OpinionVideo Games

Starfield Puts a Price on Human Life – and It’s Depressingly Cheap


One of the great parts about Bethesda games is that there’s often very few limits on what you can do in them, which often leads to hilariously odd things happening. For example, in Skyrim, players quickly discovered you could put buckets on the heads of merchants, allowing you to rob them with impunity. While you can’t do the exact same thing in Starfield, the game has its own quirks. The one I became obsessed with puts a literal value on human life, and as it turns out, life is kind of cheap in Starfield, at least relatively speaking.

In the months leading up to Starfield‘s release, players rightfully noted that the in-game economy has a weird scale problem, with 98 salami sandwiches equaling one spaceship. I decided to take things a step further. Killing a civilian on New Atlantis results in the player earning a 15000 credit bounty from the United Colonies, not including the 650 credit bounty the player earns for attacking a person. While this certainly isn’t no money, in terms of Starfield‘s economy, it’s a steal, especially since players can opt to surrender and just pay the bounty. When I first set foot on New Atlantis in the game’s first hour, I had around 4000 credits, which isn’t enough to cover a murder. Within another hour or two, though, I had 15000 credits without really trying. Money isn’t hard to come by in Starfield.

Earning a murder bounty in Starfield

To paraphrase a common saying, if the penalty for a crime is a fine, then the law only exists for the poor. An odd quirk of putting an exact value on human life that can be paid off to make the crime effectively go away is that it leads to people being able to calculate the relative value of that life as compared to other things in the universe. Let’s start with major, big ticket items you can buy. Without any upgrades, The Frontier, the first ship you get in the game, is valued at around 8119 credits, which is 54.13 percent of a human life. There are several ships available to buy that are worth significantly more than that. I also found a gun called the Ace Sidearm at a shop in the first area of New Atlantis called Jemison Mercantile. The gun cost 8994, or 59.96 percent of a human life.

Now, let’s get absolutely ridiculous. Jemison Mercantile sells blocks of cheese for 52 credits. According to the packaging, these blocks of bland-looking laboratory cheddar are 126.4 grams. In the Starfield universe, that means a human life is worth 288.46 blocks of cheese, or 36,461 grams. That’s approximately 80 pounds of cheese. To put that in perspective, the average American eats approximately 40.3 pounds of cheese per year, according to Statista. Human life, as it turns out, is worth slightly less than two years of cheese. A baguette also costs 52 credits, so yes. Your life in Starfield is worth less than 300 baguettes.

Cheese in Starfield

In terms of liquids, beer costs 147 credits. As such, a human life in Starfield is worth 102.04 beers. Finally, all of the fine caffeinated beverages at TerraBrew cost 75 credits. That means exactly 200 coffees are worth one human life. I have absolutely had more than 200 cups of coffee this year.

Well, there you have it. If I have to live with the knowledge that a human life is worth 80 pounds of cheese in the Starfield universe, you do, too. You’re welcome.

KEEP READING: Imagine Dragons Releases Celestial Starfield Song to Celebrate Launch

About the author

Liam Nolan
Liam Nolan is the Managing Editor of The Escapist. After getting his Master of Arts in English in 2016, he began writing about comics, television, movies, and video games, with his work appearing at such outlets as Marvel.com, CBR, and The Mary Sue. When he's not writing on pop culture, you can find Liam working on his creative projects or traveling. He's been with The Escapist since 2023. You can follow him on Twitter @LD_Nolan or on Bluesky @ldnolan.bsky.social.