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Starfield’s ship building still threatens to produce the most cursed crafts in sci-fi

Flight of fugly

A mech-shaped ship constructed with Starfield's ship builder.
Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios

Of the many Starfield elements deep-dove into during the Xbox Games Showcase's Starfield Direct, the ship building was one that we’d previously seen a decent amount of. Yet it also cemented, in quite gleeful fashion, the design tool’s potential as a foundry for some truly wretched space boats. Just, awful. Consider my interest renewed as a result.

Like the personal background options in Starfield’s character creator, there is a utility slant to hammering together your ship: adding or extending different modules will add or extend its capabilities, like making room for more crew members or installing a modding bay. To some, getting the most out of their ship while keeping it pleasantly proportioned may serve as a satisfying challenge. To others, it is sure to be ignored in favour of just slamming modules together like poorly sorted Lego, producing atrocious spacecraft that would be the envy of any bored Kerbal Space program streamer.

Was Starfield worth the wait? Liam and Alice B discuss this question - and more - in the video above.Watch on YouTube

Bethesda even leaned into this themselves, with Starfield Direct showcasing some of their own terrible ships. There was the (somehow spaceworthy) Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robot you see above, for example, while a geometrically baffling letterbox-shaped vessel was briefly visible on a monitor. One dev confessed to designing her ships like animals, revealing one nicknamed "The Platypus". For its resemblance to the eastern Australian, partially aquatic mammal, the platypus.

(Hearing this snapped something in my brain too, as every glimpse of the ship builder UI began offering visions of more hideous animal-inspired creations. That habitat module for stuffing your crewmates in? It slots in between the nose and the main hull, so is perfect for a design based on that cat with a shaved neck.)

Basically, if Starfield is not immediately followed by a flood of ridiculous spaceship shitposts, I will be beyond amazed. The modularity and disregard for physics that this building system entails should take us well beyond the hackneyed joke builds that gaming’s less flexible DIY tools usually churn out – anyone who just makes their ship into a penis, say, has a mind even narrower than their choice of fuselage.

NotE3 and Summer Game Fest 2023 is over for another year. You can find out all the latest news by visiting our E3 2023 hub, or you can catch up with our round-up posts of everything that was announced at Summer Game Fest, the Xbox Games Showcase, the PC Gaming Show, Day Of The Devs, and our top highlights from the Wholesome Direct.

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