Starfield’s Pronoun ‘Controversy’ Explained | Games Rants
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Starfield’s Pronoun ‘Controversy’ Explained | Games Rants

After a long wait filled with speculation about what the game could bring to Microsoft’s current offerings and its Xbox Game Pass selection, Starfield launched to multiple raving reviews – as well as mixed ones highlighting flaws and issues with Bethesda’s latest RPG. Still, many fans agree that the best thing about Starfield is the sheer amount of options for players to truly play however they want, as whatever character they want, and live some of the weirdest and greatest adventures in the galaxy. With the massive leaps forward in terms of customization and accessibility for games in modern times, it almost seems an oxymoron that Starfield would generate controversies for giving players more freedom of choice, and this time pronouns made some people furious.

Starfield‘s character customization screen is probably the deepest Bethesda has ever made with its RPGs, to the point that it sets a very high bar for The Elder Scrolls 6. Players can select one of many backgrounds for their characters, as well as otherwise very minor traits that do have gameplay functionalities, such as being introverted or extroverted. Among the myriad options for a given character’s appearance and general place in Starfield‘s world, players can also choose their avatar’s pronouns – which, to some, is making the game “woke” and “forcing an ideology” onto gamers.

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Why Starfield’s Use of Pronouns is Making Players Refund or Boycott the Game

Starfield UC security looking surprised

Making one’s pronouns known is sometimes referred to as “the LGBTQ+ agenda,” where real-life people or video game characters are supposedly trying to convert others. Not only is this notion absurd and completely alien to what most LGBTQIA+ individuals actually want, but it’s making the use of pronouns in video games a controversy – even when those pronouns are simply there to carry out their job, which is also Starfield‘s more practical case.

The fact that players can choose pronouns in Starfield is a good thing for representation, as it’s a very simple addition that’s often non-invasive and tucked away in a menu for spacefarers to change if they so wish. Case in point, Starfield‘s customization process can even be completed without ever touching the pronoun menu, as the game will automatically choose them for players when they first start making their character, but it still gives them the option to personalize their adventurer. Not only is this a positive change from past Bethesda RPGs, but it also has its in-game uses.

At times, Starfield will address the player character in third-person rather than first-person when two or more other characters are talking about the player’s avatar, and this is why choosing a character’s pronouns actually matters. As ridiculous as the notion that pronouns are woke is, they are meant to tell others how to address an individual, be it in real life or in a game. Starfield takes customization to the next level by making it all about total freedom, and this is reflected in gamers’ ability to define every single aspect of their characters and whatever gameplay experience ensues, including something as minor as how the game talks about the main character. Some playthroughs will see a space pirate protagonist who’s interested in blowing ships up, and others will see someone never fire a gun unless necessary and instead talk their way out of trouble.

This is why the actual RPG experience in Starfield is so important for the industry’s future. However, the game is being boycotted or refunded by those who feel Bethesda is trying to bring politics into a title, depriving them of their escapism or immersion. This approach also translates into little acceptance of diversity in Starfield, such as trans characters being seen as further “proof” of the game trying to shove a given ideology down players’ throats when it’s just something the game needs for some scenes to work. And beyond that bare-level definition of a pronoun, it enables even more choice for players to be who they are or want to be, which is apparently a bad thing to some folks.

Starfield launches September 6 for PC and Xbox Series X/S.

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