As Starfield’s release date looms closer, fans of Bethesda‘s RPGs are eagerly awaiting the chance to explore the vast and uncharted depths of space in the studio’s first new franchise in 25 years. While delays have left players waiting longer than expected, it also suggests that the studio is taking its time to ensure that the final product isn’t released with thousands of bugs, but only a few hundred.
Bethesda has been steadily feeding us information about the game’s features and mechanics. Fans are poring over every detail in anticipation of what promises to be an epic open-world space adventure. Or in Todd Howard’s words, “Skyrim in space”.
Will Starfield offer players an unprecedently vast, open world—or dare I say, open universe to explore the mysteries of the cosmos? Will Starfield feature alien races, power struggles, space politics?! Whatever the game has in store, one thing is certain: Starfield is shaping up to be one of the most hotly anticipated games of the year, and fans of Bethesda’s RPGs are counting down the days until they can finally take to the stars and explore this exciting new universe. So without further ado, here’s absolutely everything you need to know about Starfield.
During the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase in 2022, fans got a tantalizing glimpse of Starfield’s character customization system. While a range of alien races, droids and robots were on display, it seems that players will be limited to customizing their human characters. But don’t worry – Bethesda has promised that this will be their most flexible character creation system yet.
Underneath something called the Biometric ID tab, players will find a selection of 14 character presets. Each of these models comes with a personal record number, which can be used to identify your character in the game.
Under the Body tab, you’ll be presented with a circular grid with three fixed points: muscular, thin, and heavy. By moving the dot around the grid, players can define their character’s musculature, weight, and body structure. This allows for a high degree of customization, and ensures that no two characters will look the same.
Moving on to the Face tab, players will be able to adjust their character’s complexion, eyes, head shape, hair, and hair color using the usual sliders. While we didn’t see many details about this tab during the showcase, it’s clear that Bethesda is going the extra mile to ensure that players have as much control as possible over their character’s appearance.
But that’s not all. Bethesda has revealed that it will utilize a technique from molecular biology called gel electrophoresis to visualize changes to your character’s appearance.
In addition to this innovative feature, players will also have the opportunity to choose from three different backgrounds for their characters. These backgrounds will determine their starting skills, and provide a foundation upon which to build your character’s abilities and strengths.
To further customize your character, players can select up to three optional traits that offer a balance of positive and negative effects. These traits will allow you to personalize your character and create a unique playstyle that suits your preferences and play-style.
With its blend of sci-fi and fantasy elements, Starfield has been described as “NASA-punk“, with nods to iconic classic sci-fi franchises like Star Trek and modern games like Mass Effect.
The game’s backstory is set in the year 2330, in a region of the Milky Way known as “The Settled Systems”. This area, which spans around 50 light years in diameter around our own solar system, has been partially colonized by humans. However, the peace in this region was disrupted around 20 years prior to the game’s beginning, when a brutal civil war broke out between two factions: the United Colonies and the Freestar Collective. While the Settled Systems are now in a period of uneasy peace, the aftermath of the conflict continues to cast a long shadow over the region.
Despite this backdrop of conflict, the game’s main plot centers around a different type of quest: the search for answers to humanity’s biggest questions about the universe. The game’s trailers have hinted at a grand journey of exploration, as players embark on an epic quest to discover the mysteries of the cosmos. Some speculate that this could include a search for signs of intelligent life beyond our own planet, as players grapple with the fundamental questions of existence and humanity’s place in the universe.
Yet, while the game’s main premise is intriguing enough, hints from Director Todd Howard suggest that there may be more to the story than meets the eye. Footage from Not-E3 2022 has revealed that players will be on the hunt for mysterious artifacts that have emerged from an unknown source. While this trope may seem familiar to sci-fi fans, the tantalizing hints suggest that there may be a deeper twist to the game’s storyline. What lies at the heart of these artifacts, and what secrets will they reveal about the universe and humanity’s place within it? Needless to say, I can hardly wait to get my hands on this game and start exploring.
While Bethesda has yet to officially attach the phrase “open-world” to their upcoming space epic Starfield, the company’s official website is dropping plenty of hints that the game will offer players a vast and sprawling sandbox universe to explore. With promises of “unparalleled freedom” and an “epic journey” to undertake, it’s clear that Starfield is aiming to give players a massive, open-ended adventure that they can tackle on their own terms.
In fact, if the hype is to be believed, Starfield will take the concept of open-worlds to a whole new level, with the game’s developers boasting that there will be over 1,000 explorable planets situated in over 100 different star systems. While we’ve only seen glimpses of a handful of these planets so far, there is plenty of speculation that each one will offer its own unique challenges and rewards for players to discover.
Of course, with such a massive game universe to create, there are bound to be logistical challenges, and some planets will undoubtedly end up feeling more fleshed-out than others. However, with the return of base building, a popular feature from Fallout 4, players will have plenty of opportunities to make their mark on the universe, even on the more barren and featureless planets. Whether players choose to focus on exploration, combat, or building, there’s no doubt that Starfield is shaping up to be one of the most ambitious open-world games ever created.
-The currently-known Starfield planets and moons are Anselon, Cassiopeia I, Charybdis III, Gagarin, Jemison, Kreet, Mars, Olivas, Chawla, Vectera, Tau Centi VIII-B, and Nesoi.-
As details continue to emerge, the Alpha Centauri star system has captured the attention of fans. This star system, known for its proximity to our own solar system, appears to be a key location for one of the game’s largest factions, the United Colonies. A recent gameplay trailer has revealed that Alpha Centauri boasts three planets, including a gas giant with multiple moons.
What’s more, all of Alpha Centauri’s confirmed planet names thus far pay tribute to famous astronauts. The main planet, Jemison, named after the pioneering astronaut Mae Jemison, is of particular interest to Starfield players, as it is home to New Atlantis, one of the game’s major cities. The other two planets in the system, Gagarin and Olivas, are also named after renowned space explorers, as is Chawla, a planet whose significance in the game remains to be seen.
Another star systemsthat has been given a glimpse in Starfield’s recent gameplay trailer is Narion. The brief footage showcased Vectera, one of Narion’s moons, which gave viewers a sneak peek at the game’s outpost system. These outposts, which can be constructed by players, serve as a hub for survival and resource generation while exploring the vastness of space. In addition, players can recruit characters they encounter on their journey to work at their outpost, choosing a location that suits them best.
The only other confirmed star system is Sol, which is none other than our own solar system. And, funnily enough, the only explorable planet known in Sol thus far is Mars. One of Starfield’s major cities is Cydonia, located there. According to early reports, the city was established by human settlers during the early days of space exploration, following some unspecified catastrophe that befell Earth.
It’s still currently unclear how many other planets and moons in our solar system players players will be able to explore. The prospect of exploring Earth and uncovering the fate that led to humanity’s exodus from their home planet is intriguing.
Numerous celestial bodies have been observed in the lead-up to the release of Starfield, most of which were glimpsed in the announcement trailer for the launch date announcement trailer. However, the star systems to which they belong are yet to be officially confirmed.
Let’s take a closer look at the various planets and moons that have been revealed thus far:
Anselon is a planet that has yet to be seen, but we do know that it has a moon named Kreet. Kreet is home to an abandoned research facility and is inhabited by members of the Crimson Fleet, a faction in Starfield known for their piratical ways. Kreet was featured in the gameplay section of June 2022’s Starfield showcase.
Cassiopeia I is a planet briefly glimpsed in Starfield’s second release date trailer. It appears to resemble Earth, with lush green vegetation and rocky outcroppings.
Nesoi is another planet that was shown in the second release date trailer. It also appears to be abundant with plant life and features futuristic wind turbines.
Tau Centi VIII-B is a planet that was showcased in the second trailer. It appears to be brimming with life, including creatures that bear a resemblance to dinosaurs.
Charybdis III is yet another planet that was spotted in the second release date trailer. Although we don’t get to see much of the planet’s environment, the player can be seen battling a fearsome monster inside a building.
Two other planets remain unidentified at this time. One is an aquatic planet that is home to the XenoFresh Corporation, a faction in Starfield, and the pleasure city of Neon. The other is a dry, western world that is home to the Freestar Collective, another major faction in the game. This planet features the walled city of Akila, but its name remains unknown at this time.
As players traverse the varied and often treacherous landscapes of Starfield’s planets, they will have a powerful tool at their disposal: the jetpack. This will allow players to soar through the air, effortlessly scaling cliffs and surmounting obstacles that would otherwise be impassable.
When using the jetpack, players will notice a boost meter appearing above their health bar. This meter indicates the amount of thrust remaining in the jetpack, and will slowly recharge over time when not in use. This means that players will need to use their jetpack carefully, making strategic use of its limited fuel reserves to achieve their goals.
The Constellation faction appears to be the default choice that players have to join, at least initially. Constellation was showcased as a central component of the game’s storyline, with its questline taking center stage. With this in mind, it seems that Constellation will serve as the epicenter of the game, providing the foundation for players to build their space-faring adventure.
Constellation is an interstellar organization focused on charting new worlds and exploring the vast unknowns of space. Unlike other factions, it appears to be relatively apolitical, making it the perfect entry point for players before they encounter any more contentious groups. With its emphasis on space exploration and discovery, Constellation is a natural fit for those looking to blaze a trail through the game’s expansive universe.
In Starfield’s Universe, the Crimson Fleet is a name that apparently strikes fear into the hearts of many. This infamous group of spacefaring outlaws are known for their ruthless tactics and their willingness to do whatever it takes to get what they want. Whether you see them as the scourge of the galaxy or a group of misunderstood rebels fighting against a corrupt system, it’s clear that the Crimson Fleet will be a force to be reckoned with.
According to various sources, there are two ways to join the Crimson Fleet: as an actual space pirate or by going undercover for the authorities. While the specifics of these two paths are still shrouded in mystery, it’s clear that players will have some tough choices to make.
Other factions in the game are also said to be concerned about the Fleet’s activities, and even Todd Howard himself has referred to them as “bad guys” in passing.
THE FREE STAR COLLECTIVE
The Freestar Collective, also known as the Freestar Rangers, are a group of space cowboys that epitomize the Western frontier spirit. According to Bethesda, they offer players the chance to live out their wildest “Space western fantasy”. The collective was founded by a group of rebels who fought for independence from the larger United Colonies, establishing themselves as a tight-knit community on the edge of the known universe.
In terms of gameplay, players who align themselves with the Freestar Collective will be tasked with maintaining law and order within their territory. According to one NPC, they are “peacekeepers” who protect the people of the Freestar Collective.
With its blend of classic Western motifs and sci-fi technology, the Freestar Collective promises to be one of the most unique factions in the game.
Ryujin Industries is a megacorporation situated in the city of Neon, and offers its products to the settled star systems. To gain access to their inner workings, players will have to navigate a series of early quests that effectively serve as a job interview. If successful, players will earn the right to delve deeper into the inner workings of the corporation. Not much else is known about this faction.
THE UNITED COLONIES
The most dominant faction in Starfield is undoubtedly the United Colonies. This political and military powerhouse embodies the ideals of a futuristic space republic, and their capital city of New Atlantis is set to be one of the game’s main hubs. In fact, it is reportedly the largest city Bethesda has ever created.
While the United Colonies may be the most powerful faction on paper, their past struggles with the Freestar Collective have left a lasting mark on the galaxy. However, that conflict was resolved two decades prior to the events of Starfield, and the two factions now enjoy a fragile peace. Despite this, rumors abound that the Crimson Fleet may be posing a threat to the United Colonies.
Among the numerous factions in Starfield, there are smaller organizations and affiliations that players can join. Some, for example, can be joined based your character’s selected traits. Although these factions are not as powerful as the major players, they still seem pretty important.
The Ecliptic Mercenaries are a group of hired guns offering their services as mercenaries. Their services may come in handy when players need extra firepower or protection during their space expeditions. The Enlightened, on the other hand, are a religious group that opposes the Sanctum Universum. Their exact beliefs and practices are unknown, but their opposition to the Sanctum Universum indicates some kind of conflict.
The Great Serpent faith is another religious faction with a particular interest in grav jumping. Their focus on this technology could give players unique advantages in traversing different parts of the game. However, players should also watch out for House Va’ruun, a dangerous and fanatical religious group. Their beliefs are unclear, but they could pose a significant threat to players who cross their path.
Sanctum Universum is a religious faction that opposes the Enlightened. While their motives are still unknown, their opposition to the Enlightened suggests some kind of power struggle between the two groups. Spacers, on the other hand, are a group of spacefaring raiders who could pose a significant challenge to players trying to explore the depths of space.
The combat system in Starfield borrows elements from prior Bethesda games while also introducing new gameplay mechanics.
Starfield combat can be shifted between first and third person, and players will be able to hip fire their gun as well as aim down sights, with aiming presumably giving more accuracy. Additionally, the game will allow players to run, jump, crouch, and even slide while firing, adding an extra layer of mobility to the combat system.
To deal with larger groups of enemies, players will also have access to grenades, while rumors suggest that there will be an option for melee combat as well. Defeating enemies will earn players experience points, which can be used to level up and gain skill points. By investing in the Physical and Combat skill trees, players can improve their overall combat ability and become more powerful in battle.
In addition to skills, crafting and equipping weapon mods will also help players to increase their damage output. Also, rather than relying on a traditional map, players will use a radar system located at the bottom left of the screen to locate notable points of interest and nearby enemies.
To make swapping between weapons easier, Bethesda has reintroduced the weapon wheel mechanic, allowing players to quickly switch between their arsenal without having to navigate through multiple menus.
Based on the gameplay footage that has been released, it appears that weapons will be divided into four distinct categories, each with its own slot on the weapon wheel: pistols, rifles, shotguns, and machine guns. Players will be able to assign up to three weapons to each category, giving them a total of 12 weapons at their disposal at any given time.
Also, while the jetpack is primarily a tool for exploration, it can also be used to gain a tactical advantage in combat.
Players can use it to gain a positional advantage over their enemies, swooping down from above to catch them off guard. And for the truly daring, there may be special weapon actions that can be performed while airborne, allowing players to rain destruction down upon their foes from on high.
One particularly satisfying tactic is to target your enemies’ own jetpacks, causing them to fly uncontrollably, giving players a momentary advantage. With its versatility and power, the jetpack is sure to be a favorite tool among players, and will undoubtedly play a key role through adventures in Starfield.
PICKPOCKETING AND LOCKPICKING
Starfield, like the Fallout and Elder Scrolls series, features pickpocketing and lockpicking mechanics.
It is unclear how some mechanics might differ from the other flagship titles, especially when you consider how various skills may affect them. We do know that lockpicks in Starfield do not follow conventional Bethesda mechanics. In Starfield, there are four “Digipicks” that have set shapes. You’ll have to decide which pick fits in what layer of the lock and when to use them.
In Starfield, players have the exciting opportunity to engage in ship customization, building their very own unique spaceships from a wide variety of parts and components. This modular system allows for an impressive range of options, allowing players to mix and match different building blocks to create the perfect craft for their interstellar adventures.
But this is no mere cosmetic feature – ship customization in Starfield requires careful consideration and planning, as players must balance their resources and budgets to create a ship that is both functional and efficient. The choices made in ship design will directly impact factors such as speed, jump distance, and armor, giving players a huge array of possibilities.
In Starfield, ship customization is modular. Players are able to piece together various sections and rooms that serve different functions, such as engines, cockpits, shields, and storage. Each component not only provides access to more abilities and options, but also has a significant impact on the ship’s stats.
Crafting and research in Starfield governs weapons and general gear, while ship building involves purchasing parts from a vendor, depending on which factions or star systems players have access to. These components and modules are emblazoned with corporate logos, and it’s likely that different manufacturers will have unique characteristics, such as faster speeds, weaker defenses, or superior weaponry.
As players navigate the vast expanse of space, the ability to customize ships will definitely be a vital strategic element.
The ship building mechanics in Starfield are highly flexible and adaptable, allowing players to create vessels of all shapes and sizes, from sleek, agile fighters to massive, hulking warships and everything in between. It’s worth noting that some components of a ship require a certain level of skill in the “Starship Design” category in order to purchase or use them, so players will need to carefully consider their progression in this area in order to maximize their ship-building potential.
When it comes to ship customization, there are a number of key stats to consider, including LAS, BAL, and MSL, which likely refer to different weapon and damage types such as lasers, ballistic weapons, and missiles. Hull and Shield stats represent the health of a ship, while Cargo indicates how much space is available for storage. Crew stats may indicate the number of people required to operate certain modules, or simply the maximum number of crew members that can be accommodated. Jump Range determines how far a ship can travel between star systems, while Mobility and Top Speed affect the ship’s flight capabilities.
It’s important to keep in mind that every module added to a ship will increase its overall mass, which in turn will decrease its Jump Range and Mobility. This means that heavier ships will be more difficult to fly and may require more advanced piloting skills to handle effectively.
Displayed alongside each ship’s core stats are a series of indicators providing valuable insights into its energy usage and production. At the heart of this system lies the “Reactor” indicator, which displays the amount of energy being generated by the ship’s reactor alongside the amount being consumed. It’s fairly easy to deduce the meanings of most of these indicators. The W0, W1, and W2 indicators likely refer to the three different types of weapons available in the game – Laser, Ballistic, and Missile – and how much energy they require to function. The ENG and SHD indicators probably represent the energy drain on the ship’s engines and shields, respectively.
While navigating outer space, you will be able to dock onto friendly ships and space stations. From there you will have three options – to undock, get up, and board the other ship. Presumably, you’ll not only be able to fly your spaceship, but you’ll be able to walk around in its interior to interact with your ship’s crew, meet new NPCs on new ships and space stations, chart new courses, and gather resources. There may also be a mechanic to replenish your ship’s health and weapon supplies while docked on friendly structures.
Of course, the player won’t be the only one traversing space and combat is to be expected.
Your ship’s health can be determined by the hull’s integrity displayed on the interface’s bottom right corner. Your opponents seemingly have access to the same weaponry, and a warning signal will alert you if you’re being targeted by their missiles.
Fuel plays a crucial role in your spaceship’s capabilities. In earlier versions of the game, realistic fuel mechanics were implemented, where your ship would come to a halt when your fuel was depleted. However, this proved to be too punishing for players, and the development team made changes so that your fuel never fully runs out during a voyage. Instead, it restricts the distance you can travel at any given time.
CRAFTING AND RESEARCH
Crafting has always played a crucial role in Bethesda’s games, allowing players to utilize the resources they gather to forge powerful weapons or even construct their own homes. In Starfield, this system takes on a new dimension, as players will be able to collect a variety of resources – whether they be minerals, metals, plants, or animals – using specialized tools like the laser extractor seen in the game’s trailer.
As players amass these resources, they will be able to undertake research projects, which will be necessary to create more advanced and effective items. Starfield will feature five distinct areas of research – Pharmacology, Food and Drink, Outpost Development, Equipment, and Weaponry – each of which will allow players to work on multiple projects simultaneously.
One exciting possibility is that players will be able to discover research projects as they explore the game’s vast and mysterious universe. Imagine stumbling upon a cache of alien technology and being able to reverse-engineer it to create new and powerful weapons, or stealing the schematics for a cutting-edge piece of equipment from a rival faction. With crafting and research playing such a significant role in Starfield, the possibilities for exploration and experimentation are truly endless.
As a longtime Bethesda fan, I can’t wait for Starfield’s release. It seems to me that this game is completely unprecedented in scale, with a 1,000 planets to explore, spaceship customizations, build paths, numerous factions, and more. What do you guys think? Please share your thoughts in the comments. Stay connected with ElectronicFirst for all your gaming needs. Electronic First is one-stop-shop for all your gaming updates