Starfield sleuth thinks they've debunked atmospheric flight, and they're pretty convincing

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(Image credit: Bethesda)

A determined Starfield fan has shared their theory explaining why atmospheric flight probably won't be a feature in Bethesda's upcoming RPG despite extensive Starfield ship customization and, well, color me convinced.

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(Image credit: Bethesda)

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Atmospheric flight is a pretty self-explanatory term that simply means flying through planetary atmospheres, and it sounds like you probably won't be able to do that in Starfield. After seeing the "debate" around the potential feature many times, Redditor DoradoPulido2 posted a pretty thorough debunking using screenshots pulled from official Starfield gameplay reveal. 

"It is all in the gameplay reveal," the Redditor writes. "Manually piloting your ship only takes place within orbital space in a star system. From there you can dogfight and board other ships/stations and interact with asteroid fields etc. and fly toward a planet, but travelling between star systems and landing on planets is going to be handled the old fashioned way; with loading screens."

Starfield isn't going to feature atmospheric flight. from r/Starfield

If you hit the jump on that Reddit conversation you can see the OP's full argument laid out with pictures, but essentially, the gameplay reveal shows that when you want to explore a star system or search out Starfield cities, you select one from Galaxy map, and then that zooms in on the solar system, from which you select a planet to survey. From there you can enter the planet and explore, but in-between there appears to be a good ol' fashioned loading screen - not a player-controlled flight through the planet's atmosphere and onto its surface.

"From there you can interact with your ship while it is landed on the planet, utilize its storage or crafting stations, walk around and explore the planet on foot. When you return to the ship to take off it will initiate another cinematic/loading screen and take you back to orbital space flight."

This is, of course, not even remotely official information from Bethesda. That said, unless we're missing some key footage from the gameplay reveal, this is likely spot-on. Bethesda itself has already confirmed that Starfield won't have completely seamless planetary landings, but technically it hasn't ruled out the possibility of flying around in planets' atmospheres in-between loading screens. This detailed fan theory, however, suggests that won't be in the game.

Starfield is just one of many upcoming Xbox Series X games to look forward to.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.