Strange Asteroids Haunting Starfield Players
Over the weekend, Starfield players started sharing reports of a strange paranormal infestation. There are asteroids in the game that, for reasons known only to the gods and/or programmers, follow you from orbit to orbit, eerily flying in formation with your spaceship and sometimes even accompanying you to the surface of a planet. « In one of my weirdest experiences with Bethesda, I have a small asteroid that has been following me for 30 hours, » posted user ReverendRoo on Reddit, triggering a flurry of comments reminiscent of UFO hunters tracking NASA sightings. « I catch glimpses of it every now and then, » wrote Fattfett. « I’ve tried to get closer to it but you can’t. It keeps its distance. I figured it has a deeper meaning [toward] the end of the game. » Some players, like Blackdius, have multiple trailing asteroids. They seem impossible to blow up. Below, I’ve unearthed a YouTube video of one of these sticky space rocks from a few weeks ago. As you can see, it’s not just a fixed background point like a screen artifact, but it appears to move in response to the player’s ship.
Memory Glitch or Deeper Significance?
The unromantic explanation for all this is that it’s some kind of memory glitch, potentially solvable by clearing your cache. You can also use Starfield console commands to purge your screen of the thing, as described by editor PhotogenicEwok in the ReverendRoo thread. « If you’re on PC, open the console, click on the rock, and type disable. Technically, this doesn’t remove the rock, it just makes it invisible and removes its collision, but that should do the trick for now. » But it’s entirely possible that the clinging asteroids in Starfield have some larger lore or plot significance – without giving too much away, the game’s NG+ options embrace the idea that anything and everything is happening if you run the simulation often enough. And in any case, it’s a great opportunity to quickly delve into the field of asteroid hauntology.
The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon
If we were to seek a strictly psychological explanation for the creeping space rocks in Starfield, we could invoke the frequency illusion, also known as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, which describes the tendency to notice something more after seeing it for the first time, leading to the belief that it is everywhere. Why do we become so obsessed? Perhaps because we are afraid of the object or entity in question. The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon gets its name from the mid-1990s in Germany when people started seeing a terrorist group everywhere after reading about them in the newspapers.
There are, of course, many reasons why people might fear asteroids: they are rogue debris that have the potential to crash into planets and wipe them clean of life. They are also a video game enemy of a certain vintage. In 1979’s Asteroids, you blast your way through screens of space rocks to the relentless sound of a Jaws-like chiptune theme. There are older literary precedents – on the one hand, stories about celestial impact like H.G. Wells’ « The Star, » and on the other hand, depictions of wandering planets in astrology, which were said to have a malign influence on human beings. Who knows, maybe all these stories and traditions have merged to create some kind of collective hallucination among Starfield players. Or maybe it’s just a bug.
Attached to Astral Stalkers
Many Starfield players affected by the invasive asteroid phenomenon find it irritating or unsettling, but a few have become emotionally attached to their strange astrogeological harassers. « I also have an asteroid friend, his name is Rocky, and he even comes to my outpost on Nesoi, » commented DadJokesGaming on Twix, earning exactly zero points for originality. If you also have an asteroid friend, I wish both of you the best. I’m sure there’s nothing sinister about it. Yet – and I’m sure it’s just my imagination playing tricks on me – is that asteroid getting closer?
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