Exploring the cosmos in Starfield has delivered some amazing sights – from planets emerging above the horizon and bizarre alien creatures called Hunting Brain Cages, to really cool weapons and badass armor. I've spent ages admiring the detailing in each and every ship module, taking countless screenshots of NPCs just going about their day in New Atlantis or the fluorescent-lit Neon. But, for me, the piece de resistance in Starfield is the doors.
Now, you might think I've left my marbles on some distant planet at this stage, but hear me out. Starfield is a game that's all about exploring, so the amount of time you'll spend lurking in abandoned warehouses, swanky office blocks, and on your spaceship is lengthy. I'm over 60 hours in now and only a few missions through the main story. Because of that, you're going to find yourself moving through a lot of doors in Starfield, and the attention that the team at Bethesda Studios has clearly put into every airlock, ship dock, vent panel, and more is genuinely staggering.
Take the ship doors for example. Your first ship, the Frontier, has an impeccable range of doors within its humble structure. You'll initially find a humble hatch to access the ship, but even that has a satisfying rotating cog and swoosh of air to invite you in. And then, the circular door to the cockpit is just something else, with all the hydraulic levers and moving parts making the entrance to that viewing deck even more grand and monumental every time.
I've enjoyed that sensation so much it's taken over my ship-building experience. I've lost entire evenings to making ships, and I'm still on a quest to find the very best flow of workshops, crew quarters, a cool captain's area, and, more importantly, hecking good doors. By that I mean I've spent far too much time tweaking my ship's layout with the ship's services technician at many spaceports, and then running back to my ship to test how it feels to physically walk through the ship, moving through the different levels via ladder and swinging open every single door to check it feels natural. I've even turned back and closed doors behind me just to see my crew or companions move through the doors too. Yes, I am aware I have a problem – but I'm also a huge fan of building in The Sims 4, so it tracks doesn't it?
Of course, the team has a history of good doors, so maybe this won't come as a surprise to you. Fallout's iconic vault doors have always had such a physicality to them, that it doesn't take much to transfer that design ideology over to Bethesda Studios' first space RPG. But, it's just how far those design aesthetics extend that I find fascinating. There are no boring, run-of-the-mill doors in Starfield.
Surface building airlock doors for example are huge, heavy-duty affairs, with massive handles that look like you'd need to invest in strength to move. They feature displays that let you know what they're doing before they swing back into the airlock neatly beside you. Bathroom doors squeak open as they concertina against the wall, other doorways see the partition split in half to let you through like a sci-fi western. There are even special doors that you have to cut open with your cutter, which is satisfying in a way only games like Tearaway can be.
It's not often in a game that I relish having to open a door rather than automatically blasting through them. Starfield isn't a game you can rush, and neither is its exploration, so I hope you all take time to enjoy the detailing in every hatch, dock, and other entranceway. There might be a loading screen on the other side, but at least the journey to it has been impressive.