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Starfield's character creator seems to be inspired by genetic engineering

The sliders look like gel electrophoresis, a.k.a. sciencey stuff

We finally glimpsed our first look at some in-game footage from interstellar RPG Starfield at yesterday’s Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase, and it had the feel of a less retro Fallout 4. Everyone knows that the true heart of any RPG is the character creation screen though. It’s just science. Speaking of which, Starfield’s character creation menus are modelling themselves on some real-life science, namely molecular biology. That’s cool, I think.

Check in with Liam to find out the 10 biggest announcements from the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase.

So the sliders in Starfield’s character creator screens are based on a technique called gel electrophoresis. It’s used by molecular biologists to separate differently-sized large complex molecules such as DNA and proteins, by putting them in a gel and running an electric current across it. Here’s an explainer that does a much better, in-depth job than I can. The results make a very distinctive pattern and Bethesda have made use of that in Starfield, to indicate changes to things like hair colour, head shapes, eyes and skin tone.

I’ve worked in labs and I’m married to a molecular biologist, so it did raise a smile on my face to notice this scientific touch during the Starfield gameplay footage. It seems to have caused some nerdy excitement on the Starfield subreddit as well. To change your appearance later you’ll need to visit a genetics facility in-game, which adds to the genetically fiddly nature of the game’s character customisation. It’s interesting that Bethesda has styled the creator like this but also slightly off-putting at the same time, because of the ethical implications of messing with human genetics. Your mileage may vary.

Bethesda delayed Starfield last month from a November release date until 2023, along with Arkane Austin’s vampiric open-world co-op shooter Redfall. The company received some flack from former employees recently, who opened up to Kotaku with their experiences of crunch while working on Bethesda’s multiplayer RPG Fallout 76. Hopefully, Starfield’s delay is an indicator that they’re taking things easier in terms of crunch this time around.

Starfield will touch down on our planet at some point in 2023 on Steam, the Microsoft Store and via Game Pass for PC. It'll be on Xbox too, obvs. While you’re waiting for it to come out, why not check Rebecca’s guide to everything we know about Starfield?


Not E3 2022 is in full-swing - see everything in our E3 2022 hub, as well as our complete round-up of everything announced at Summer Game Fest 2022. Many more big game showcases and streams are still to come this summer, so make sure you stay up to date with our summer games stream schedule.

About the Author

CJ Wheeler avatar

CJ Wheeler

News Reporter

CJ used to write about steam locomotives but now covers Steam instead. Likes visual novels, most things with dungeons and/or crawling, and any shooter with a suitably chunky shotgun. He’s from Yorkshire, which means he’s legally obliged to enjoy a cup of tea and a nice sit down.

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