Starfield In the Cockpit Preview

Starfield: 10 Things You MUST KNOW!

If you’re like me, you’re probably looking forward to the summer and wondering what will be the next mega role-playing game will be? In my opinion, the answer to that question is, without a doubt: Starfield. After taking a close look through all the information and videos that have been released so far, I’m here to give you a breakdown of the Starfield: 10 Things You MUST KNOW! (Character Creation, Gameplay, Trailer, Combat, Release, 2023)

The first new intellectual property developed by Bethesda Game Studios in 25 years, Starfield is a hotly anticipated AAA single player, action role playing game which takes place across the vastness of space. This space exploration game will have many of the typical Bethesda game hallmarks – a robust main story and side quests, elaborate character creation, and an extraordinary amount of exploration.

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#10 – Release Date/Platforms/Pre-Orders

Starfield is set to officially launch on September 6, 2023. The game will release exclusively to Xbox Series X|S and on Microsoft Windows PCs. If you play on PC you’ll want to check out Starfield’s System Requirements in order to make sure that your computer has the space and specs to run the game.

Starfield can now be pre-ordered from a variety of different sources, in both physical and digital formats. Standard pre-Orders come with an “Old Mars Skin Pack” cosmetics. But what players might find more tempting is the Premium Edition, which among other digital goodies will grant purchasers five days of early access!

There is also a Constellation (Collector’s) Edition of the game selling at $299. Included is a physical package of items containing a steelbook case, Constellation patch, Chonomark watch and watch case.

Starfield Constellation Collectors Edition

#9 How Long is the Game?

“We have done more handcrafting like content wise than any game we’ve done, we’re at over 200,000 lines of dialogue so we still do a lot of hand crafting…”

Game Director Todd Howard

We don’t know the exact length of the main quest in Starfield. However, we have some theories based on what Todd Howard has said in the last couple of months.

That amount of dialog is more than double Skyrim and well above Fallout 4.  While the main bulk of the planets are randomly generated, for that amount of dialog, questing and interaction, the main hub cities must be beaming with life, choices, and options to complete the story. Howard also gives an estimate on the length of the main story quest.

“So, it (Starfield) might be 20% more than our previous ones…this one might be in the 30s maybe 40s just for the main quest.”

With 30-40 hours of main story quest you’ll get a lot more main story than previous Bethesda titles.

Bethesda also has a knack for morally gray storytelling. Their best writing comes when you need to make a choice on a faction, a quest, or something where there is no right answer.  Sometimes just like life, you need to use your gut make a split-second decision and let it play out.  Unlike real life, however, you can go back and change the decision and see how it plays out. This, combined with the options available in character creation, will provide a massive amount of replayabilty to the game.

#8 –  Character Creator

Although various alien races, droids and robots were shown in a glimpse of gameplay during the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase in 2022, as far as we know, character customization will be focused on humans only.

Underneath the Biometric ID tab you’ll find a selection of character presets. Each of these models has a personal record number, and once selected they can then be modified further under the Body and Face tabs.

Starfield Character Creator Gif

Background and Traits are a couple of new, non-standard additions which provide a lot of depth to your character’s backstory.

In the Background tab you can choose one from a total of 20 possible origin stories, with potential occupations such as Bounty Hunter, Chef, Diplomat, Gangster, and Ronin. Whichever one you choose will determine your three starting skills. Additionally, it can effect how the game environment and NPC characters will react and interact with your character.

Starfield Background Preview Gif

In the Traits tab players will further refine their character by selecting up to three attributes from a wide list. Each one will provide unique advantages and disadvantages. We don’t know exactly how all of the traits might influence gameplay, but one example we have is the Kid Stuff trait.

Choose this and your character will be able to visit their living parents in game. The disadvantage being that 10% of all the money you earn will be automatically deducted and sent to them. Things like this could open up possible exclusive dialogue options and maybe even special quests or events.  This would be a huge boon to the game and could really add to its long term replayability!

#7 – Story and Setting

Starfield’s story is set to take place in the year 2330 – a distant, but still imaginable future where humanity has developed settlements on other planets.

Twenty years prior to the start of the game the United Colonies went to war with their primary rival for power, the Freestar Collective. Although the Colony Wars are now at an end, the peace between these two factions is an uneasy one. In addition, the pirates of the Crimson Fleet are aggressively expanding their footholds into systems where they have never been seen before.

After arriving in the United Colonies’ capital city of New Atlantis your character will come in contact with an organization called Constellation. This group describes themselves as “the last group of space explorers” and their members are committed to unlocking the mysteries of the galaxy.

Starfield Constellation Quest Giver Preview

They are in the process of collecting the scattered pieces of an alien artifact in order to fully assemble it, and when the player character discovers their own relic the members of Constellation eagerly welcome them to the group.

This kicks off the main story quest of the game – can the completed artifact answer some of humanity’s biggest questions? Why are we here? What’s next?

Starfield will have many of the typical Bethesda game hallmarks. A robust main story and side quests along with elaborate character creation, are almost a given. But where Starfield really breaks the mold is with the extraordinary amount of exploration it offers.

#6 – Exploration

Bethesda shocked many when they announced that there would be more than 1,000 planets in Starfield which the player could travel to and investigate.

According to Game Director Todd Howard, while there is plenty of handcrafting that will go into Starfield, creating over 1,000 planets wouldn’t be possible for human developers alone. Therefore many planets will be procedurally generated using an automation technology which Bethesda has been working on and improving since Skyrim.

But what does 1,000 planets to explore really mean? Only certain, restricted points on the surface? A large city, or smaller settlements here or there?

No – it means that the whole planet, not just a small piece of it, is available.

Starfield Planetary System Gif

Bethesda’s RPGs have always revolved around the core conviction of “play how you want.” I’m sure that I was one of many who wandered off the beaten path in Skyrim for ‘just a moment’, got lost, and an hour later had forgotten about the main quest as I traversed the wilderness and discovered new landmarks.

Starfield is going to be Skyrim x 1000

#5 – Starships

And how is all of that exploration from planet to planet going to be accomplished? With Starships.

And what’s most exciting is that starships aren’t just static modes of transportation in Starfield. Instead, starships will be a vital part of gameplay. To leave any planet and travel to another you will have to literally fly it through space! Whether your gameplay focus is exploration, the main quest, combat, or even crafting, that progression will require the use of a starship.

Although we don’t yet know exactly how the player will find, earn, or buy their first starship, it is likely that the early game model will only have the most basic design and functions available. To be able to go ‘higher, further, faster,’ the player will have to invest at least some of their gameplay time into making upgrades and improvements to their ship.

Starfield Spaceship Combat Preview Gif

And when you’re making those upgrades, keep in mind that the vast depths of space aren’t just some empty neutral zone in Starfield. Whether it’s space pirates, corporations, or military groups, there will always be the possibility of running into an unfriendly opponent in the sky. Space combat will likely be a necessary part of the gameplay, if you wish to arrive safely to your next destination.

It is also known that you won’t be able to land on the planet directly, but this process will be done through a scene rather than the player landing themselves.

#4 – Factions

The United Colonies are the largest military and political power in the Settled Systems. Based out of their capital city of New Atlantis, the United Colonies strive to represent the idealized version of a space republic and this is reflected in their strongly cosmopolitan society.

The Freestar Collective is the other major power in the Settled Systems. It is a loose confederation of three different star systems unified in their dedication to personal freedoms and individuality. As a non-centralized organization representing a lot of settlements on the frontier of space, the Collective has a heavier ‘space western’ character than their more straight-laced rivals.

Starfield Akila City Concept Art

The Crimson Fleet is a loose alliance of individual pirate captains who choose to operate together under the Jolly Roger banner. They have footholds in multiple systems. Originally they were primarily a Freestar Collective problem, but they have since expanded their reach and now trouble the United Colonies as well.

#3 – Crafting and Research

Crafting has also always been an integral part of any Bethesda title, granting the player the ability to use collected resources to create powerful weapons or to even build and furnish homes.

Starfield Collecting Iron Gif

One of the first shots of gameplay in the Starfield trailer shows the player character collecting iron using a laser extractor. The iron is automatically added into the inventory after a short harvest animation. It’s reasonable to assume that this is how it will work for other kinds of resource harvesting, whether the material be mineral, metal, flora or fauna.

An additional element to the crafting in Starfield is the ability to run research projects. Research will likely be a necessity before you can craft additional, improved items. There are five main areas of research: Pharmacology, Food and Drink, Outpost Development, Equipment, and Weaponry. Within these categories, the player can have simultaneous projects being worked on at once.

Starfield Research Weaponry UI Preview

While this is just my speculation, it’s possible that while exploring in game you could collect not just crafting materials but also research projects. Imagine being able to research and reverse-engineer some found alien tech! Or stealing the design specifications of some new weapons mod from an intergalactic corporation during a side quest.

#2 – Outposts

One of those major Research categories I just mentioned, Outpost Development, is referring to Starfield’s housing system.

Unlike Skyrim housing, which was mostly an aesthetic addition to the game, the outposts in Starfield are clearly meant to serve larger functions. Much more like the Settlements do in the Fallout series. Outposts will likely serve as safe bases and landing sites, where the player and crew can rest, repair and refuel before traveling out into space again.

Starfield Outpost Gif

The Bethesda footage reveals some of the outpost construction. It has some unique gameplay features. Specifically in regards to atmospheric considerations like oxygen, temperature, and even gravity.  You’ll have materials on the planet to consider before settling. Even a “Military Hab” shown from a still image on the preview is interesting to see. It leads me to believe this will have some sort of mechanics just like in Fallout 4 where randomly your settlements (or in this game, outposts) can be attacked and must be defended.

Howard also shown that you can hire NPCs to defend and run your settlements.  These crew members, such as Heller seen above, will come with some basic level of skills or areas of expertise. You can assign them to outposts and you’ll find that their skills will effect the resource production of the location. Companions can also be assigned to work at outposts or on ships, but you may want to station them on outposts sparingly, given their higher level abilities will make them more useful traveling with you.

This system alone has me excited to even explore those random procedurally generated planets just to setup a forward operating base in a remote star system

#1 – Combat

Game Director Todd Howard has described Starfield as “Skyrim in Space”. But the Elder Scrolls has never seen any gunplay or laser blasters! So what will Starfield’s combat be like? Will it be an RPG with guns, or more like a legit shooter?

When it comes to gun based combat a more obvious Bethesda title to compare Starfield to would be the Fallout series. Fallout games have often included a system called VATS. The key feature being that the player could use it to stop or slow time. It could also assist the player with their aim.

Starfield Combat Slow Down UI Preview

In the Starfield gameplay reveal we do see a similar VATS function appear when gameplay time slows down as the player swaps their weapons. However, we do not see this effect completely stop enemy movement or assist the player with aim.

If this is the case, it will give the game more of a fast-paced shooter feel. Other elements of combat we’ve seen is the ability to crouch and sneak, in addition to the use of grenades.

Gunplay in Space

A really exciting sci-fi element shown in the reveal is the boosted jumps players can take, enabled by the pack on the back of their spacesuit. This adds an exciting element of vertical gameplay which players could use for all kinds of tactical advantages.

Starfield Boost UI Preview

Overall, the combat does look snappier and sharper than what we have seen in the Fallout series. However, I believe that Todd Howard chose to compare Starfield more directly to Skyrim for a reason.

Skyrim is about exploration and adventure. The combat is important, as well as fun, but for most players it’s not their main gameplay focus. I think that Starfield will also reflect this, likely prioritizing exploration above all else. This doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for the game at all, however, as combat will clearly still be a robust part of the Starfield gameplay.

Thanks for reading through my Starfield: 10 Things You MUST KNOW! (Character Creation, Gameplay, Trailer, Combat, Release, 2023). Are you looking forward to this game as much as I am? If you’re interested in finding out more about the game, check out some of the links below.

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