After 25 years, Bethesda Game Studios has created an entirely new universe.
From the award-winning creators of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 4, Starfield is a next-gen RPG that will take you on a heroic journey through space and time.
Bethesda recently gave a lengthy presentation on their new title, set to release September 6th on Xbox and PC, at the recent Xbox Bethesda Showcase 2023 event. They provided a massive amount of information. This won’t be completely comprehensive, but we’ll briefly break things down and provide a general overview of what you can expect when you jump in. So, here is your Starfield preview:
Bethesda Game Studios has created an enthralling history leading up to the start of Starfield in the year 2330: established factions and alliances, wars, treaties, and possessing an unknown Artifact.
Your adventure begins with an invitation to join the remaining space exploration enterprise – Constellation. Tasked with finding more of these artifacts, your journey will take you across the galaxy to navigate and explore more than 1000 planets while meeting and recruiting a number of various characters, joining factions, and setting out on quests all over the Settled Systems.
Main & Side Quests
While the main storyline is no doubt elaborate, deep, and time-consuming (which is inevitable as a 100+GB download), there will be no shortage of side quests. What’s even better is that side quests in the game won’t necessarily be dependent upon your progression in the main story.
During the Bethesda Showcase, game director Todd Howard confirmed that all of these different quests and missions, everything that you come across, happen simultaneously. While this could give way to some chaos in your adventures, it will allow for moments utterly unique to each player, amplified even more by your choice of skills and traits.
Character Creation & Customization
In classic Bethesda fashion, they have created a plethora of options for customizing your character. We all know how intricate this can be, but they made a simple process while keeping all the options available.
Starting with one of forty presets to get you started, you’ll then be able to go through all the typical facial features, hair specs, jewelry, jaw and neck, body type, etc., and even your walk. And, of course, if you ever feel the need to change any of these details, you can do so later in the game at a genetics facility.
Background and Traits
You will start the game with your choice of three skills. Different from your trait choices, these starting skills will not align your character with any specific faction, and they will not present any negative side effects. These are basically three free skills from the skill tree, and they will give you a jump-start on building your character’s history from the beginning.
I’ve already touched on the possibility of unique situations as you discover and tackle side quests. Your background choices will enhance these, as you will have specific options and NPC interactions during your quests, which could make things less or possibly more difficult for you.
You will also have your choice of three traits; however, these slots are entirely optional. While these traits have positive effects, unlike your three skills, they also have adverse side effects. It’s possible to forgo adding traits to these slots to avoid the negative side effects, but I’m curious to see just how bad they can be and what kind of combinations you can create between skills and traits. A positive note is that if you don’t like a specific trait, it sounds like you can remove/replace them at will.
There are five specific skill trees you can follow that will allow you to tailor your playstyle. If you’ve played Fallout 4, you’ll find this a familiar mechanic, as each skill has four tiers.
There’s a bit of a catch to how you will develop and grow in your preferred skill set. You must complete a challenge at every tier and then spend a skill point to move on to the next tier. While you won’t have to spend skill points as a sort of prerequisite to progress through a skill tree, you will need to unlock a certain number of skills to reach the best ones in that skill tree.
Ships and Shipbuilding
Being such a large and robust world of exploration and in space, no less, your character and crew will need to get around. Shortly after your start in Starfield, you’ll receive your very own ship from Constellation. At this point, you can visit ship technicians to customize your ship.
With that said, you will also be able to steal ships with the pirating boarding feature. Now, you can use that ship to continue piracy or upgrade or sell it. However, this option can be costly, as you must register the ship at a port, which will require a good number of credits.
The main components of your ship include the cockpit, habitat (“the hab”), engines, and fuel tanks. All of these contribute to the overall mass of your ship, and in general, the heavier it is, the stronger your engines need to be to get around efficiently. They also contribute to specific “buffs” for your ship. For example, the larger the hab unit, the more crew you can have at your disposal. An additional feature to note is the gravity drive, which is what will allow you to make jumps between systems.
You’ll also have a defensive shield and three different offensive systems, including lasers, ballistics, and electromagnetic weapons, each having a different effect on and damage to enemy ships.
Combat and Weapons
“We probably have more mods and more weapons in this game than…any other game we’ve done before.”(8) Starfield Direct – Gameplay Deep Dive – YouTube
I’ve always been intrigued by space combat, and the peek they provide in the gameplay trailer makes the release of Starfield even more exciting (among so many other aspects).
There will be many categories of weapons to choose from, including assault rifles, laser and ballistic pistols, energy particle beam rifles, snipers, shotguns, SMGs, and, of course, knives and axes for you melee people out there.
Within these categories are two classes:
- Physical: ballistic and magazine-based weapons.
- Energy: laser and particle beam weapons.
Lastly, another tool that will play an important part in combat is your Boost Pack, allowing you to gain the high ground and maneuver your way in firefights as you dodge incoming fire and bridge the gap quickly between your enemies. It can also be upgraded and modified for extra boost or time in the air.
Planets and Exploration
While Bethesda has included numerous features in every aspect of their new title, the team has no doubt worked incredibly hard on this new universe, portrayed by its sheer size, with 1,000 planets to visit and explore.
One cool thing in regard to this is Bethesda’s mechanic for generating these planets. Generally speaking, the team created them all to be scientifically sound in that they compare visually to what we know of other planets in the galaxy. They also studied some data from NASA to help make traveling distances more realistic and accurate and planetary atmospheres as well.
This creates realism in the aspects of space and characteristics of planets that we, as the human race, are currently privy to.
How awesome is that?!
In addition, you won’t have to land on every single planet if you don’t want to. You will be able to survey the planet with a scan to determine its resources and POIs.
Other Starfield preview features
While I covered some of the main highlights and exciting game features in the main Starfield preview, I wanted to include some of the other aspects and mechanics I didn’t cover but that you can expect to see when you begin your journey in Bethesda’s new universe:
- Major Factions
- Minor Factions
- Crew & Companions
- Ship Stats & Customization
- Ship Combat
- Trading & Outposts
- Weapon Stats
I’ve watched more than one Starfield preview from other enthusiasts, and each time, I pick up a little more nuance and become increasingly excited to get into this massive title from Bethesda.
From everything I’ve gathered so far, Starfield is basically Mass Effect on steroids, even having some similar mechanics and features. Mass Effect is another one of my favorite game series, so I’m excited to dive deep into a massively new and exciting space exploration RPG.
Check back for a follow-up!
I’ll be jumping into Starfield when it releases on September 6th. Give me a couple of weeks to really get into it, and check back here at The Game of Nerds at the end of the month for my initial review as a follow-up to this Starfield preview!
Happy gaming, nerds!
Another top-of-the-line RPG you need to check out: read all about the popular gaming series and the top three reasons why you should play it in my first article.