There was always going to be a certain amount of jank when Starfield launched. It is, after all PC gaming in 2023 and practically every big launch has to have more than its fair share of bugs, crashes, or GPU blowouts. But as a Bethesda game there was always going to be more to it than that. And, while it's certainly not bug-free on other graphics cards, it seems that Intel's Arc GPUs are suffering more than most.
And that looks to be true even after the latest Intel graphics driver release. It has, however, still fixed "several Starfield game instability and visual artifacts" in this latest release, but the release notes (.pdf warning) point to some pretty significant problems still to be ironed out.
Intel has acknowledged this, and notes that "efforts in progress to further improve overall gaming experience of Starfield for Intel Arc users in future driver updates." We have reached out to Intel to see if it has any kind of time frame on a further hotfix, but it has said on Twitter/X that it is expecting another drop this week.
In order to facilitate the big fix for this release, namely shortening the load times of the game, Intel has increased the size of the driver package to "significantly reduce" load duration.
In terms of the key fixes for this driver, 126.96.36.19972, you can expect fixes for the following issues:
Starfield (DX12) Game load duration is significantly reduced.
Starfield (DX12) may experience instability and application crash while launching and during gameplay.
Starfield (DX12) may exhibit texture corruptions and scene flickers during gameplay.
But there are still a host of known Starfield issues its driver team is working through hopefully for an imminent update.
Starfield (DX12) may experience application instability in some areas of the game.
Starfield (DX12) may exhibit corruption when using Dynamic Resolution Scaling. A workaround is to change the Render Resolution Scale slider value.
Starfield (DX12) may exhibit texture flickering on light sources during gameplay.
Starfield (DX12) may exhibit low texture details on certain objects in the game.
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Currently, in order to get the best experience on Intel graphics cards, it is recommending users not to attempt to use anything higher than the High preset for graphics.
This is bad news for Intel and its driver team, which has been on a tour recently extolling the virtues of its latest GPU software updates and the performance improvements it has been able to wring out of its Arc A750 and Arc A770 graphics cards.
But it's also par for the course of anyone looking to get in on the graphics card game; Nvidia and AMD are no strangers to bricked drivers doing bad things to new games. And hey, at least Starfield isn't really out yet. It's all early access still, so these are early access issues for Intel.
I'm sure that insight makes everyone feel much better. You're welcome.