Everything We Know So Far: Starfield

Bethesda's Most Ambitious RPG Yet!

Bethesda SoftWorks officially announced their single-player space adventure RPG, Starfield, in 2018 with a teaser. Fans saw the game’s first official teaser trailer at E3 2021, followed by an actual gameplay trailer at Bethesda and Xbox E3 showcase 2022. 

Starfield is another original RPG from the studio that is loved for its classic RPGs like Skyrim and Fallout series. The initial release date for the game was set to be 11th November 2022. If things were going according to plan, we would have celebrated the game’s launch last month.

Well, devs presented some reasonable concerns regarding the delay, and they wanted their game to be the best version of it, for fans to have the best experience possible, so with the following statement, the game was delayed in May of this year. 

The teams at Arkane Austin (Redfall) and Bethesda Game Studios (Starfield) have incredible ambitions for their games, and we want to ensure that you receive the best, most polished versions of them.”

And after all, the stakes are high for this new space RPG from Bethesda as it will be the studio’s first original game in 25 years. And only this statement is enough to justify the hype and anticipation surrounding the title. 

Xbox Gaming Chief Phil Spencer also agrees with the reasons for the delay in Starfield. He confirmed that he supports the developers in this decision as he wants them to feel included and supported by their new boss, Microsoft.

We have experience shipping games too early, but in hindsight, when you look at a game like Starfield – which has taken so long and so much investment in new IP from the team – the decision to give the team the time to build the game that they feel they should be building is just the right thing to do.”

-Phil Spencer

Considering the game’s hype, we have collected all the information available about Starfield and compiled it into one place.

Deep Dive: Starfield

In November 2021, Bethesda launched a new video series for Starfield called Into the Starfield. In this series, the game’s developers, including Howard, discuss the ambitious RPG and reveal further details about what fans can expect. In the debut episode, The Endless Pursuit, Howard, art director Matt Carofano, and studio director Angela Browder talked about how Bethesda’s ambition and passion have shaped the team and what they are hoping to achieve with Starfield.

Carofano said Starfield is more grounded and realistic than Skyrim, though, at its heart, the two projects share an ambition to give players the freedom to explore.

It’s got a more realistic, science-based backing to it. Whereas Skyrim is sort of an epic fantasy, this is a more grounded game, and a grounded setting about exploration. So I think that gives us a different take on how we make everything.”

-Matt Carofano

Howard said the mechanics of Starfield, compared to Skyrim, are “entirely different,” though there are some similarities. One of those is how Starfield is presented with a first-person camera (with a third-person option), which helps make things seem more believable, he said.

Being able to watch the sun set and nighttime come, and just sit there and watch the world go by, seems like it’s not gameplay. But it is vital to how you feel through the rest of it.”

-Todd Howard

Development Engine

It is confirmed that Starfield will be developed on the latest iteration of Creation Engine, Creation Engine 2, as the game is entirely next-gen and will require the newest technology to utilize the full potential of current-gen Xbox consoles and PCs.

In September 2020, Bethesda released a statement about how much the acquisition by Microsoft and the release of its new Xbox Series X and S were impacting the work the studio was doing on its games. In that statement, Howard said the new technology had led to “our largest engine overhaul since Oblivion.” Todd Howard elaborated:

With each new console cycle, we evolved together. From bringing mods to consoles with Fallout 4, now over a billion downloads, to the latest technologies fueling Xbox Series X/S.

These new systems are optimized for the vast worlds we love to create, with generational leaps not just in graphics, but CPU and data streaming as well.

It’s led to our largest engine overhaul since Oblivion, with all new technologies powering our first new IP in 25 years, Starfield, as well as The Elder Scrolls VI.”

For years now, Bethesda has powered its games with its Creation engine, which is the technology behind The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, as mentioned, as well as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout 4, and Fallout 76. So, this makes it pretty clear that Starfield also uses the Creation engine but an overhauled version that takes into account a whole lot of new technology and hardware capabilities.

Modding Support

PC has a massive Modding Community that has kept years-old beloved games alive just because of their passion and love for the games, including Skyrim, which has received numerous mods over the years that have kept the game fresh and on par with the latest hardware. So, it will be a valid question whether Starfield will support modding or not.

Mainly because it uses new technology and an entirely new development engine that is different from the first iteration of Bethesda’s in-house Creation Engine, which has powered all the Bethesda games until Starfield. Modders will be happy to know that Todd Howard, in a Reddit AMA, has clarified that Starfield will indeed support mods.

Our plan is to have full mod support like our previous games. Our modding community has been with us for 20 years. They love what they do and hope to see more make a career out of it.”

Starfield’s Concept Images

Bethesda hosted a Skyrim 10th Anniversary Concert on 12th November 2022, including its next big RPG: Starfield. At the end of the broadcast, Todd Howard introduced composer Inon Zur, who has provided scores for Fallout 76, Outriders, Dragon’s Dogma, and Dragon Age II. A performance of the ‘Starfield Suite’ by the London Symphony Orchestra followed along with the new concept images of Starfield and the score playing in the background.

Most Immersive Bethesda RPG Yet

It is evident that Starfield will be the biggest Bethesda RPG yet, with the number of explorable locations baked into it along with the expansion scale. It will also be the most interactive and immersive RPG by the developer. For example, as revealed by Todd Howard at Tokyo Games Show, Starfield will have 150,000 lines of dialogue. For comparison, Fallout 4 had 111,000, and Skyrim had 60,000 lines of conversation.

Interestingly, despite having the most dialogues out of all Bethesda games, the protagonist in Starfield will be Silent!

Story

It is confirmed that Starfield will take place in the year 2330, and humanity has expanded exponentially outside the boundaries of its own solar system. However, the main storyline that Starfield will follow is yet to be revealed. Still, Bethesda has shown a lot of information on the locations and the nature of habitants populating the world of Starfield. It is also confirmed that Starfield will accumulate 100 solar systems and 1000 planets that you will come across throughout the gameplay. It should be noted that not all 1000 planets are explorable.

Locations and Main Setting

Starfield’s primary setting: Settled Systems (a 50-light-year radius around our own solar system where humanity has spread out), is divided into two significant colonies in space; the United Colonies and the Freestar Collective, who are at an uneasy peace after a recent war. It also touches on some of the other threats the player might face: “Ecliptic mercenaries, pirates of the Crimson Fleet, violent Spacers, or even the fanatical religious zealots of House Va’Ruun.”

Settled Systems

The Settled Systems are the main setting of Starfield. They consist of a small pocket of colonized star systems in the Milky Way that extends about fifty light years from Sol. 

Sol in the Settled Systems is the location of Earth, the homeworld of humanity. At some point prior to the 24th century, humans successfully colonized worlds other than Earth, including Mars, and achieved interstellar travel. By the 24th century, Sol has been relegated to a quiet backwater, while most of the human population dwells in the colonies.

Alpha Centauri serves as the capital system of the United Colonies, an interstellar republic, and the most powerful faction in the Settled Systems.

In the year 2310, the United Colonies and the Freestar Collective, a breakaway confederation of three frontier systems, engaged in the bloody Colony War, which ended with the UC conceding the Collective its independence. By 2330, the present day, both sides share an uneasy peace. Despite this peace, the Settled Systems remain a very dangerous place due to mercenaries and criminals.

Cities Within Colonies and Settlements

Starfield will be the home of four major cities, including New Atlantis city, the largest city in Bethesda’s history. Yes, bigger than anything Skyrim and Fallout have ever seen. The two other known cities are Akila and Neon.

New Atlantis City

New Atlantis is the capital city of the United Colonies, located on the planet Jemison in the Alpha Centauri system.

The bustling capital city of the United Colonies, its inhabitants come from all races, creeds, and ethnicities. The Spacefarer begins their recruitment into Constellation at their location in the city.

Akila City

Akila City is the capital of the Freestar Collective in Starfield. It is surrounded by a wall to protect the citizens from the dreaded Ashta. It is home to various people, but they all have one thing in common: they believe in the sanctity of personal freedom and individuality.

Neon

Neon is a major city located on an unidentified aquatic planet. The pleasure city of Neon was originally a fishing platform that was constructed by the Xenofresh Corporation. The corporation discovered that one type of fish on the planet had psychotropic effects, and decided to switch the entire operation to creating the drug Aurora that utilizes these effects for self-enjoyment and selling it on the platform, rather than selling fish.

In 2330, Neon is a notable commercial hub and tourist destination in the Settled Systems. The headquarters of Ryujin Industries is located in the city.

Fourth City: Unknown

The fourth city is still unknown, but it seems fair to guess that it might be wherever the Crimson Fleet pirates or Ryujin Industries call home. 

The Freestar Collective and United Colonies both have homes on this list of major cities, and although Neon was created by the Xenofresh Corp, it certainly fits with the cyber corps feel we’d expect from Ryujin. Perhaps the fourth and final city will have a space pirate vibe to round out the group.

Factions in Starfield

Starfield will also feature multiple joinable factions to add an extra layer of immersion, and different unexpected storylines and choices, like joining various factions, will heavily affect the overall gameplay. All the known Factions in Starfield are listed below.

United Colonies

The United Colonies (abbreviated as UC) is the most powerful faction in Starfield and one of two established governments in the Settled Systems. It is a centralized republic with numerous member colonies across multiple star systems, and it wields humanity’s strongest military force. The UC’s capital is the city of New Atlantis, planet Jemison, Alpha Centauri system.

In 2310, the United Colonies fought against the Freestar Collective, its most significant rival in the Settled Systems, in the bloody Colony War. By 2330, the war had ended with the Collective retaining its independence, and the two factions shared an uneasy peace.

Freestar Collective

The Freestar Collective is a faction in Starfield and one of two established governments in the Settled Systems. It is a libertarian confederation of three distinct star systems, and it possesses humanity’s second-largest military force. The capital of the Freestar Collective is Akila City.

The Freestar Collective fought against the United Colonies, the largest and most powerful faction in the Settled Systems, in the Colony Wars in 2310. By 2330, the war had ended, and the Collective had retained its independence, but the peace with the UC was fragile. 

Crimson Fleet

Anyone displaying that symbol is assumed to be associated with the Crimson Fleet, and can be terminated at will.”

-UC Fleet Admiral Pascual Logan.

It is a loose confederation of individual pirate captains, all organized under the same banner. In 2330, it disrupted the operations of both the Freestar Collective and the United Colonies by expanding beyond the Kryx system and establishing footholds in the Sagan, Cheyenne, Lunara, and Narion systems.

Members of the Crimson Fleet can be identified by their use of the jolly roger, which was adopted as its emblem. Members can also never leave once they have joined, death is the only way out.

Constellation

Constellation is an organization in Starfield, committed to unlocking the mysteries of the galaxy.

Referred to as “the last group of space explorers,” the Spacefarer is given the invitation to join the organization at their location in New Atlantis after initial encounters with the Crimson Fleet. The group is dedicated to answering the question, “What’s out there?” In their exploration, the group encountered and excavated pieces of a spheroid alien artifact, and are in the process of finding and collecting the remaining pieces to fully assemble the artifact.

Ryujin Industries

Our products. Your life. One dream.

-RYUJIN INDUSTRIES SLOGAN

Ryujin Industries is a major corporation that offers its products throughout the Settled Systems. Its headquarters is located in the pleasure city of Neon.

Nova Galactic

Nova Galactic is a group in Starfield. They manufacture spaceship modules for player spaceships.

Gameplay

Finally, after years of teasing and glimpses, Bethesda showed the first official, extensive gameplay footage of  Starfield at the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase in June 2022.

Todd Howard starts the 15 minutes long Starfield presentation with a great introduction to Bethesda’s new space adventure journey:

It’s easily our most ambitious game ever like our previous games, it’s an epic role playing game where you get to be who you want and go where you want.”

The gameplay begins with the player on a mysterious moon called Kreet. The gameplay shows us both the first and third perspectives of Starfield. Our companion bot, Vasco, can also be seen in action, which helps us locate Kreet’s research facility. 

While approaching Kreet’s research facility, we get the first glimpses of Starfield’s resource collection mechanics and the unique creatures that this mysterious moon contains. Upon entering the research facility, we see Starfield’s gunplay and our first interaction with the goons of the space, Crimson Fleet. 

The gameplay with unique guns, hand grenades, and Starfield’s puzzle-solving mechanics looks really impressive and interactive, which helps you immerse yourself in the space adventure.

The video also shows us the first look at New Atlantis and Constellation (the last group of space explorers). After some initial encounters and brief shots of Starfield’s expansive world, the gameplay’s spotlight is revealed, the in-depth character creation that Howard calls Bethesda’s “most flexible yet.” 

There is a skill system where skills chosen with each level-up can gain additional ranks as they’re used to provide more benefits. A crafting system will let players modify and customize their space guns. Players will be able to establish outposts as they explore alien worlds, using mechanics that seem more elaborate and fully implemented than the base-building in Fallout 4

You can also create and customize your own spaceship, as Starfield offers various manufacturers and modules to level up your spaceship game. Other than customizing the look and weapons of the spacecraft, you can hire and choose different crew members that will help your spaceship sustain and grow to generate more resources.

Character Creation

As Todd Howard emphasizes, Starfield’s character creation is their most flexible yet where you can choose whoever you want to be with, and the game even provides you a wide range of backgrounds to choose from for your character. All the player backgrounds available in Starfield with detailed explanations are listed below.

Character Creation & Customization | Starfield
  • Chef: While the unrefined masses scarfed down Chunks by the shipload, you catered to those with a more… discerning palate. In your kitchen, countless alien species became true culinary masterpieces.

Starting Skills: Gastronomy, Dueling, Wellness.

  • Combat Medic: Leave it to human beings to fight over something as infinite as outer space. That’s where you come in. You’ve never been afraid to take on the enemy… but you’d much rather take care of your friends.

Starting Skills: Pistol Certification, Medicine, Weightlifting.

  • Cyber Runner: From Neon to New Atlantis, the megacorps stand as monuments to power, prestige, and profit. You’ve worked for and against them, on the inside and out, often sacrificing conscience for credits.

Starting Skills: Pistol Certification, Security, Persuasion.

  • Cyberneticist: Robots? Mere toys. Neuroamps? Suitable for parlor tricks. The Colony War may have made implants and upgrades available to veterans, but you once saw a greater future. Humans and machines, as one.

Starting Skills: Medicine, Robotics, Lasers.

  • Diplomat: The wars are over. Peace now reigns over the Settled Systems. But only because there are those quietly fighting to keep it. Because of you, agreements were signed, words were heeded… lives were spared.

Starting Skills: Persuasion, Diplomacy, Bargaining.

Platforms

Starfield is a next-gen game that will be released for Xbox Series X|S and PC. The game will be available on day one on Xbox and PC Game Pass. Starfield will also be available on all the platforms powered by Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Release Date

The game has already been delayed multiple times and has yet to have a definite release date, which has frustrated the fans. Only a tentative release window, ‘first half of 2023,’ is confirmed.

But according to some recent rumors, Xbox is planning to host a significant Xbox-exclusive event in the first quarter of 2023. So if these rumors are accurate, we might get a definite release date and even more gameplay of the game at that event.

Furthermore, last week the support page for Starfield went live and reconfirmed that Starfield will be released as per schedule; in the first half of 2023.

Pricing

Microsoft has already confirmed that they will be raising the prices of all Xbox products, including the games, to the new industry standard of $70, especially their upcoming AAA titles. As they were only waiting for the holiday season to pass, and now this new increased price policy will be implemented in 2023. 

Starfield will be Xbox’s next AAA exclusive, it will most likely debut at a price tag of $70, but it will be available for all Game Pass subscribers, and that will be a much better value if you do not care about owning your games.

Conclusion

Starfield is one of the most hyped upcoming Xbox exclusives, if not the most. It is a new experience from a beloved and well-reputed studio known for its iconic games and excellent franchises. We hope that Bethesda and Xbox fulfill the fans’ expectations with this game and successfully convince them that the wait was worth it for Starfield.

That is all we know about Starfield as of now, but we will keep you posted upon receiving any further information about it.

What are your thoughts about Starfield? Are you excited about this new space journey? Let us know in the comment section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Farhan Ali


Farhan is a passionate writer with an undying love for games, PC hardware, and technology. With nearly 5 years of experience in blogging and over 14 years of experience in gaming, this is what he loves and does best.
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