It took eight months, but Starfield is finally getting proper surface maps in the RPG's largest update since launch

(Image credit: Bethesda)

It's been a long time coming, but Bethesda's enormous space-exploration RPG Starfield is finally getting an overhaul to its surface maps, after the ones it launched with left plenty to be desired. 

From launch, if you opened Starfield's map when in a city, you'd be greeted by nothing but a blue background covered in dots, with a few markers here and there in a lackluster attempt to point you in the right direction. Needless to say, the existing maps are hardly the most helpful things to look at if you're feeling lost, and players have been calling for changes ever since the RPG launched into early access. Thankfully, last December it was confirmed that this would be addressed, and Bethesda has now revealed that the updated surface maps are included as part of the game's massive May update, which is set to be the "largest update since launch." 

"We see a lot of feedback online that players really want a lot more utility and detail in our surface maps," art director Istvan Pely says in a new video detailing the update. "So, we took what's there, we blew it all up, and instead now we have a whole new aesthetic to the surface maps where you can see the terrain, all the detail on the terrain, trees, rocks, all the structures in the loading zone - it's a lot easier to navigate. 

"We've also made it easier to get around the cities. You can see markers for all the shops, the Enhance boutiques, restaurants. You name it, it's all there. It's a lot easier to get around."

In a blog post explaining the changes further, Bethesda adds that terrain markings replace the notorious surface dots, while the new markers in major cities also double as fast travel points to zip around even faster. It's a major upgrade, and should hopefully make exploring Starfield's vast worlds feel more approachable.

Starfield's May update is already playable via Steam beta, but for everyone else, the update will be rolled out on May 15, so there's not too long to wait. It also includes a 60 FPS performance mode on Xbox Series X, as well as the ability to buff your carrying capacity so you can hoard even more items. 

If you're looking for more games to dive into, be sure to check out our picks for the top 25 best RPGs.

Catherine Lewis
News Writer

I'm one of GamesRadar+'s news writers, who works alongside the rest of the news team to deliver cool gaming stories that we love. After spending more hours than I can count filling The University of Sheffield's student newspaper with Pokemon and indie game content, and picking up a degree in Journalism Studies, I started my career at GAMINGbible where I worked as a journalist for over a year and a half. I then became TechRadar Gaming's news writer, where I sourced stories and wrote about all sorts of intriguing topics. In my spare time, you're sure to find me on my Nintendo Switch or PS5 playing through story-driven RPGs like Xenoblade Chronicles and Persona 5 Royal, nuzlocking old Pokemon games, or going for a Victory Royale in Fortnite.