Starfield and SFs Earth Problem

"There is a problem with Science Fiction, and particularly Science Fiction Open World Games and the Earth. I look at how other popular serries and games handle it and then analyze Starfield’s approach

0:00 Introduction and the Earth proble"

In this video, Danny Raymond discusses the concept of the “Earth problem” in science fiction, which refers to the challenge of shifting the audience’s focus from Earth to other planets and stars. He gives examples from popular science fiction franchises like Star Wars, Star Trek, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where the Earth problem was handled differently.

When it comes to science fiction open world games, there is an additional Earth problem of players being too familiar with Earth. Raymond argues that in games like Microsoft Flight Simulator and Starfield, it is important for the Earth to be recognizable but not identical to the real world. While Microsoft Flight Simulator uses real-world satellite imagery, Starfield, a Bethesda game, struggles with making Earth look different from other locations in the game.

Raymond then critiques the official story of Earth in Starfield, pointing out its inconsistencies and lack of believability. He questions why billions of people would choose to die instead of building safe cities on Earth and finds it absurd that certain iconic buildings would survive while major cities disappear. He also challenges the idea that the disruption of Earth’s magnetic field would lead to total extermination, as there is evidence of life surviving such events in the past.

Towards the end of the game, a revised story is revealed, which attempts to explain the fate of Earth. However, Raymond finds this new story to be unsatisfactory as well, noting the unlikely success of a global cover-up conspiracy and the lack of credibility in connecting the invention of the gravity Drive to the destruction of the magnetosphere. Despite these flaws, Raymond acknowledges that overlooking the Earth problem is relatively easy and does not invalidate the overall game. The video ends with Raymond revealing the secret word for a contest.