Aside from obvious comparisons in gameplay, exploration, and identity, Starfields and No Man’s Skys’ entire gameplay loop revolves around the exploration of hundreds of planets, factions, and new galaxies at the end of the game. At the end of No Man’s Sky, we, the player, emerge at the outer bounds of yet another galaxy, only to do everything all over again, and in Starfield’s case, you guessed it, it’s essentially a carbon copy.
Going into more detail, the theory behind the ending of Starfield is that the player walks through the light of Unity, reappearing or being reborn into a new reality identical to the one they are leaving behind. As Screenrant explains the ending, “at the end of Starfield the Starborn will usher the player character to walk into the light of the Unity, explaining that they’ll be reborn in another continuum.”
The game basically tells you to replay everything again and make different choices to be a new person. Although the entirety of the game is filled with questions, the answers are so hard to find that Starfield just buries them into new concepts and theories. And coming to the main idea, the ending of No Man’s Sky is also, in retrospect, identical to Starfield.
No Man’s Sky did this over 7 years ago, and although the game has seen many amazing updates, concepts, and new gameplay mechanics, this ending is the most disappointing piece of media in recent gaming memory. The fact that Starfield’s entire existence lived up to a ‘time loop’ ending is such a disgrace to the Bethesda than to the game itself.
Even Todd Howard had some interesting remarks on the game’s ending when conducting an interview with NPR, “he thinks some players might respond differently to the game’s ending, saying that it won’t provide the answer to every lingering question they could have.”
Needless to say, it is extremely disappointing seeing the build-up to such a long game was something that was executed perfectly by games like Dark Souls and Hollow Knight years ago.