Here’s everything you need to know about Starfield, the highly anticipated Sci-Fi RPG by Bethesda Game Studios, just a few days after the conclusion of the Starfield Direct, the exclusive event held by Microsoft and Bethesda.
Just a few days ago, the Xbox Games Showcase + Starfield Direct came to an end, and it’s safe to say that it was one of the most successful and entertaining showcases of 2023.
A monumental event recently concluded, revealing Microsoft’s ambitious plans spanning from Q2 of 2023 to 2024. And right after the showcase, we had the Starfield Direct, an absolutely stellar event that showcased the boundless potential of Starfield, the highly anticipated new IP by Bethesda Game Studios.
An event that Xbox’s VP of Marketing, Aaron Greenberg, emphatically recommended we brace ourselves for by wearing an extra pair of underwear. Well, we must say, he wasn’t entirely wrong!
Today, we will dive into the Starfield Direct, a extraordinary 45-minute event packed with gameplay footage and an abundance of details and information from the Bethesda team about the game’s key features, such as combat mechanics, exploration systems, space travel, character creation, companions, and an array of other remarkable features that we’ll delve into extensively in this article.
Welcome to the Starfield Direct
Greeting us from the Bethesda Studios is the landlord, the enthusiastic Todd Howard, Game Director of Starfield.
The Direct officially kicks off with Howard expressing his gratitude to the audience, the players, and those who have wholeheartedly embraced Bethesda’s timeless productions like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout. He then transitions to Starfield, shedding light on the driving forces behind the birth of Bethesda’s new IP:
“We’d often talk about and dream up the ‘space game’. What if we could take that feeling of being who you want to be and exploring a new world but set in space, where you weren’t limited in where you could go or what you could do. And that is Starfield.”
Howard then reflects on Bethesda Softworks’ extensive journey, suggesting that what we are about to witness in their new production is built upon their foundation, their technological advancements, and the culmination of their previous creations’ successes. However, in this regard, Starfield will be something different from anything we have seen before.
“We’ve never tried to make a game like this.”
Starfield will mark Bethesda’s first completely new universe in over 25 years. It presents a refreshing, uncharted, and limitless universe, all while remaining true to the distinctive trademark that has defined the company’s identity thus far.
“It’s not just One World…It’s over a Thousand Worlds”
It is fascinating, almost awe-inspiring, to observe the immense depth of content that Starfield will offer. It’s as if Bethesda, in a remarkable manner, aimed to recreate in-game the vastness and and limitless scale of the universe.
And, probably, the news we have all been eagerly anticipating has been confirmed by Todd Howard himself. Yes, Starfield will feature over 1000 explorable planets, each hosting its own unique flora, fauna, and diverse ecosystem. Get ready to embark on a journey through a galaxy teeming with planets to explore, where each one showcases its own remarkable planetary illumination, determined by the type of star and atmosphere level specific to that planet.
“From the rocks at your feet to the mountains in the distance, to the people and creatures that live in these worlds.”
Howard introduces us to the vast possibilities that the multi-world system of Starfield can offer. Everything that has been created and developed is not just a mere backdrop, but an active participant in the overall experience.
Bethesda’s goal is to deliver a meticulously handcrafted experience, especially in the exploratory aspect of the game. While the planetary technology and “planetary system” of Starfield generate planets “as procedural content, but the hand-crafted content itself comes as the player explores.”
This means that, although the narrative will follow a predetermined path, the exploration aspect will be a unique and distinct feature for every player. The experience will evolve as players explore the planets and the galaxy, resulting in a highly personalized journey that is unlikely to unfold in the same way for another player.
Your World, your Spaceship
Without a doubt, in order to travel through the galaxy and embark on planetary exploration, you’ll need a spaceship.
In Starfield, you can acquire your ship in countless ways, such as stealing one or purchasing it from a legitimate seller to abide by the law, just like any law-abiding citizen and honest buyer would.
Once you have obtained your own personal spaceship, you will be able to navigate the galaxy, visit planets, establish a home base, or even engage in acrobatic maneuvers while in hyperspace.
Space will not always provide a safe haven, as it will become the battleground for thrilling spaceship battles. Shedding light on this aspect is Senior Level Designer Zachary Wilson, who emphasizes the importance of personal choice and strategic approach in shaping your own unique experience during space combat.
“You should feel like you’re in complete control every step of the way” and stresses that this control should encompass the mechanics of navigation, piloting skills, and power allocation system. “It’s an intricate dance,” Wilson adds.
You will have the option to divert power to your engines for a lightning-fast acceleration or allocate additional energy to weapons and shields to prepare for an imminent battle. By unlocking the unique ability “Targeting Control System“, you will also be able to “zero in on specific subsystems of the ship you are targeting.”
As mentioned earlier, player’s approach is crucial.You can choose to engage in intense ship-to-ship combat, or take a more daring approach by docking with the enemy vessel and boarding their ship, eliminating the entire crew.
But space is more than all of this. It embodies exploration, adventure, discovery, and sheer wonder. That’s why it is not just important, but essential, for you to be the ones who unravel its mysteries and unlock its secrets.
The exploratory component will be the driving force behind our personal experience in Starfield, and it stands as one of the core features upon which the Bethesda team builds a new beginning, a new galaxy within the gaming world.
Let’s reiterate that Starfield will feature a brand-new animation system, providing players with the ability to seamlessly switch between third-person and first-person perspectives. The exploration system in Starfield will be expansive, immersive, and highly rewarding.
Lead Landscape Artist Matt Carofano highlights the importance of the “freedom” concept that underlies the player’s experience in the game. Before landing on a planet, players will have the freedom to decide whether to scan it, obtaining a sneak peek of the available resources they can use for crafting, building and customizing.
As mentioned earlier, there is a wide range of handcrafted content that makes each planet unique in its vegetation, resources, endemic plants, local fauna, and other exclusive features, making every terrain in Starfield truly unique.
One aspect we’ve eagerly anticipated, and that will not be missing according to Lead Technical Producer Jean-Francois Levesque, is that touch of “environmental storytelling” which has been a cornerstone of the company for years.
Let’s not forget to mention the outposts, a notable feature, particularly if you plan to establish your foundations on a specific planet.
The outposts will be our home base, a refuge, but also a true hub for cargo distribution. They can be built almost anywhere and on any planet. We will have access to various shapes and sizes of habitat modules where we can stay or even reside permanently. Additionally, we’ll have the ability to assign tasks to our companions, earning in-game bonuses for our endeavors.
Also, remember that resource extractors will work non-stop, ensuring the collection of resources even in your absence while you are, for example, exploring another planet.
Furthermore, Starfield introduces another particularly interesting element: a kind of fly cam that allows you to build, shape, and customize your outpost with an isometric view, providing a more “global” perspective of your home base. If, on the other hand, you wish to customize the interiors, you can switch to a bottom-up view to decorate and fine-tune the outpost’s interior according to your preferences.
Shape your own story
Over the years, Bethesda has made notable strides in character development and the character editor. Starfield, in this regard, represents the pinnacle of this pursuit, taking it to the next level. The character creation system is significantly broader, more diverse, and heterogeneous compared to what has been seen in previous productions.
This achievement has been made possible thanks to extensive research on the character generation system, which involved scanning a wide range of faces from different age groups and ethnicities. By mixing and matching out that data the developers were able to create highly diverse character models, offering a rich variety of options for players.
Players will be able to choose from a lineup of 40 preset models as a starting point in character creation. From there, they can add details or dive straight into the action. As Lead Character Artist Ben Carnow notes, the character editor offers unparalleled possibilities, despite being the simplest character generation system ever used by the team.
But if you think that the customization of your character is limited to purely aesthetic aspects, well, you’re mistaken. This is where we introduce backgrounds, the distinctive traits that will identify you in Starfield. Backgrounds will provide you with a brief backstory about your class and three starting skills.
As you can see, there are numerous selectable classes, as well as extensive customization options in the editor, more than 16 as far as we can see. The impression is that the character editor is truly deep and well-structured, giving us the ability to create truly interesting combinations.
The only thing that hasn’t blown us away so far is the reproduction of facial animations, which can sometimes lack precision, particularly when observing NPCs.
Will there be Romances in Starfield?
Traveling sometimes means sharing your space with other people, or in your case, with companions, with a crew.
If you had concerns about venturing through the galaxy alone, fear not. It is highly likely that many of the companions you forge friendships with will join you and and travel by your side. It’s important to note that each companion possesses unique abilities that you can leverage on the ship or during specific quest lines.
And if you need to expand your crew with new members, you can always recruit them at the spaceport or or encounter them while traveling to different planets.
And yes, I know you were wondering about it. Starfield will indeed feature romances. As you develop a close bond with a specific character, a romance may also blossom, allowing you to transform a friendship or or companionship to something deeper—an intimate romantic relationship.
And if your character doesn’t enjoy the company of humans, you can always rely on the charming Vasco, a perfect example of robotic engineering designed following the model of a NASA robot. However, Bethesda has infused Vasco with humanoid features like elongated mechanical arms and an empathetic, emotional, almost human-like personality. Trust me, Vasco will be your favorite crew member.
Advanced and modern Combat System
As with almost every component of Starfield, the combat system has also undergone extensive analytical study and continuous research by Bethesda.
The developers have completely overhauled the combat mechanics, from the dynamic nature of battles to smoother animations. The combat system will feature Bethesda’s most advanced and modern shooter system.
As we could predict beforehand, there will be a wide range of weapon customization options available through the mod system. Players will have extensive choices for modifications, including different types of sights, larger magazines, various grips, barrels, and different types of ammunition, including explosive rounds. Moreover, for players who prefer a stealthy approach, it will be possible to attach a suppressor to their weapon.
Bethesda’s goal is to create an experience that strikes a balance between realism, simulation, and Hollywood-esque fiction, aiming to make the experience as enjoyable as possible.
Ballistic, Energy, and Magnetic Weapons
Weapons will naturally be divided into firearms and a wide variety of melee weapons, including axes, knives, and other sharp weapons for close-quarters combat. In the absence of weapons, it will also be possible to engage enemies (and even creatures) with bare hands. There will also be some iconic support weapons, including grenades, freezing bombs, and other additional weapons, to make combat more manageable.
And then there’s the issue of gravity. It’s an important factor for our spaceman, especially on planets with zero gravity, which makes it challenging to move around and handle certain ballistic weapons. In this regard, the jetpack serves as an excellent tool for movement across the map and a valuable asset in combat. It allows you to cover long distances in no time, providing enhanced mobility and strategic advantages.
Planets with zero gravity present a substantial challenge and a non-trivial problem for our weapons. In these conditions, ballistic weapons experience considerable recoil. As a result, it is recommended to use energy weapons for better stability in such cases, or alternatively, magnetic induction ballistic weapons to inflict severe damage to enemies.
Constellation Edition, Chronomark Watch, Custom Controller, and Headset
During the Starfield Direct, there was also room for an interesting interlude that revealed a lot of valuable Starfield-themed content, including the highly anticipated Collector’s Edition.
In addition to the Standard and Deluxe Editions of Starfield, Bethesda has officially unveiled the Constellation Edition, a highly valuable Collector’s Edition featuring numerous gadgets and in-game items to redeem, along with the Chronomark Watch. The Constellation Edition also grants up to 5 days of early access. Here is the content included in this edition:
- Starfield base game
- Shattered Space Story Expansion (upon release)
- Up to 5 days early access
- Constellation Skin Pack
- Access to Starfield Digital Artbook & Original Soundtrack
- Steelbook Display Case
- Constellation Patch
- Credit Stick with Laser-Etched Game Code
- Starfield Chronomark Watch & Case
The Constellation Edition of Starfield is priced at $299.99.
As you may have noticed, the Constellation Edition includes a fully functional watch, which is a perfect replica of the Constellation Explorers Watch that our spaceman acquires in the game for compass and environmental information. The watch can connect to your smartphone, providing notifications and other information, and it comes with a beautiful case that houses the Chronowatch, inspired by the ones astronauts wore during the Apollo Era.
They couldn’t miss out, thanks to the partnership between Bethesda and Microsoft, a custom limited edition Starfield-themed controller inspired by spaceship controls, and the custom headset, always obviously inspired by the colors of Starfield.
3… 2… 1… Liftoff
Well, saying that this Starfield Direct impressed us is an understatement.
Bethesda has provided us with so many, countless details that give us great hope, laying the foundation for what appears to be an incredibly deep and long-lasting project.
While waiting to discover more details from Bethesda, we would like to remind you that Starfield is launching exclusively on Xbox Series X/S and PC on September 6th, and Day One on Xbox Game Pass.
Keep following us to stay updated on the latest news about Bethesda’s upcoming Sci-Fi RPG, and make sure to keep an eye on their official website so you don’t miss out on the limited Constellation Edition.