Can Arc GPU’s play the new Starfield? Sort of.

How did we get here

The A750, being a new architecture, is bound to have issues, but you would think some things shouldn’t happen. Intel released the Arc GPUs about a year ago and declared that they were concentrating on the most up-to-date processes first. This meant games running DX12 and the new AV1 encoder among other things. They admitted older APIs and processes would take time to ‘fill in’ and to many of us, that was okay.

I saw it as an opportunity to do some testing and make content, so the discovery process worked well for me. Newer titles run well, and as recently discovered, the AV1 encoder is amazing. Older titles running Direct X 11 or 9 had some issues, but that was expected. No one felt they needed to call Intel out on that because they told us what to expect. They reported, and we confirmed. Everything checked out fine.

Intel has released several driver updates over the year to improve running those older titles. Improvements have been seen in older games, especially the more popular ones, and even the upscale Xess is solid. Some games like Borderlands3 still suffer in DX11, though, and straight-up crash in DX12. Others, that have the option of DX11 or Vulkan, are abysmal. World War Z, for example, is horrible in DX11 and cannot access the option to run in Vulkan. Still, for the price, the Arc GPUs are a great buy.

There’s always a but,

There is this time, as well.

Starfield is a game that Bethesda has been working on for several years, and was known about when the ARC GPUs launched. Being a new title, it should be in the new GPU’s wheelhouse. No. The pre-release wouldn’t launch at all. For that matter, as of a week after launch, it wouldn’t start on some systems, including mine.

Try as I might, I can’t think of a good excuse for this. Furthermore, I can’t pin down who should be more at fault. Intel knew about the game and should have been ready for this release, but Bethesda has made comments that even newer hardware won’t be enough to run the game. I get not being able to run it well, but to even start the game?

This was supposed to be one of the most anticipated games to come from Bethesda in a decade and you tell us things like the ARC GPUs don’t even meet minimum specs. The card is a year old and compares to cards that are above your minimum specs. That doesn’t wash. Intel isn’t in the clear here either, though, this game wasn’t a secret, and it wasn’t some sort of indy project. This was a major project and should have been anticipated.

Does it work on Arc or not?

Luckily, Intel continues to work on drivers and we can play this game on our Arc GPUs. It’s not perfect, by any means. There are issues like changing the resolution and keeping a full screen. Or weird blue shading that happens when I change settings but I can play around with it. I shouldn’t have to, but it’s not the end of the world. It does take away from the immersion, though.

The graphics on the game are beautiful and the storyline begins to take shape a few hours into playing. Without some persistence, though, owners of Intel GPUs might not ever reach that point. I could understand if many simply walked away from it, especially for the price point. At this point, it’s an average experience, and if you are used to playing other games in that genre, like No Man’s Sky or Star Citizen, you may end up passing on it all together. I will tell you, though, that I was happy to get it working on the A750, I just don’t know how much of it I’ll be playing.

Link to the video is here

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