Everything we now know from the Starfield Direct

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Bethesda has given us a long, extensive look at Starfield following the Xbox Games Showcase, revealing so much about their epic sci-fi RPG. Starfield is coming out on 6th September 2023 across Xbox Series X|S and PC.

Honestly, it looks wildly ambitious, and it totally makes sense why it’s taken this long for Bethesda to bring this game together.

Character Creation

Character customisation is built off new capture technology that Bethesda is using, the studio taking scans of tons of people with different skin tones and racial backgrounds, then blending it together for creating realistic looking NPCs. The same technology feeds into the character creation tool

You’ll wake up after blacking out on the job as an Argos Extractor. From there you can pick from 40 character presets that are starting points for a deep dive into picking hair, teeth and more. You’ll be able to choose from different backgrounds as well, which can inform later interactions and conversation options.

Traits and Skills

Any character background you pick comes with three traits by default, and these include things like:

  • Hero Worship –  There’s a character who just absolutely love you and will constantly praise you.
  • Kid Stuff – You send money back to mum & dad, and you can visit them to say hi!
  • Religions – Pick a religion and it might just have an effect on some interactions
  • Wanted – Get a buff to damage when at low health, but bounty hunters will also come after you sometimes.

You can get rid of some of these traits – like shooting the annoying super fan in the back.

There’s five skill trees that you can trawl through. Every time you level up you earn a skill point that can be used to unlock a skill. After that point, you can improve these skills by performing increasingly difficult challenges to rank up. Each skill has four ranks.

All of this allows you to head down different play styles, whether it’s stealthy encounters, diplomatic and conversational ones, or ramping up combat abilities.

The Story & Constellation

As we already knew, you join the Constellation group. This is the last bastion of space exploration, who discover mysterious alien artifacts that you then seek to uncover more of.

Sara Morgan is an old explorer and now the leader of Constellation. Matteo is a Theologian who believes there’s more out there to find, Same Coe a space pirate and more.

These characters can join your crew as you journey across the stars, and yes, you can potentially

Space Travel & The Galaxy

There’s around 1,000 planets in Starfield, and all of them can be visited as you play. There’s a clutch of inner planets like Alpha Centauri, which is home to New Atlantis and the home base of Constellation, while Seddonia is a mining hub on Mars. Heading further afield there’s the Freestar Collective that has a wild west vibe, and then even more factions beyond that.

The galactic view starts with looking at the planet your on, can zoom out to show the whole system of planets and moons, and then show the whole galaxy, letting you plot a path to other systems – you might need to upgrade your Grav Drive, though.

Coming to a planet, you can scan it to see what you will expect to find in terms of resources and other key details. Landing on many planets will see a procedural generation system kicking in. This builds the planet as you approach, filling in locations to explore, creatures, locations and dynamically adding missions. It’s not No Man’s Sky level of generation, but if two players visit the same planet, they’ll discover different things.

Each planet has a different gravity, the visuals are affected by the atmosphere diffusing the light of stars, and more. You can set up a base camp almost anywhere on any planet. Once founded, you can build it out much like the outposts in Fallout 4, but with a new isometric view for a top-down view of grander construction. You can then crew this space, fill it with crafting items and more.

Space Travel and Space Ships

Space travel is integral to Starfield. The game gives you direct control over your ship, and that means hands on exploration of asteroid belts, jumping between systems, discovering derelict ships and more.

In combat you have to balance the ship’s power allocation between things like engines, lasers, shields, and the grav drive (with more power lowering the time that you need to escape a sticky situation). If you defeat an enemy ship you can blow them up and just grab their resources, or disable them and board for a more personal touch. That ship is then yours and you can add it to your fleet.

Your ships are almost infinitely customisable at any space port. You start with a Frontier ship, but can then customise and upgrade each part of this ship individually, adding more modules for crafting or weapon storage, swapping out ship cowling, switching up the custom paint job, and so on.

You’ll need a crew, and in addition to the main cast of supporting character, that can include hiring generic NPCs from planets you visit, and taking on characters you happen to meet.

Combat

Combat looks pretty great, with a hugely customisable suite of weaponry available to you. You have a jump pack that lets you leap high into the sky and rain fire down from above – and remember, each planet has different gravity levels – while in zero-G, kinetic weapons will push you away while energy weapons are more inert.

We’ll have to pass judgement when it’s released or we can go hands on, but combat looks far tighter and more direct than in any previous Bethesda game.

The Watch (and collector’s editions)

The Chronomark is the watch that you have in game, Starfield’s equivalent to a Pip-Boy it seems, and… well, Bethesda made it into a real world watch as well! As part of the game’s collector’s edition is an ornate case inspired by the boxes astronauts used for bringing samples back from the Moon, and that features inside it this Chronomark smartwatch, able to hook up to your phone, receive notifications and more.


We’re sure we missed a huge amount of the details that this long deep dive into Starfield gave us, but let’s just say that Bethesda seriously impressed with the scope, scale and depth of what they’ve been working on here. We can’t wait to see more!

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5 Comments

  1. It looks good, it’s just a shame most people can’t play it on their console of choice.

    • Yeah, I think it’s conceptually a bit much to get running on Nintendo Switch. ;)

      • Would you really call the Switch a ‘console’…? ;-)

  2. A mix of Mass Effect, No Man’s Sky and Second Life. Too much to do for my liking. But it does look impressive.

  3. It looks awesome, blend of Fallout and NMS. I’ll purchase it day one when it releases on PS5!

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