Starfield glitch sees players followed by rocks, forests, and the entire city of New Atlantis

 An image of a forest floating through space, magically attached to a ship in Starfield.
An image of a forest floating through space, magically attached to a ship in Starfield.

This has genuinely got to be one of the more baffling bugs I've seen in Starfield. It all starts with a few isolated incidents of players being followed by their own pet rocks—asteroids somehow bound to their ships. Here's a couple of examples from Reddit users ReverendRoo and Ultimastar.

While this seems a fun, isolated glitch, it's otherwise just a cute little bug. Annoying, but not game-breaking, and probably a quirk of the game's programming. Asteroids in Starfield are, as I understand it, just containers—so I can reasonably see a situation where a chest or something similar gets attached to your ship via code-based jank. No big deal.

Then Kotaku spotted a few more and, hoo boy. Not only are there more dramatic versions of the bug, it can sometimes just break your game. In order of escalation, then—user Same_Cardiologist_59 had an entire cave system start haunting their space travels.

An entire forest has been clinging telepathically to user Royal_Schedule4209's ride. That's an interesting way to terraform a planet, to be sure. Little hard to get through the UC's scanners, too—that clump of woodland could be carrying all sorts of invasive species.

These examples, however, take the Chunk's own-brand cake. User Punidue was followed by the whole City of New Atlantis. Just. The whole thing, floating in orbit. Either the UC's made some advanced forcefield tech, or thousands of innocent civilians just got spaced. They're not even alone in this, either—HotPlastic6 also encountered the same bug, while the aptly-named LoStInSpacc has full video footage of the phenomenon.

While you can potentially destroy these ghost towns with the same trick used to destroy asteroids—entering console commands, clicking on them, and typing 'disable'—you're out of luck if you wanted achievements.

If you don't have a save prior to the incident, it might even fully doom the city, as user drunkboarder writes: "If you go back to New Atlantis you'll notice you can fall through the ground in some places, all of the loose items in shops are missing, and the Trade Authority kiosk at the space port is missing." This isn't some distant mesh latching itself to the side of your hull—it's actually plucking out items, key objects, and geometry, too.

What's interesting to me is the link Punidue makes to The Key, the base of the Crimson Fleet, when explaining how the glitch happened: "I boarded a spacer ship, and jumped to The Key to register and modify it. I do so, exit dialogue with the vendor, and talk to her again because I wanted to change my home ship back to what I was using before. After that, the station got incredibly bright and I could not fast travel anywhere. So I got back to the docks, boarded my ship and bam, I was in a glitchy New Atlantis ready for take off."

Earlier this month, there was a similar bug where a player somehow managed to get The Key as a spaceship in their fleet. That happened, similarly, after the player registered a home ship, shortly after fencing a different one they'd stolen. The moral of the story? Crime doesn't pay, and it also might rip a whole city from the earth and doom your save.