Did Starfield really just win the “Most Innovative Gameplay” award?

Xbox RPG Starfield wins a major accolade in the Steam Awards but the massive Bethesda game might not be deserving of it after all.

starfield steam awards 2024

Hype can be a dangerous element when it comes to fresh Xbox games, and Bethesda definitely conjured up plenty of it with its ambitious space RPG Starfield. Launching on current-gen hardware, Bethesda’s first new IP in 25 years isn’t a game to ignore completely. However, the tides continue to turn against Starfield as of late, and the recent rollout of the Steam Awards isn’t exactly helping the game curry favor with players – despite it actually being recognized with an award. 

The Steam Awards have just been dished out, and some of the winners are pretty interesting, to put it nicely. Alongside Red Dead Redemption 2‘s strange ‘Labor of Love Award’ win, as Rockstar Games abandoned major support for it last year, Starfield is apparently the king of ‘Most Innovative Gameplay’. While it may be one of the biggest RPG games of 2023, saying that Starfield is worthy of such an award is probably a bit of a stretch.

According to Steam, Starfield falls into this category because “the designers of this game are at the front lines of creative experimentation, bringing a fresh perspective and brain-breaking surprises. This game delighted, inspired and entertained with newness never played before.” However, what is important to be aware of is that the Steam Awards are fan-voted. Much like this similar situation with Spider-Man 2’s GOTY win, players across the world are chiming in with their own opinions, somehow beating out clear award contenders like 2023’s critical darling Baldur’s Gate 3.

Starfield steam awards most innovative gameplay award

What is even stranger is that the PC version of Starfield has been the subject of continuous review bombing on Steam, sending the game’s reputation into heavy disarray on the digital storefront. The general bad vibes around Starfield have certainly seeped into the Xbox player base too – especially as console folk like me don’t yet have Starfield mods to mess about with either.

Now, Starfield is far from a bad game in our opinion. The Loadout’s Starfield review shed light on the game’s enormous size and scope, but notes that “any pre-release predictions and hopes that it would be a genre and generation-defining game are, sadly, wide of the mark.” Nevertheless, on other fronts, this writer loves Starfield’s amazing optimism in the game’s story. It certainly makes up for the lackluster way of travelling around all the Starfield planets. Bethesda made a big deal about Starfield utilizing the brand-new Creation 2.0 engine, but any Skyrim or Fallout fan knows it still feels like something is off.

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It also has competition from other games like Cyberpunk 2077, which has massively changed since it debuted in 2020, thanks to huge gameplay overhauls and the well received Phantom Liberty expansion. Starfield is yet to release its first DLC, and Bethesda remains tight-lipped regarding its arrival. Despite that, it doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time in the stars. The list of the best Xbox Game Pass games keeps getting bigger, and you can see the amount of Xbox Game Pass value over the course of 2023 is absolutely astronomical. 

Still looking for more? While a good Starfield wiki can be a handy source of information, our new Starfield Database goes further, offering you daily news, searchable databanks, and even interactive tools like a New Atlantis map for exploration.