April 24, 2024

Starfield Fans Call for UI Consistency

Highlights

  • Starfield fans are frustrated with the game’s inconsistent user interface, with many criticizing its menu design and overall UI experience.
  • Complaints about the UI issues have been raised even before the game’s launch and have continued post-release.
  • Some fans argue that while the game’s compact HUD is well-designed, Bethesda still struggles with menu consistency, and it’s unlikely that a substantial menu overhaul will happen without mods.


Hundreds of Starfield fans have recently taken online to bemoan the game’s inconsistent user interface. Their complaints encapsulate a lot of the recent criticism aimed at Starfield not breaking with Bethesda’s traditions where it should.

While the galaxy-spanning RPG has so far proven to be a huge hit, its success arrived in spite of the fact that its menu design and overall UI experience leave much to be desired. That turn of events is far from surprising, as some players were raising grievances about Starfield’s UI since before the game even launched.

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The complaints continued post-release, having most recently yielded a popular discussion about some of the game’s most egregious UI idiosyncrasies that hit the front page of the r/Starfield subreddit. The discussion was started by Reddit user Iron_Juice, who outlined 10 different key pairs for cycling through the RPG’s menu options on PC, depending on the exact screen. The cheat sheet prompted some fans to criticize the game’s UI design, positing that it’s ludicrous how an action as simple as moving left and right in a menu would even warrant a guide.

Other fans used the post as an opportunity to point out the game’s other command inconsistencies, such as the fact that the Tab key is normally used for opening the overview menu, except in ship combat, when it brings up the pause screen. Another frequently cited source of frustrations for the players has to do with the default heal command, which is 0 on foot and O while piloting a ship, with those two keys being easy to mistake for each other. The consensus among the complainers is that Starfield prevents players from developing any sort of UI muscle memory, thus forcing them to spend a needlessly long amount of time navigating its wildly differing menus.

Some fans labeled the game’s lacking UI as particularly disappointing relative to Starfield’s compact HUD that doesn’t get in the way of enjoyment and successfully blends form and function. According to those opinions, the game’s HUD proves that Bethesda has the chops to deliver some modern interfaces, even if it’s still struggling with menu consistency. Granted, a heads-up display isn’t something that players interact with directly, which makes it inherently easier to design than something like an inventory interface.

While Bethesda’s track record indicates that Starfield will receive dozens of patches over the coming years, it also suggests the game won’t get treated to a substantial menu overhaul. Some of its PC command inconsistencies can already be fixed by simply rebinding keys, but intuitive behaviors like pressing Escape to fully exit a multi-layered menu are so far only available to players who mod Starfield.

Starfield is available now on PC and Xbox Series X/S.

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