Starfield’s Black hairstyles are a small step in the right direction for Bethesda

Starfield character with locs
Image: Bethesda Softworks

Starfield has a decent array of Black hairstyles to choose from, which already puts it leagues ahead of Bethesda’s other flagship RPGs. Bethesda games like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls have historically provided a lackluster variety of options when it comes Black hair.

Every Black gamer knows all too well the struggle of trying to make a character that looks like themself, and Bethesda’s games typically are a big offender of this issue. Starfield’s marginally wider assortment of Black hairstyles mark a good start for inclusivity in Bethesda games, yet there are still some ways that hair variety can be improved.

Starfield’s Black hairstyles are better than Fallout’s

Fallout 4 character with short afro
Image: Bethesda Softworks

Upon my first foray into Starfield’s detailed character creator, I did what I always do, and made my way to the hairstyle selector to see what I was working with. To my surprise, I was greeted with a decent bit more options for Black characters compared to the standard buzzcut, cornrows, and afro. Of course, those hairstyles are all still here, though this time around, alongside two styles of locs, a temp fade, a Fresh Prince-esque high top, and some looser curl styles. Even the typical buzzcut has been revamped here with a decent fade and a clean lineup.

It’s worth noting that though Starfield provides more Black hair options than previous Bethesda games, what we’re given still only accounts for less than a fourth of the game’s forty-six hairstyles. The game’s selection of hairdos provides just enough for a lot of Black players to make a character that looks almost like them, but it doesn’t go further than that. At the very least, it’s a step up from Fallout 4’s limited assortment of six afros of varying sizes, which admittedly, is not hard to accomplish.

How Bethesda could improve Starfield’s Black hair options

Starfield character creation menu: woman with curly hair
Image: Bethesda Softworks

While I’m glad to see Bethesda putting in the effort this time around to include more hairstyles into one of the year’s biggest RPGs, there are definitely some ways that the developer could have gone above and beyond in this segment of character creation.

For context, a lot of the facial and body customization options offer multiple sliders, enabling you to fine-tune certain aspects of your character’s nose, eyes, etc. to get them to look exactly the way you envision. It would be a welcome addition for each hairstyle to have their own methods of fine tuning as well. For example, certain hairstyles could feature a length slider, have options for a left, right, middle, or no part, and potentially choices for the type of fade. These simple variations would allow for much more diversity in how you can approach making a Black character in Starfield.

For the Black hairstyles that are in Starfield, Bethesda has succeeded at making them look accurate, providing some much needed variety to the character creator. On the other hand, however, just adding a bit more personalization to them would make a world of a difference for Black players around the globe.

Starfield is out now for PC and Xbox Series X/S