The Absence of Any Brightness Adjustment Setting in Starfield is a Concerning Slip on Accessibility

Accessibility impacts all of us but for some, the impact can be even greater.

by Gordon Bicker
Image of Starfield with characters gathered around a table in a room lit up by outside light-rays passing in through the windows.
Image: Bethesda Softworks

Starfield has breathtaking planets to discover around the galaxy and Bethesda Game Studios have yet again created a distinctive RPG that will be played by many for years to come. However, players with certain accessibility needs may not get to experience it in the same beautiful way as others and that is a worrying shame. Brightness sliders are simply non-existent in Starfield’s current settings.

Reddit threads have already appeared with people trying to find out where to adjust the brightness in Starfield and one commenter noted that their vision problems were “Beside the Point” but it isn’t beside the point, it is exactly why there should be some form of brightness adjustment in the game outside of the photo mode and it is strange there isn’t.

Related: Here’s Why Starfield Requires an SSD on PC

Considering the fact that Brightness, Contrast, and even Saturation are all in the photo mode like other missing settings, the back-end system is actually already in the game. Of course, they would likely need a good number of tweaks for implementation into the options menu to then transfer to gameplay but it is evidence that this possibly could have been added as a setting in some way.

Accessibility impacts all of us, ever used subtitles in a game? Then you’ve used an accessibility feature, likewise with any brightness setting. From research, it is known just how commonly used features for accessibility are. A report on UK game accessibility in 2020 also saw 15% of disabled respondents making use of contrast adjustment settings, for example.

Related: What Does “Calibrated” and “Refined” Mean in Starfield?

Ultimately, making a game takes a long time (Starfield itself was in production for over seven years) and there are an extreme number of factors that go into every decision about development. So the exclusion of brightness settings from the game’s options probably has its own legitimate reasons. Nonetheless, for those who genuinely need to use these settings to make the experience as playable as possible, the missing setting could feel like an oversight to them.

There are only a total of five accessibility features included in the main “Accessibility” setting menu at the moment. Bethesda Game Studios are industry masters at creating expansive and enjoyable titles and as more accessibility-focused design starts to ramp up further, it would be excellent to see some of the basic settings like brightness be included. For the time being, Starfield players have to make use of workarounds to adjust the brightness.

- This article was updated on September 1st, 2023

About The Author

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Gordon is a contributing writer for Attack of the Fanboy, a Games Design (BA) Honours student, and a Video Game Ambassador. He has been writing at AOTF for over a year and a half, with four years of games writing experience for outlets like Green Man Gaming. When he's not busy, he'll no doubt be experiencing games, writing poetry, playing guitar, adventuring, or happily starting a new Skyrim playthrough! As an avid Final Fantasy XIV player, he also hopes that you'll gain a warm feeling from his community stories. Gordon has reported on Fallout 4 and Destiny 2, whose favorite genres include action RPGs, MMORPG's and First Person Shooters but is always experimenting with many other types of games.