Starfield, what you need to know so far

Starfield, what you need to know so far

By  Martin Heath - 11th Aug 2023

Videogame equivalent of 10 year astronaut training.

Starfield, what you need to know so far

Bethesda is known for the high fantasy world of The Elder Scrolls and the unforgiving wasteland of Fallout and these titans of entertainment have long been among the most anticipated titles in any expo. When the studio announced in the distant year of 2018 that a whole new property was taking flight after 25 years and it  would be set in space, it’s safe to say our anticipation skyrocketed! Starfield promises to be absolutely massive in both scale and scope, so with the release date closing in, here’s what you need to know before you hop out into the stars.

New engine, new beginning

Back in November we learned that Starfield would be breaking new ground by using a completely new engine to improve both the animations and graphical quality to new heights. Todd Howard stated in a Reddit AMA that the game features a robust character creation system to create the perfect character for your coming starbound journey. Additionally, Howard teased the addition of robot companions and even full mod support, with the NPC’s of the game getting extra attention as they play an important role in the games narrative and its development. 

The game’s art direction also deviates from the established norm by going for a contrasting NASA Punk aesthetic, with advanced technology that still seems somewhat grounded.With NASA’s rigid function over style mentality mixed with messy Punk look, expect your ship and the spaces you visit will look well worn, lived in, and maybe even a bit retro instead of sterile white and cyan. We have high hopes for Starfield's new engine and hope the final product can deliver!

The Stars Await

The Stars Await

When you hear star-spanning sci-fi space adventure and Bethesda in the same sentence, your mind, if it works like ours, goes to imagining the alien landscapes you´ll be able to explore and the plethora of creatures you can find and meet! Set in the space year 2330, players will travel far beyond our humble Solar System into what is called the Settled Systems. 20 years ago the system was rocked by the Colony Wars between the two largest factions of the Settled Systems: the United Colonies, who value law and humanity, viewing themselves as the true legacy of humanity, and the Freestar Collective, a coalition reminiscent of the old west who are independent and believe in using intuition in their what governance they have. Though there is now a fragile peace between the factions, the Settled Systems are anything but safe, as pirates and mercenaries still roam the void of space!

The different locations you will visit, such as the United Colonies’ city New Atlantis, promise to be spectacular, with New Atlantis being the largest city that Bethesda has ever made in their history of games and still brimming with the hustle and bustle of life. When exploring the outskirts of space or deep in the thickets of an alien jungle, Outposts are your friends! Acting as your base-camp, build your outpost to fit your needs: add crafting and research stations, add automated resource harvesting, or add your very own armoury with weapon modification systems!

To make your way in the never ending expanse of space, you have a few tools handy: with the Star Map, you can view information on the planet you are on, its key locations, lifeforms and any possible missions it may have, telling you at a glance what a planet has in store. Additionally, you can use the Map to choose your landing spot, fast travel to any location you’ve previously visited or zoom out to see what other planets your current system has to offer! Plot a course, fold space and set off on a new adventure! With the proper upgrades, the infinite is the limit. Be careful though! You never know what the journey may bring, from asteroid fields and harrowing space battles, to derelict ships to explore, Starfield has much in store.

Your ship, the Mobile Home of the future

Like a horse to a cowboy, a ship is the core of a spacefarer's life. Starfield has recognized this and offers a slew of options! There are multiple different manufacturers of ships, each with their own unique quirks and habits, not only affecting your ship’s stats, but also affecting what you do inside it. Not happy with your ship? Use the extensive ship customisation menu to change it up or upgrade that laser beam into a laser cannon, or deep dive into the ship builder mode and make something completely unique!

Now, a ship does not run on money and gumption alone.To keep your home running smoothly and have someone to chat with on those long-haul flights, hire some friends from your employer to join your crew, bringing their special unique skills and even questlines along for the ride! You can also hire crew from most spaceports or even find some during your travels! You can even delegate crewmembers to work on your outposts or join you in the field!

Grab the helm and feel the power

Grab the helm and feel the power

Hop into the cockpit of your loyal ship and take it for a spin! Not only are you in complete control of your flying home, but you can also use the power allocation system to boost that crucial laser blast or make sure your shields can withstand one more blow. The flying and combat in Starfield will keep you on your toes, as you never know what lies behind the next asteroid, so make sure to keep your wits about you! On defeating your enemy, loot their ship or even board them to make sure every last enemy is vanquished! If you happen to find another ship especially fancy, you can even take control of it and add it to your collection at any space port! Maybe those space pirates had the right idea after all…

The star of the show, you!

The Settled Systems are currently at peace, but it is fragile and needs someone to maintain it! This is where Constellation comes in. Constellation is a mythical group known as “the last true explorers” of the galaxy. This organisation, led by ex-soldier Sarah Morgan, works behind the scenes, keeping the peace and trying to uncover the mysteries of the systems! You, their newest recruit, are tasked with searching for mysterious artefacts that seem to be… calling you.

As in The Elder Scrolls and Fallout series, character customisation is an important part of Starfield. Starting with a set of 40 presets, you can modify them to your heart's content, making your recruit unique with the multiple options, in addition to choosing a fitting background to get your starting skills and traits. Want to visit your parents, maybe have an adoring fan to rave about your journeys? Starfield has you covered!

Once your recruit is perfect and you set off on your unforgettable quest amid the stars, you can continue building your character with each level up, unlocking or ranking skills from the five different skill trees! Completing ever harder challenges will unlock more ranks for your skills, making sure your favourite skills will keep on increasing naturally as you play. The available skill trees are as follows: Physical, Social, Combat, Science, and Tech. As an example, the Xenosociology skill under the Social tree would allow you to control alien lifeforms, and the Boost Pack Training skill under the Tech tree will make sure you can keep in the air longer!

Weapons and Weightlessness

Weapons and Weightlessness

The combat in Starfield promises to be very different to what we’re used to in Bethesda's other RPG titles. With the addition of Booster Packs to fly around the battlefield and multiple mods to make your guns adaptable, there is a lot to consider. Gear can also do only so much, as the environment may be against you! Some weapons may be affected strangely by the local gravity, forcing you to both think on your feet (or in the air) and consider your loadout carefully. If you feel long range is for cowards, you can also equip yourself with some melee weapons and Booster Pack your way into the thick of the action! Experiment, test, and find the right way for you!

We cannot wait!

It's not long now, because Bethesda have told us when we can start playing!

  • Early Access has a global release time of 12 AM GMT on 1st September, meaning that it will actually launch on 31st August at 5 PM PT / 8 PM ET
  • Full Release Wednesday, 6th September, 2023 at 12 AM GMT. Thanks to the game having a single global release time, the US will actually get access to Starfield's full release on 5th September at 5 PM PT / 8 PM ET.

*All dates and times are subject to change

The release of Starfield, coming 6th of September is tantalisingly close but oh so far. Thankfully, we still have time to check out and decide on which edition of the game we´ll go home with!

For the Collector’s Edition of Starfield, fans can have their own Constellation Explorer’s Watch. This is the same watch as the one you get in the game which is a part of your HUD. The Constellation Explorer’s Watch will connect to your phone, and you can get notifications through it.

It comes into a snazzy case inspired by the cases from the Apollo era. It has a NATO strap, and it looks as if it comes from the Starfield universe. 

With the Xbox Hardware team, they have created a limited edition controller for Xbox, with a custom headset. These are designed with your spaceship in mind.

If you pre-order now, you’ll get access to the Old Mars Skin Pack featuring a Deep Mining Helmet and Pack and a Laser Cutter.

The Starfield Digital Premium Edition comes with five Days Early Access, the Shattered Space First Story Expansion, Constellation Skin Pack, and a Digital Soundtrack and Artbook. The Constellation Edition includes all of these, plus the Digital Game Download, Steelbook Display Case, Starfield Chronomark Watch, Watch Case, and Constellation Pack.

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