In Starfield, the sun literally doesn’t shine on AMD GPU users

If you’re playing Starfield on an AMD graphics card, there’s a good chance you’ve missed one of the most glaring bugs in the game, because you just won’t have seen anything. The AMD-sponsored Bethesda game simply doesn’t render a local star from any planet without an atmosphere on an AMD card.

And yet the stars will blaze away until the end of time on an Nvidia GPU.

We’re growing used to weird graphical bugs in modern PC games—whether it’s a case of too much eyebrow, or no eyebrows at all—but stars not shining in a game largely sold on space exploration, peculiarly on its sponsor’s cards, well, that’s downright bizarre.

It was highlighted in a recent reddit post, titled ‘Dear AMD Card User’ and explained the bug in simple terms on a Radeon RX 7900 XT. I’ve replicated the issue today, booting up the game on an RTX 4080 and on an RX 6950 XT. There’s a shining orb in the heavens on one and nothing but empty space on the other.

The reddit post goes on to suggest that it’s the same issue on planets with an atmosphere, where the game doesn’t actually render a sun, just a vague bright spot in the sky. But that just seems to be how Starfield is actually doing that planetside, as I’ve seen the same thing on both AMD and Nvidia cards on any rock, whether it’s just got a light atmosphere or a full class M atmosphere.

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Skybox on an RX 6950 XT (Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

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Skybox on an RTX 4080 (Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

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Skybox on an RX 6950 XT (Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

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Skybox on an RTX 4080 (Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

Your next upgrade

(Image credit: Future)

Best CPU for gaming: The top chips from Intel and AMD.
Best gaming motherboard: The right boards.
Best graphics card: Your perfect pixel-pusher awaits.
Best SSD for gaming: Get into the game ahead of the rest.

Why this is happening, I can’t tell you. I’ve reached out to AMD and it’s going to see if its GPU folk are aware of the issue and whether they might have a fix incoming. But as of right now, there is no mention of the bug in the known issues of the latest AMD drivers’ release notes.

Interestingly, despite ostensibly running on an AMD GPU, there is no suggestion that the Xbox version is having the same problem, as it looks like the game is rendering local stars on barren rocks without issue.

It’s not a game-breaking bug by any stretch, and is one of those things that probably wouldn’t annoy you until someone pointed it out (so, yeah, sorry about that), but it’s still an oddity for a game that has supposedly had “AMD engineers in our codebase” as Todd Howard assured us.

If it was a PC-specific issue, that also wouldn’t be that strange—a Bethesda PC port not having issues would be truly unprecedented—but the fact that it’s only on a certain vendor’s GPUs is, especially when that vendor was involved in the game prior to its launch.

Hopefully there’s a hotfix on the way soon, and the sun will once again shine on the Radeon faithful.

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