Starfield rating details reveals drug use, awkward sex talk

'Talk about seeing stars, whew… that was amazing.'
starfield bethesda video games game releases september 2023

Bethesda’s highly anticipated RPG Starfield has been rated ‘Mature 17+’ by the ESRB ratings board in the United States, with an official listing that reveals plenty of details about the game’s depiction of drug use, and dialogue related to sci-fi sex.

In early 2023, the game was rated ‘Restricted 18+’ in Australia due to the high impact of its depiction of drug use – although details weren’t available until now. As in past Bethesda games, it appears this drug use has been flagged by ratings boards worldwide as it relates to in-game incentives.

‘A fictional drug (Aurora) is prominent in the game, with a section involving players’ characters working in an illicit drug lab,’ the ESRB details. ‘Players can also obtain Aurora by stealing or buying it from vendors (consuming Aurora results in a distortion effect on the screen).’

Aurora appears to be an essential item in the game, and while its effects weren’t detailed, its high value and prominence in the storyline suggests it’ll be intrinsic to gameplay functionality.

Read: Starfield gets R18+ rating in Australia, thanks to drug use

In addition to detailing the game’s use of fictional space drugs, the ESRB listing has also revealed select ‘suggestive’ dialogue options that will play after ‘sharing a bed’ with another character.

It appears sex will not be explicit in the game, although you will be able to say any of the following lines, after the act:

  • ‘Life is a sexually transmitted disease that’s a hundred percent fatal.’
  • ‘I’m all for getting a little wild, but next time let’s try it without the jetpacks.’
  • ‘Talk about seeing stars, whew… that was amazing.’

In context, it’s likely this dialogue will make more sense – but for now, it remains an intriguing oddity.

Elsewhere in the Starfield ESRB rating, a brief reference to ‘in-game purchases’ has been spotted – but given past Bethesda titles have also been flagged with this rating for their inclusion of downloadable content (DLC), there isn’t too much to worry about yet, in terms of potential microtransactions.

As we head towards the launch of Starfield on 6 September 2023, expect to hear more about the game’s content, and where that strange pillow talk will pop up.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.