- One small aspect of Starfield actually holds a much deeper meaning.
- The narrative of Starfield emphasizes the vastness and unknowns of the universe, making the player feel small in comparison.
- Bethesda is known for including hidden meanings and metaphors in its games, and Starfield continues this tradition.
While Starfield has somewhat split audiences between those who think it’s an amazing space exploration title and those who find it underwhelming, it can’t be denied that there are numerous Easter eggs and hidden minor details that most miss upon the first playthrough. Indeed, there is a lot to do in the Settled Systems, so it’s easy to miss clues that give way to a deeper meaning and a more significant narrative. These clues can be hidden in random items strewn across the universe or via audio files that can be randomly found across the in-game worlds.
However, it might be surprising to learn that one hidden clue was revealed before Starfield was released to wide audiences on September 6, 2023. However, it’s a clue that most will likely miss until playing at least 20-30 hours of the campaign, and it shows that often, there’s more lurking below the surface of what Bethesda makes apparent. While it isn’t a game-changing feature or a story-breaking element, it is a fun nod to those who have invested enough time to make it to Starfield‘s end-game missions.
[Warning: The following article contains major spoilers for the main campaign in Starfield.]
The Starfield Logo Has A Deeper Meaning
While there were some discussions before the launch of Starfield about what some called a bland title screen, not much was said about the logo for the game. After all, from initial appearances, it looks like a typical video game logo, with the Starfield lettering and a circle graphic inside of the title. However, upon playing through the main Constellation missions, starting with “Into the Unknown” and culminating in “One Giant Leap,” it’s revealed that the Artifacts the protagonist has been collecting actually tie into a much more significant aspect of the universe with the revelation of the Starborn and Unity.
While it may seem a stretch, the loading animation, along with the logo itself, looks strikingly similar to an ouroboros, an ancient Greek and Egyptian symbol that depicts a snake or dragon eating its own tail. Metaphorically, it represents life’s cycle of destruction and re-creation, rebirth, and the shared unity of all things in the universe. “Unity” in Starfield is the process of traversing dimensions or universes and being reborn in a new realm. Mechanically, this starts New Game Plus in Starfield, resetting the character’s inventory and relationships. However, metaphorically, this represents rebirth, the cyclical nature of life, and treads into physics concepts like String theory.
In the same way, the logo and loading screen represent the eternal cycle of life, death, and rebirth, a major aspect in Starfield‘s New Game Plus and the protagonist’s ascension by entering Unity during the “One Giant Leap” quest at the end of the main campaign. In fact, it’s explained that there are innumerable dimensions, each with slightly varying events and people, further bolstering the concept of rebirth in the game’s universe. This can be experienced by beating the game’s main campaign multiple times, as small changes will occur through each subsequent playthrough.
Starfield’s Story Makes You Feel Small
During one emotionally visceral point in the game’s narrative, it’s possible that the protagonist loses their closest companion in Constellation at the hands of Starfield‘s The Hunter, a Starborn that embraces the random chaos of the universe and aims to collect the Artifacts for his own gain. This is arguably one of the most emotionally impactful scenes in the game; however, the despair quickly evaporates upon learning about Unity, as it’s revealed that the lost companion is also a Starborn called The Emissary.
While in some ways, it could be argued that this undercuts the emotion of losing the protagonist’s closest confidant, in other ways, it really puts the immense nature of all the unknowns in the universe onto center stage and highlights how trite faction disagreements have been up until this point in the game. Starfield does an excellent job of pulling in people and getting them emotionally invested in all the faction politics and personal relationships the game offers, just to reveal the much more important aspects of the narrative further into the story.
These are all concepts that are gleaned much later in the playthrough, making it virtually impossible for people to guess that the simple Starfield logo of a circle eating itself has a much more important meaning to the game’s overall narrative. While this is less of an Easter egg and more of a metaphor that ties into the greater themes of the Starfield narrative, it’s one that Bethesda hasn’t been shy to show off, knowing that those casually picking up the game will likely not realize this until much later, or never at all in some cases.
It Isn’t The First Time Bethesda Games Featured Hidden Meanings
Bethesda is known for hidden meanings in its games, with often the larger narrative arcs acting as metaphors for human behavior or inspired loosely by history. In fact, Starfield itself is filled to the brim with such references, from legitimate modern fears of climate change leading to an uninhabitable Earth to entire questlines dealing with corporate espionage. Different cultures and societies within the Settled Systems are largely based on real things magnified to fit the Starfield universe.
Past Bethesda games have also featured these themes within its stories, perhaps most notably Fallout‘s commentary on the results of unbridled capitalism in a devastated post-apocalyptic, pro-nuclear world. While some of these nods are more humorous, like Fallout 4‘s reference to the Saw franchise of movies, others can be more sobering. The effects of nuclear devastation on real-world monuments worldwide, civil war, and social impacts of economic inequality and racism are prominent themes in the Fallout and The Elder Scrolls franchises.
It would only make sense, then, that for its most grand adventure and setting — space, Bethesda would include even deeper meanings and metaphors within the game’s narrative. Rather than referencing human history or multimedia, Starfield manages to reference questions involving existence itself and conveys that message within one of the most simple logos for a video game ever.