A bug with Starfield's item system makes your game more likely to crash the longer you play it

Starfield screenshot in space
(Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios)

A fascinating yet disappointing Starfield bug has been discovered, which causes playthroughs to become more unstable the longer they go on.

Initially supported by our sister publication, PC Gamer, several modders have identified a flaw with Starfield's item system, which causes save states to become more likely to crash as time goes on.

It all boils down to something called dynamic form IDs. These are strings of data that Starfield uses to keep track of items in the game. As you move through the game's vast, lonely galaxy, you'll find yourself moving items around, taking gear off of deceased enemies, and leaving behind unwanted space junk. This creates more dynamic form IDs to keep track of what you've done with all your loot. The more there are, the more moving parts your save file has, and, as any coder will tell you, this means there are more ways it can crash. 

Were the game working properly, these IDs would recycle themselves every so often, keeping your save file clean. However, for whatever reason, this refresh doesn't trigger in Starfield as is, increasing the likelihood of a crash. 

There is a temporary solution. If you start a New Game Plus, you can refresh the game world, getting rid of the dynamic form ID bloat built up on your save.

However, it appears that developer Bethesda Studios has identified the issue and is working towards a solution.

Comment from r/Starfield

"The team is aware that some players have been experiencing increased crashing and instability in the late game. It's been a high priority, and I'm happy to report that there's a fix planned to address this for Xbox/Microsoft Store being included in our next update," reads the post from community manager CVH.

Though we don't yet know when this "next update" will be, it's reassuring to know that the development team is committed to making the fix. 

Want more immersive games? Our lists of the best RPGs and the best single-player games have what you need.

Cat Bussell
Staff Writer

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent. 

Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure. 

Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.