Hated on Starfield in a Steam review? You might get Bethesda telling you why you're wrong

The developer has taken the unusual step of replying directly to some reviews, and some gamers are even suspicious an AI is at work here.

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Starfield has caught some serious flak on Steam, suffering a number of negative reviews, particularly when the space RPG first emerged - and it seems Bethesda is now responding directly to some critiques from players.

As JuiceHead pointed out on X (formerly Twitter), there are developer responses to some reviews (from 'Bethesda_FalcoYamaoka') defending Starfield.

Examples include one review where the player complained about loading times in various respects, to which FalcoYamaoka replies:

"While there may be loading screens in between fast travelling, just consider the amount of data for the expansive gameplay that is procedurally generated to load flawlessly in under 3 seconds. We believe that shortcoming will not hinder our players from getting lost in the world we created."

Okay, so what's the problem here? Well, in fairness to Bethesda, we don't see anything wrong with defending the game as such, not in principle. Yes, it's unusual for a developer to take this step, certainly - in terms of replying to individual reviews, as opposed to a defense crafted via a blog post or similar.

However, it's the way this has been done which has rubbed PC gamers up the wrong way, and brought yet more criticism down on the developer, rather ironically.

The various replies feel spammy, with long canned sections pasted in, and some Steam denizens have even accused FalcoYamaoka of being an AI rather than a genuine (human) member of customer support. (Or rather, a human using an AI to generate these responses, more to the point).

We can see why - some of the wording feels a bit off and the phrasing isn't very natural, such as this:

"Try creating different characters with backgrounds and characteristics that clash or are oppositive of your previous character."

Oppositive? Who talks, or rather writes, like this?

Okay, we wouldn't want to jump to conclusions here by any means, but the way in which these replies are penned, and copy-and-pasted with some sections, really does not leave a good taste in the mouth. We can see where the accusations of this effectively being a customer support bot are coming from.

If you're going to leap onto Steam and address perceived failures pointed out in prominent reviews on Valve's platform, then do it properly without going anywhere near copy-and-paste for a start off, please.

Starfield has had mixed reviews on Steam, with 62% of opinions being positive in the last month. So over a third of the player base aren't happy, to look at it another way.

When the space RPG first came out, there were a lot more issues with it than there are now, mind you.

A major piece of fixing was getting Starfield performing as well as it should do on NVIDIA graphics cards, and also adding DLSS 3 support. The lack of DLSS was one of the big controversies around the launch of the game, as you may recall.

Still, responding to reviews on Steam individually in this clumsy manner really won't help Bethesda's cause, and already hasn't looking at the reaction to this whole episode online. It's hardly going to convince those reviewers to reevaluate their position, or anyone else, particularly because of the mentioned canned responses in parts of the replies.

At any rate, we suspect that Bethesda's FalcoYamaoka may not be posting on Steam for much longer.

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Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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