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Starfield's pillow talk will make me swear a vow of space-celibacy

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Standing in an alien temple in a Starfield screenshot.
Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios

I hereby vow for all the world to see that when Starfield launches in September, I will do my damndest to avoid having any sex at all in Bethesda's spacefaring RPG. The North American ratings board have detailed the types of content which earned the game a Mature 17+ rating, including "suggestive material" in dialogue "after sharing a bed with characters". Oh no. The listing includes several examples of post-coital pillow talk, and they are about sexy as you would expect from the studio whose dialogue is best known for inadvertently spawning memes about mudcrabs and knee injuries.

To be clear: Liam did not know about this unsexy dialogue when he declared Starfield one of our most-anticipated games of the yearWatch on YouTube

Along with warning about the usual moral depravities of a Bethesda RPG—weapons, killing, blood, drugs, and stealing—the ESRB's Starfield listing reveals:

The game contains some suggestive material in the dialogue, and after sharing a bed with characters (e.g., "Life is a sexually transmitted disease that's a hundred percent fatal"; "I'm all for getting a little wild, but next time let's try it without the jetpacks"; "Talk about seeing stars, whew... that was amazing.")

And. I know we can't judge an entire game from three out-of-context examples. And. Sex certainly can be silly. But. I just. Don't want any of that from a Bethesda RPG. Ever. I will live in fear of accidentally having spacesex because I wasn't paying attention to my party when I rested. And when I figure out which galactic edgelord vomits up that "life is a sexually transmitted disease" line, they're immediately going out the airlock, just to be safe.

And yet, my brain is a nightmare machine tuned to create things that make me unhappy. So I offer the following as examples to encourage Bethesda to hire me for more horrible post-coital quips:

  • "I think we can call the Big Bang more than a theory!"
  • "And they say that in space, no one can hear you scream..."
  • "It's not the size of your leap for a man, it's the size of your leap for mankind"
  • "Whew! Where did you learn that slingshot maneuver?"
  • "Love is like a black hole: full of mystery and wonder, and bound to destroy you"
  • "Call me Zarathustra, the way you hit those bong-bongs"

It's not that I think all video games should steer clear of sexiness and sexy sex, it's that so many games are so deeply unsexy. And unsexy sex is more than a missed opportunity to engage with another facet of adult life, its presence is so awkward that these games would be stronger if they pretended they had never even heard of this Earth thing called 'kissing'. I am at least thankful that Starfield's rating only mentions dialogue and not sex cutscenes, which almost certainly means the RPG has none (The Witcher 3's listing, for comparison, makes quite clear that it does). I dread to imagine how unsexy a sex cutscene would be in a Bethesda RPG. Though having said that, I would be fascinated to see it.

I am now picturing a tattooed nude spacebabe T-posing through a table, causing a bowl of space-sweetcakes to erupt with such simulated physics force that they spend five minutes going plr-plr-plt-plt-plt-plrr-plt-plt in a corner while the table slowly judders across the room until it clips through the bulkhead and enters orbit. "What was that?" asks the nude spacebabe, drawing a giant bazookoid from nowhere then turning to walk forcefully against a locker. Ah damn it, yes I do want to see that. I very much want to see that.

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