Bethesda may not add DLSS 3 to Starfield, but this modder will

Promotional screenshot of Starfield's story
(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

What you need to know

  • Earlier this week, AMD confirmed that it's the official PC partner and sponsor of Starfield, Bethesda's upcoming Xbox and PC exclusive sci-fi RPG epic.
  • This means that AMD is working closely with Bethesda to optimize the game's performance on AMD hardware and implement features like FidelityFX Super Resolution 2 upscaling in both the console and PC versions of the game.
  • One likely downside of this partnership is that Starfield might not have support for NVIDIA DLSS, including the 40 series GPU exclusive DLSS 3 and DLSS 2.
  • A well-known modder that's added unofficial DLSS to other games in the past has vowed to bring DLSS 3 and 2 to Starfield if Bethesda doesn't.

A popular modder known for adding upscaling features to games that don't support them officially has promised to bring DLSS 3 and DLSS 2 to Starfield if Bethesda doesn't.

This news comes after AMD's announcement earlier this week that it's the official PC partner and sponsor of Bethesda's highly anticipated sci-fi RPG. This was good news for Xbox players and users of AMD hardware like Ryzen CPUs and Radeon GPUs, as it means the manufacturer is working with Bethesda to optimize Starfield on systems built with them and add performance-improving FidelityFX Super Resolution 2 (FSR 2) upscaling to both the Xbox and PC versions of the game. However, PC gamers using NVIDIA GPUs are concerned that Bethesda might not add support for Team Green's Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) due to the partnership.

Notably, AMD's FSR 2 can be used by anyone — including folks with NVIDIA cards — so GeForce RTX fans won't be left out to dry if DLSS isn't supported. With that said, the image quality of DLSS 2 is generally superior in most games, making it many gamers' preferred upscaler. 

Also, DLSS 3, the latest version of the technology that's exclusive to 40 series RTX graphics cards, has a popular feature called frame generation. Frame generation uses Tensor Cores and an "Optical Flow Accelerator" to compare two native frames and then draw intermediate frames with that data. This feature has led to significant performance gains in a wide variety of titles, and since it doesn't call on the system's processor, it's particularly useful in CPU-intensive games (Starfield is very likely going to be one of those).

The aforementioned modder is named PureDark, and they've brought DLSS 3, DLSS 2, FSR 2, and/or Intel's Xe Super Sampling (XeSS) to several PC games, including Skyrim, Fallout 4, Elden Ring, Jedi Survivor, and The Last of Us Part 1. You can find some of PureDark's mods on their Nexus Mods page, though many of them are currently only available to subscribers on their Patreon.

PureDark says that they should be able to get DLSS 3 working in Bethesda's new game before the Starfield Early Access period ends, with an independent DLSS 2 version that users of 20 and 30 series NVIDIA RTX cards can use coming after "depending on the situation."

I actually use PureDark's upscaling mods for Skyrim, as my load order is full to bursting with tons of the best Skyrim PC mods and anything that can even slightly raise my FPS is helpful. They work great, and users of their DLSS implementations in other games have reported huge performance boosts there as well. I expect their mods for Starfield will be just as useful, though I still hope Bethesda adds DLSS support officially so there's no need for PureDark's expertise.

Starfield looks like it's going to be one of the best PC games of all time, offering RPG fans an experience that they'll be playing for years to come. Starfield preorders are live and available for Xbox and PC, as are Starfield-themed Xbox controllers and headsets.



Starfield boasts one of the most impressive, interactive worlds galaxies we've seen in gaming, but that level of sandbox freedom may come at the cost of performance. We'll have FSR 2 to counter that, and thanks to PureDark, we'll likely also have DLSS and even XeSS available as well.

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Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.