‘Leaked’ Starfield image turns out to be AI-generated fake

another Reddit poster, whose proof is a clear, unedited version of the image which they credit to “Jessyplayford.”

The “leaked” image was made to look like a blurry off-screen photo—all good videogame leaks are snapped while jogging by someone's monitor—and the Jodie Foster-esque character looks kind of like a character who appeared in the 15-minute Starfield gameplay reveal last year. Aside from looking like it could be a genuine Starfield image, what made the fake leak somewhat convincing is that it didn't actually reveal anything. It's easy to accept that something's a leak if nothing of consequence was actually leaked.

This is surely only the start of a new kind of shenanigans, though. Making fake gaming leaks is an internet pastime—Half-Life 3 has been a particularly popular target—but it used to take a good amount of skill and effort to pull off something convincing. Now it takes little of either, meaning we could soon be inundated with this low-effort nonsense. That's right, I'm pining for the days when hoaxers had to really try to fool people, back when lying was an honest day's work!

We already had to approach internet media skeptically, but it was at least reasonable to sometimes think: “This must be real, because why would anyone put so much effort into faking it?” Not anymore. The other day, someone made it sound like Todd Howard promised hardcore sex in The Elder Scrolls 6 just for a laugh.

The fake Starfield image wasn't received very seriously, but plenty assumed it was real, and it lightly stirred up speculation about the game's release date. The original “leaker” claimed that Starfield will release in October, and obviously we can't take their word for anything, but I regret to say that I do think it's a good guess. Bethesda previously said that Starfield will release in the first half of this year, but it still hasn't announced a date for the showcase it promised. Smells like fall to me.

The original image used in the “leak,” which was supposedly generated by Midjourney. (Image credit: RuleOf72I/Jessyplayford)

I did discover some genuine Starfield details recently by going back and watching past interviews with Todd Howard and other developers. It's old stuff, obviously, but it was new to me. Did you know, for example, that you can have parents in Starfield, and you can visit them? Chris also recently broke down some convincing fan theories about what the main quest is going to entail.

I've contacted Bethesda to see if it has any comment on the image.