it at all.
The high level of violence makes sense since the game will involve a lot of shooting, but the ‘high impact’ drug use may suggest that it’s fairly common throughout Starfield.
Perhaps you’ll have the option to take your drugs yourself or maybe it’s a major plot point for the story. Although it’s worth point out that the Australian government is peculiarly restrictive about perceived drug use in games, and has banned titles such as Saints Row 4 and Wasteland 3 in the past – despite them never being censored in other Western countries.
As ever, it’s bizarre how gung-ho video games can be about depicting drug use or extreme levels of violence and yet sexual content is still almost unknown.
America’s very prudish about this sort of thing and given how important a market it is, its cultural norms have always taken precedence.
No publisher wants a repeat of the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas’ ‘hot coffee’ scandal, which saw players discover an incomplete sex mini-game, which led to serious legal ramifications for Rockstar Games and Take-Two (and yet the mini-game somehow came back in the remaster).
Starfield launches for Xbox Series X/S and PC on September 6.
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