Why Starfield needs invisible walls and the ‘boundary reached’ message

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Starfield’s launch is practically imminent though, in the build up to one of the most anticipated games of the decade, fans are already concerned about leaks suggesting it will feature invisible walls and planet boundaries. Here’s why you should actually be glad that the game might have physical limitations.

The leaks circulated on an online forum, before it was taken down from YouTube by ZeniMax Media. However, in the hours that it was online – the entire Starfield community was shaken by the planet boundary drama. There’s a mass of Reddit threads perforating the community, while X (formerly Twitter) also has a wealth of argument and bickering relating to the controversial issue.

The leak claims that after walking 30 or 40 minutes in Starfield, the player will be met by an invisible wall and error message stating that you need to explore another area. It’s not verified whether or not this leak can be believed – in fact, it’s entirely possible that the leaker was still in a tutorial zone or was limited by a specific quest line. Until the game’s early access launch we’re not really going to know, though we’re secretly hoping Starfield actually does feature invisible walls and planet boundaries.

First off, to clear the air, one of the main reasons that the Starfield community is worried about the invisible walls is due to its immersion breaking error message. The reality is that had the game needed to erect planet boundaries, the terrain could easily have acted as a physical barrier. Invisible walls on the other hand look slightly absurd when your character bumps into them, and then an error message interrupting the flow of the game isn’t exactly pretty either.

These issues with the game’s immersion are valid, however they’re a necessary evil.

Take No Man’s Sky, for example, which was the centre of a dark controversy. Hype and expectations were misplaced, and upon the game’s release players found out that the near infinite procedurally generated space was not really that fun to explore. This led to death threats being thrown at the developers, though they doubled down on updates and gameplay fixes.

While Starfield and No Man’s Sky aren’t the same game at all – Bethesda’s latest title could run the risk of emulating the other’s issues. While Starfield is packaged as a space exploration game, its DNA is as an RPG. Like Skyrim and Fallout before it, Starfield’s world is going to be carefully curated and creatively envisioned. We already know that the developers are leaving no stone unturned, so we can really expect there to be a heightened attention to detail here. As a role-playing game, each location should really have something to compel the player towards it. Procedurally generated locations simply wouldn’t have this, nor would it have been feasible for each planet to be fully explorable. News that 90% of the 1000+ planets in Starfield will have no life may have upset some, though it keeps the game grounded in reality.

Starfield’s alleged planet boundary reached’ message may infuriate some, but it’s going to play a huge part in focusing the narrative of the game, and also keeping the player on the right path.

About the Author

Amaar Chowdhury

Amaar loves retro hardware and boring games with more words than action. So, he writes about them daily.