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Reddit may have just solved the mystery of Earth’s destruction in Starfield

The question of how the Earth was destroyed and why it was abandoned may have just been answered thanks to a discovery on Reddit.

Reddit may have just solved the mystery of Earth’s destruction in Starfield

Of all the worlds in Starfield, none are more interesting than the abandoned planet of Starfield’s Earth. What happened to the Earth? Well, thanks to one Redditor’s discovery of a globe model of the Earth, we now have a good indicator of what made humanity abandon the Earth: floods, deserts, and radiation.

During the Starfield Direct showcase – a “deep-dive” on Starfield’s gameplay and mechanics – Bethesda showcased the outpost building mechanic. This also gave us an idea of what decorations players can install in their bases. As discovered by Redditor Sdejo, among those decorations was a globe of the Earth.

The globe model showed the Earth in a transitory state between the Earth we know as of the year 2023, and the Earth in its post-apocalyptic state as of 2330. This model likely depicts the Earth prior to or during humanity’s migration to the planet Jemison, where colonists founded the city of New Atlantis in 2161. Unfortunately, we can only see North and South America on the model, so it is hard to see what may have happened elsewhere.

Screenshot of the Starfield Earth globe model.

By 2330 – the year in which the player character begins in Starfield – the Earth appears completely brown, barren, and without water, as you can see in the galaxy-view of the Sol system below.

Screenshot of Starfield's Earth as seen in the game year 2330.


This gives us a rough timeline of the Earth’s demise, though this is heavy speculation on our part. We think the timeline goes something like this:

  • The ice caps melted, and the water level rose to the point where swathes of South America – particularly the Amazon Rainforest – flooded. The image discovered by Redditor Sdejo is quite blurry, but it appears portions of Canada are similarly underwater.
  • As the water rose, temperatures soared, resulting in vast tracts of land becoming barren. On the model, most of South America appears to be a desert, and the west of North America appears to be the same.
  • With the land becoming a desert and flooding wiping out cities, it is very likely that humanity fled the Earth due in part to a lack of space.

On this globe, Brazil got rid of a good part of its rainforest. Also, either ice is reaching California or Canada is a desert
by u/Sdejo in Starfield

Other environmental factors could have further afflicted the Earth, though they are somewhat more theoretical:

  • Redditor Littleman88 pointed out that the ozone layer could have completely collapsed, which, because of ultraviolet radiation, could lead to water molecules breaking down into hydrogen and potentially leaving the planet forever. It would take a considerable amount of time, but it is possible in an apocalyptic scenario.
  • If indeed the ozone layer did dissipate, either because of chemicals released by humans on Starfield’s version of Earth or a massive solar flare, the amount of ultraviolet radiation bombarding the planet could wipe out all biological life.

The result of this speculative deterioration is a planet without life, without water, without resources (as much of it will have already been mined), and a planet experiencing such heavy UV ray levels that standing outside without protection would burn you.

What remains unclear is why humanity never returned – an idea that Will Shen and others at Bethesda have so far implied. You as the player can set up an outpost on any number of planets and locations throughout Starfield, and wear equipment to protect you against any environment. As such, surely someone would return to Earth? For study or archeology?

For this reason, though Bethesda have not officially confirmed it, it seems likely that you will be able to set foot on the Earth. It only remains to be seen what other factors resulted in humanity abandoning their home. Fortunately, with Redditors like Sdejo keeping a keen eye out for clues, those mysteries will soon be revealed. So, make sure to follow Starfield Db on Google News for those updates, and check out our full equipment and weapons databases so you can tool up your character in preparation for visiting the Earth.