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Starfield: Everything we know so far

Here’s everything you need to know about Starfield.

In Starfield, the latest massive open-world RPG from Bethesda Softworks, you explore space - the final frontier - from the busy streets of the closest human colony to the wild, unclaimed worlds at the edge of the galaxy.

Starfield promises to be an entertaining space expedition to "answer humanity’s greatest mystery".' This sci-fi epic comes from the same creators as The Elder Scrolls and modern Fallout series, and is the studio's first new IP in 25 years.

Naturally, Bethesda fans are psyched. It doesn't even matter that Starfield remains mostly a mystery, because even though we've seen a decent amount of gameplay in trailers, there have been no hands-on public previews. It's apparently a "bit more hardcore of a role-playing game", which is really saying something after Skyrim. As Bethesda releases tiny tidbits of news here and there, a more cohesive picture of the story and gameplay begin to form.

Here’s everything you need to know about Starfield, including all recent news, videos and leaks.

When can I play Starfield?

Starfield’s release date is set for September 6th, 2023 - tantalisingly close.

Starfield was expected to launch on 11th November 2022 for Xbox Series X/S and PC but it was delayed to September 2023 at the start of the year. After a previous delay in March which gave a "first half of 2023" release date, Bethesda put out an official launch date trailer confirming the new September 6th release date.

Microsoft first teased Starfield at E3 2018, then kept quiet about it until it dropped a new trailer and exact release date at E3 2021. Starfield is currently set to release before The Elder Scrolls 6, but is likely to share a some key features.

You can play Starfield as much as five days early if you pre-order the "Premium Upgrade" or the collector's "Constellation Edition".

Is Starfield Xbox exclusive, or is it on PlayStation too?

Starfield is an Xbox console exclusive - it will be available on both PC and Xbox Series X/S, but not on PlayStation.

Microsoft has been redoubling its efforts to promote Xbox Game Pass, and one way to add value to its service is with exclusives, which the acquisition of a publisher like Bethesda is helping it do to. Therefore, it's not surprising that Starfield was announced as an Xbox exclusive that's skipping PlayStation.

Is Starfield on gamepass?

Incredibly, Starfield will be available on Xbox Game Pass for console and PC from day one. That means you can jump into one of the most anticipated games of the year at no extra cost to your existing subscription.

Or, if you’re not already a subscriber, you can try Starfield for the much lower price of one month’s Game Pass subscription, compared to buying the full game for full price - almost like an unlimited play-time demo.

However, doing things this way would mean you either have to pay for full rights to Starfield further down the line, continue paying for Game Pass, or lose access to it and your saved game so far.

Because of its inclusion on Game Pass, this will allow Xbox One players to run the game via Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Microsoft acquired Bethesda to bolster its stable of first-party exclusive games, and Starfield is the first huge game to come along and test the soundness of that investment. If Starfield can live up to the hype on the gameplay front, then Xbox could have yet another compelling reason to tempt players into its ecosystem - outside of the dozens of exceptional games that live on Game Pass already.

What are Starfield's system requirements?

Starfield's system requirements have been released via the Steam store. Thankfully, they seem pretty reasonable, even if the 125GB of available space is rather chunky.

Starfield Minimum System Requirements:

  • Operating System: Windows 10 version 22H2 (10.0.19045)
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 2600X, Intel Core i7-6800K
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics Card: AMD Radeon RX 5700, NVIDIA GeForce 1070 Ti
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Required Storage: 125 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: "SSD Required"

Starfield Recommended System Requirements:

  • Operating System: Windows 10/11 with updates
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X, Intel i5-10600K
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics Card: AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Required Storage: 125 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: "SSD Required"

Will Starfield come to handheld consoles?

Looking at the system requirements above, it is possible that Starfield could run on a Steam Deck.

However, it would be taxing the handheld console to its limits. If you could get it to run, performance would be unlikely to reach a playable standard. Furthermore, the rest of Bethesda's stable of open-world games don't play perfectly on Steam Deck. The likes of Oblivion, Fallout 4 and others are listed as "playable" with caveats like tiny text, icons not displaying properly, resolution issues and problems with the game's launcher.

Starfield pre-orders

If you want to lock in your pre-order for Starfield, there will be three editions available; Standard edition for $69.99/£69.99, digital-only Premium edition for $99.99/£99.99 and the $299.99/£249.99 Constellation edition. Each edition will have various bonus content as well as pre-order content, and you can find out where to purchase every edition in our Starfield pre-order guide.

Remember: Xbox Game Pass members don't need to pre-order. Microsoft has been promoting its Game Pass subscription, which seems like an increasingly valuable deal for many games you can download on either the Xbox or PC. Starfield is a confirmed first-day release Xbox Game Pass game, which means subscribers will have access to it starting on launch day just by having Xbox Game Pass.

Will you be able to mod Starfield?

Player-created mods have been 100% confirmed to be coming to Starfield.

Game Director Todd Howard has, on multiple occasions, declared Bethesda Softworks' support for mods, calling Starfield "a modders paradise". We don't know however, if this will be an expansion of Bethesda's Creation Club, which let modders upload their work and get paid for their submissions.

Post release, whatever the implementation, you can expect a steady stream of quality of life tweaks, unique items and even quests to come from the community.

Starfield gameplay

In a bid to stem the tides of hype and keep speculation from growing out of control, Bethesda dropped a 45 minute Starfield Deep Dive Trailer, delving into many key aspects of the game.

This Starfield Gameplay Deep Dive illuminated many of the interesting mechanics at play throughout the game!

Starfield is an open-world, single-player RPG in the same vein as previous Bethesda Softworks games like Fallout 4 and Skyrim. Unlike Fallout 76, Starfield does not have multiplayer. However, there are some big gameplay differences as well as similarities.

First, let’s discuss what will likely be the same. You will create your own character, deciding on their appearance, background and skill set as you do, before setting off on a self-determined journey through the galaxy.

It’s almost certain that you will be pushed into the beginning of Starfield’s main quest at the start of the game, but from there - like in other Bethesda games - you will be able to choose your next steps, either diving further into the central storyline or seeking out side missions and other discoveries, collecting loot and making your fortune.

And that leads us onto the first major difference between Starfield and other Bethesda games: the procedurally generated open world.

The space that you experience in Starfield will be different to pretty much any other player exploring the galaxy. Rather than having completely set locations to sniff out, Starfield will fit together novel starscapes from fixed pieces.

"We generate the planet itself as procedural content," Jean-Francois Levesque, Lead Technical Producer at Bethesda Softworks explained in the deep dive.

"The hand-crafted content comes as the player explores. Our system builds the planet as the player approaches it and we stitch together a block of terrain, then after that we have the system that adds interesting locations for the player to explore, creatures to encounter or plants to pick up.

"It allows us to add that touch of environmental storytelling that Bethesda is known for. So even if your friends were to visit the same planet that you have, you would have a different story to tell."

Before you land on a planet, you will be able to scan it to discover the available resources and activies, so you know what you will be getting into rather than getting frustrated as you wander aimlessly.

During the Xbox and Bethesda showcase in June 2022, Bethesda finally showcased some Starfield gameplay. The video above gives us an extended look at the first-person shooter combat, a new lockpicking mechanic, using a jetpack and best of all, you can build your own spaceship and choose your crew.

Starfield director Todd Howard also touches on the in-depth character creator tools. You can watch the video above for even more juicy details or you can read all about it in Oisin Kuhnke's coverage here at VG247.

Prior to this showcase, Starfield didn't have much information about its gameplay other than little hints from studio executives. In an interview with The Washington Post, Howard summarised it as "Skyrim in space." Bethesda Managing Director Ashley Cheng called it a 'Han Solo simulator.' Istvan Pely, the game’s lead artist, apparently dubbed the game's aesthetic as 'NASA punk.' So, at the very least, it implies an expansive space adventure with a gritty, futuristic overlay.

A note on the game's website invites players to 'create any character you want and explore with unparalleled freedom,' which lines up with the character customization and open-world elements advertised in the game.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Howard highlighted Starfield's level of freedom. "We like to put you in a world where we’re not dragging you by the nose and saying you must do X, Y and Z," he said. So that might point to non-linear progression - similar to that seen in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – or maybe just little details hidden behind each piece of the world.

Howard also explains that Starfield offers more character customization than any of Bethesda's other RPGs, even allowing players to choose their background. The protagonist, who seems to be the astronaut featured in the trailer, affiliates with a space organisation called Constellation. However, players may be able to change factions during the course of the game. Other alien races also appear.

"You know, can I read this book? Can I pick this up? Can I do this? What if I do this? What if I do this? And the game is saying ‘yes’ a lot," Howard says of Starfield.

This return to experimentation and freedom is something that the developers have talked about and hinted at too. It's clear there will be revamped character customisation options, but also how your character can change outcomes later with a new dialogue system focussing on persuasion and future goals that are part of the storyline.

There will also be a change to companions, something that's been around in previous Bethesda games. One of the companions that's been revealed is a robot named VASCO. It's also clear there will be a functional use to him, as he's capable of navigating around difficult terrain and carry extra gear.

In a video released by Bethesda in April 2022, audio director Mark Lampert and composer Inon Zur discussed the artistic process behind the music for Starfield, as well as how the score will affect your experience. You can watch Starfield's latest developer video and read what Lampert and Zur had to say in Stephanie's post.

Starfield has recently received its ESRB rating, coming in at an 'M', thanks to the inclusion of sex, drugs, and intergalactic violence. We already knew that the fictional ‘Aurora’ drug is going to be an important item in the game, but drug dealing clearly won't be the only explicit act you can get involved in.

How big will Starfield be?

The headline number of planets in Starfield is around 1000. But this number includes both story-focused sandboxes and “resource-rich” planets that will most likely only be useful for farming crafting materials.

The proportion of planets that will contain points of interest that you can actually explore, like bandit strongholds and the like, isn’t known. But the number of planets hosting hand-crafted story content will probably be much, much lower than the majority of unexplored planets geared more towards resource collection.

Despite this, we’ve already seen many exciting locations that will appear in Starfield, ranging from gleaming, space-age cities on long-settled worlds to the greatest dens of scum and villainy in the galaxy.

On the planet of Jemison in the Alpha Centauri system you find New Atlantis, one of the main cities in Starfield. It's a huge hub filled with merchants, quests, factions and other mysteries. It's also home to both Constellation and the Vanguards.

Closer to home in the Sol system, (the name for Earth's star, aka the Sun, is Sol) you have the mining city of Cydonia on Mars, which seems to be another key quest area.

Outside of the settled systems you have the wild west-inspired Freestar Collective space. In the Cheyenne system you can find its capital city, Akila City, along with a rogues' gallery of desperados.

Also in the lawless parts of Starfield's massive map, in the Volii system, you have Neon - space Vegas by any other name - where excess and vice is the stock in trade.

What Factions are in Starfield?

The main quest in Starfield revolves around Constellation, a legendary group of space explorers tasked with pushing the boundaries of human discovery.

In the gameplay deep dive, we see members of Constellation and the player interacting with a mysterious artifact which will likely form a key plot point in the overarching narrative of the game.

So far, we’ve also seen what are likely four main factions in Starfield: the Vanguards, the Crimson Dawn, the Great Serpent and the Red Mile.

It’s fun to compare these to the four major factions in past Elder Scrolls games and speculate as to which will be most similar to each. Based on the Starfield Deep Dive video, it looks like the Vanguards and Crimson Dawn are most like the Mages Guild and Fighters Guild, while the Great Serpent and Red Mile seem to function more similarly to the Dark Brotherhood and Thieves’ Guild respectively.

Given their prominence so far, it’s pretty safe to assume that each one will have a suite of quests to complete with their own unique storylines, as well as faction gear to collect.

During character creation you can choose traits which already align your character with different factions, or at least give you boosts for interacting with them or their home planets and strongholds.

The seedy underworld of the "pleasure planet" Neon also seems to function like its own faction, with an associated trait too.

Can you romance characters in Starfield?

Forming lasting relationships with memorable characters is a fundamental part of Bethesda games, and that's no different in Starfield.

Romance has been confirmed to be a part of your potential story with members of your crew, including the Constellation explorer Sarah Morgan and space cowboy Sam Coe.

"Romantic" dialogue options will most likely present themselves as you complete companion quests with your key crew members, but we don't know at this point if certain characters will only start relationships with certain genders of player-character.

Does Starfield have character creation?

As discussed, Starfield has one of the most feature-packed character creators in a Bethesda game yet.

As well as the conventional sliders that let you morph the face and body of your character, you’re also tasked with picking their “traits” and “background”.

Traits are powerful perks that can have big positive and negative effects on your adventure. Seemingly taking inspiration from Fallout: New Vegas, where you could pick traits like Four Eyes that gave your character a perception boost at the cost of needing to equip glasses to see clearly, Traits help to make each new save you embark on unique.

Some of the more involved traits we’ve seen so far include things like “Hero-Worshipped”, where you’re followed around by an “Adoring Fan” who gives you gifts as an easter egg reference to The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, and “Kid Stuff”, which lets you visit and interact with your in-game parents at the cost of 2% of the credits you earn.

The Cyberneticist character from Starfield stands next to a listing of key skills and a blurb about their background.
Image credit: Bethesda

There are also traits which make you part of a specific in-game religion. These give you access to special reward chests as well as common ground with any NPC devotees of that religion you might meet on your travels.

You can also choose personality traits such as “introvert”. Introvert makes your character use less oxygen when exploring alone, but more when travelling with a companion. If you know you want to play as a loaner, this is a pure buff. But if you’re trying to see everything in the galaxy, including companion quests, you will most likely want to choose its opposite “extrovert” - even if it makes the early game before you’ve found any companions slightly trickier.

Background on the other hand has ramifications for both role playing and gameplay. In the Deep Dive trailer, we saw NPCs react to the player’s background as a chef or beast hunter, giving them unique dialogue opportunities based on their choice.

But on top of that, each background also dictates your character’s starting skill proficiencies - similar to the Tag skills in Fallout 4 if you’ve played that game.

Whether you will be able to craft a custom backstory like in the Elder Scrolls to choose specific skills remains to be seen.

Can you build ships in Starfield?

Developers have described your ship in Starfield as like having another character as part of your crew.

There will be different types of prebuilt ship you can buy in-game, but every vessel will be customizable with new parts which alter its stats.

You can upgrade your ship's storage to increase its cargo capacity for trading, turn it into a nimble dogfighter with increased mobility and top speed, or make yourself the ultimate fast-travel machine by increasing the number of lightyears in your "Jump Range".

As well as stats, there will be a high degree of flexibility in the visual appearance of your ship too. You can mix-and-match different pieces to create cool, whacky, or just plain ugly designs to your heart's content!

That's all we have for now, but bookmark this page and keep checking back for the latest Starfield news and rumours, as well as pre-order updates. You can also follow us on Twitter for more pre-order news and the best gaming deals.

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Jessica Reyes


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