Starfield includes a bittersweet tribute to a long-time fan who never got to play the game.
App developer Alex Hay had been "following the [Starfield] project for years", but realized that the sci-fi adventure's final delay, announced earlier this year, likely meant he'd never get to play it.
"Bit gutted at the date reveal as I've been following this project for years and now it looks like I won't get to play it," Hay wrote on Reddit when the delay was confirmed.
"Was disappointed with the delay from November as I'd stopped treatment for my lung cancer (aged 35, never smoked) in September and was looking forward to it as a distraction.
"Now I'm under [end of life] care, being looked after by my parents, and playing my Xbox is a great form of escapism for me, but holding out another six months is unlikely so… enjoy it on my behalf"!
Just a month after Hay left this message, a follow-up was posted by a presumed friend of Alex who confirmed Hay had sadly died in March.
"In the last few months, he 100%'d Hogwarts Legacy, Elden Ring and put in more than 1000 hours into Rimworld on PC," Simon Roberts wrote. "We'd play COD Warzone and Escape from Tarkov. Basically, the guy loved games and was the kindest, funniest dude I know.
If there's anyone from Bethesda who would like to put him in Starfield or an [Elder Scrolls] game, feel free to reach out."
Whilst there was no public response from Bethesda, it seems someone did indeed reach out, as yesterday a fan who remembered Hay's post found a note from him within the game itself.
"To all my friends and fellow explorers," the note – which is entitled "Alex Hay's Note" – begins.
"I'm always with you, out there in the starfield. Love always, Alex Hay."
If that didn't make you well up a bit, you're made of stronger stuff than me. To see it for yourself in the game, check the right-hand side when you enter the Eye.
TRG's Editor-in-Chief Jake reckons "Starfield is a technically solid systems-heavy role-playing game that works well with a surprising degree of polish compared to previous Bethesda RPGs," but added that "despite this, Starfield has no sense of character and the story lacks impact".
Awarding it 4 stars out of 5 in our Starfield review, we praised its "endless amount of things to explore", deep skill system, and excellent starship combat, but thought its middling ground combat, patchy writing and "soulless" feel held it back from a 5/5 score.
If you're still not sure, don't forget that you can try Starfield yourself when it debuts on Xbox Game Pass. Only time will tell if it makes it to our best games on Game Pass list, though…