Since the dramatic and exciting Starfield gameplay reveal trailer released back in 2022, it’s largely been radio silence from Bethesda in terms of revealing new details about the game.
However, one eagle-eyed gamer has just seemingly spotted a Starfield feature that has been hiding in plain sight ever since that gameplay trailer reveal—it’s just that hardly any gamers spotted it.
The discovery, which was posted in a thread on the Starfield subreddit, was made when the gamer just happened to spot that in one frame of the gameplay trailer you can see the option to ‘pickpocket’ an NPC.
During the early gameplay footage showing the player fighting a bunch of space pirates within a dark facility, one enemy runs up to the player and, just before they get killed, an option to pickpocket flashes up for a frame, with the player offered the chance to press the ‘A’ controller button to do so. Here’s a close up.
After that single frame the pirate is killed and the command quickly changes to the far more obvious to see ‘transfer’ option, indicating that the now deceased enemy can be looted.
It really is a blink and you’ll miss it moment, and with gamers’ attentions no doubt more hooked by the gunplay action that’s taking place, it is easy to see why so many people missed this.
I myself have watched that Starfield gameplay trailer multiple times already, and this pickpocket discovery had sailed over my head each and every time.
Now, should we be surprised that the new open world RPG from Bethesda, the developer of Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout 4 and Oblivion, has got a pickpocket mechanic? Probably not, as it has featured in all those games, and has often led to fun and memorable moments.
As PC Gamer writer Christopher Livingston has noted previously, pickpocketing a note from an assassin’s butt without him noticing in Oblivion is one of the greatest moments in PC gaming.
Also, I’ll never get tired of reverse pickpocketing live explosives onto unwary enemy NPCs. There’s something delightfully silly about that. Why simply shoot a baddie when you can slip a live grenade into his pants?
However, now I’ve seen this discovery, what I want to really know is if pickpocketing in Starfield is going to be a little more refined and less janky than in past Bethesda titles. For example, to start, I hope you are not going to be given the option to pickpocket someone as they are rushing towards you trying to cave your skull in, which is exactly what happens here.
The player crouches, shuffles around the corner into the room, and then the enemy—who is completely aware of him—rushes him, and as his body is being riddled with bullets by the player on the approach, he is then at the same time able to be pickpocketed by the player. That’s immersion breaking jank right there.
Also, for pickpocketing to be better in Starfield than past Bethesda open-world RPGs, we’re going to need a better, more refined stealth system. Again, from watching this gameplay trailer it gives me cause for concern as, despite the player crouching and slowly sneaking around the corner into the room, and the space pirates having both their backs to the player with no line of sight, as soon as the player enters the room they both automatically detect him and start attacking.
I don’t want to read too much into what is clearly a staged gameplay reveal trailer that is likely going to have dropped well over a year before the full game actually comes out, but these are valid questions to be asking. If Starfield is going to offer players the ability to pickpocket, I hope it is in sync with its gameplay systems and its immersion tonally.
I’m super excited for Starfield, like I’m sure millions of other gamers are, but for me it is the immersion and role playing aspect that appeals most. And if I’m able to, say, approach someone in a spacesuit who is totally aware of me and pickpocket their oxygen supply directly off their person, or slip a miniature nuke into their pants, then that immersion is going to be broken. Although, in the nuke’s case, it would be pretty darn funny.
Want to watch the Starfield gameplay trailer again to see for yourself? You can check it out directly below.