Those of you that haven't started New Game+ in Starfield yet might want to be careful, as there appears to be a bug causing crashes in long-running save files.
Who would have guessed it, Starfield has some annoying bugs that could possibly hamper your playthrough. This time, as reported by PCGamer, some players have found that playthroughs where they haven't opted to start New Game+ increasingly result in the game crashing. A popular Skyrim modder, wSkeever, actually noticed this bug last month, sharing what they'd found on the Starfield mods subreddit. At the time they noted that it was to do with the game's dynamic form ID generation logic.
Those are obviously some complicated sounding words, so thankfully a user on the main Starfield subreddit laid out what the issue is exactly. As they explain it, "dynamic forms are most of the in-game objects you encounter during your gameplay," pointing to examples like planets, points of interest, parts of your ship, crafting items. Basically, most things in the game. In previously Bethesda titles, since around 2007, the way that it typically used to work is that once these objects are no longer in use, "they get recycled/ despawned and the ID's that were designated to them get recycled/ reused for new objects you spawn in when crafting/building or exploring."
Except, in Starfield's case, that system is bugged currently. Instead of recycling the old ID's assigned to different objects, they just stay in the ID list on your save file, which is a problem considering how much that list gets added to every time you explore a new area. So your save file gets bloated with all those IDs, and that means the ID generation logic will run out of numbers it can use, and that will make crashes more and more likely, possibly eventually making your save file unplayable.
The bug is apparently pretty inconsistent, but generally occurs anywhere between 200-800 hours of playtime. Currently the only way to reset this is in New Game+, but obviously not every player will necessarily want to do that, so it's something Bethesda should probably address. Thankfully, it seems like a fix is on the way sometime this week, according to a community manager at Bethesda in the comments of the post explaining the issue.
In the meantime, maybe consider starting a New Game+, starting a completely new save, or possibly just putting the game down for a few days. Or just give up on it entirely, that's an option too.