Although we found out about Starfield’s R18+ rating in Australia a while back, the ESRB – the ratings board in charge of video game classification in the USA, Canada and Mexico – has just published its rating for the game, and divulged some interesting new details in the process.
Starfield has been granted an M rating which, on the ESRB’s scale, positions the game as suitable for players 17 and above. It’s the highest rating before a strict “Adults Only” label, which is not all that unexpected in comparison to our own. The rating summary describes the expecting content, things like combat encounters with guns, explosions, blood splatter and all the rest. It also features swearing and some “suggestive” material in the dialogue, in particular some objectively hilarious pillow talk. Some of it seems pretty benign (if ill-advised), like “Talk about seeing stars, whew… that was amazing.”
Then you get things like “Life is a sexually transmitted disease that’s a hundred percent fatal,” or “I’m all for getting a little wild, but next time let’s try it without the jetpacks”. The usual sexy space talk.
The ESRB’s description also highlights a feature that could possibly have contributed to the Aussie R18+ sticker depending on the final context, explaining a fictional in-game drug called “Aurora” that players can steal or buy and take – which it says results in a distortion effect on-screen but is less clear on whether doing so has any other gameplay implications.
Finally, the addition of a bullet point on the ratings page mentions “In-Game Purchases” on both PC and Xbox Series X|S, which could be anything to do with extra digital goodies, DLC, the potential for paid Creation Club content or (hopefully) Horse Spacesuits.
Bethesda announced a couple of months ago that Starfield will be delayed from its original H1 2023 release window to a solid release date of September 6th, 2023.
It’s also been confirmed that we’ll get an extended look at the game in a special standalone Starfield Direct following the Xbox Games Showcase taking place on Monday, June 12th. Livestreams and in-person FanFest events are planned for both showcases, which you can find out more about right here.