Scanning – Scanning is becoming a norm in space games. But it is a functionality we clearly see in the gameplay reveal. Very little is seen on the scanner in terms of wider functionality and if it can be upgraded or serve greater purposes, but you would imagine it can be upgraded to help with scouting role plays. That though, is pure speculation at this point.
Sound and music – Sound design, with all Bethesda Game Studios games is incredibly important. And Todd Howard has openly said it is one of the first things he likes to have an idea of before full development begins. Starfield uses music to compel it’s players, and really set the mood. The main theme song is composed, from there the other songs are created as derivatives from the original.
VASCO Utility Systems
How your companions feel about you is reflected in their behaviour towards you, and the things they say. It is unclear how many companions you can have but the fact you can hire multiple crew members hints at multiple concurrent companions.
Constellation – The last group of space explorers. They form the main questline. Which will see you hunting relics and discovering the mystery behind them. Committed to uncovering the mysteries of the galaxy.
The Crimson Fleet – A group of Space Pirates, one of the criminal factions. The questline can be played as both a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ character. If you play as good you work undercover to take them down. Like many current gangs, they are blood in, blood out.
United Colonies – The United Colonies represent the future of Space idealized. At odds with The Free Star Collective during the colony war, 20 years before the start of Starfield. Currently enjoying an uneasy peace. ‘U.C’ are also the most powerful established military and political faction in game.
Lunar Robotics – The creators of robotic utility player companion, VASCO.
Ryujin Industries – Represents corporate life. A mega corp, which to start the quest requires you to get hired. So you apply for the job and they see if you ‘cut the mustard’.
Free Star Collective – Space western fantasy. At odds with United Colonies during the colony war, 20 years before the start of Starfield. Currently enjoying an uneasy peace. A loose confederation of 3 distinct star systems. Peace keepers known as The Rocks?
Ecliptic Mercenaries – Hostile band of mercenaries.
Violent Spacers – hostile organization
House of Va’ruun – Fanatical religious zealots. Hostile.
Xenofresh Corporation – Based on The Pleasure City of Neon. They built a giant fishing platform, originally wanting to catch fish. But discovered a fish that has psychotropic properties that they can make more money selling as a drug.
Known Starship Manufacturers
- NOVA Galactic
- TAIYO ASTRONEERING
- Stroud Eklund
Known weapon types and potential mods
There are a handful of weapons we know of for sure: Assault rifle, shotgun, SMG, pistol, melee. What we also know for sure is that weapons can have a variety of mods and attachments to them.
- Sarah – From Constellation. She appears to be one of your handlers at Constellation.
- Barrett – From Constellation. He is an adventurer, scientist, explorer and a friendly face you will meet in constellation. (Sounds like potential for player companion)
Starfield ‘Settled Systems’
New Atlantis – New Atlantis space port is the Capital city of the United Colonies on the planet Jemison. The city is ‘a true melting pot’ and has citizens from every race, creed and ethnicity. In a lot of ways New Atlantis is a true reflection of the future of our world. (Western society). It is the biggest city in Starfield but it is also the biggest city that Bethesda have ever built. Many factions require you to go here, ships can be upgraded here but it also plays home to Constellation.
Neon – The capital known as ‘The Pleasure City’. Home to Xenofresh corporation and the source planet of Aurora – the psychotropic drug only legal on Neon, that gives Neon its nickname of The Pleasure City. People come from all over to experience it and ‘everything else’ Neon has to offer.
Akila – Akila City is the capital of the Free Star Collective. The people of Akila come from all around but all believe in the sanctity of personal freedom and individuality. Akila City is a walled city, and walled for a reason. There are deadly alien lifeforms known as Ashta that look to be a cross between wolf and velociraptor.
Narion – The Narion system includes planet Anselon and volcanic the moon, Kreet. Kreet being a known location of a group of Crimson Fleet pirates when starting Starfield.
Our Solar System is known to be included in this game with Mars known to have a structure on it.
See map once available:
Constellation, the last group of space explorers and the faction that you join up with for the main quest. They are trying to figure out the mysteries of the Universe, old earth artefacts as well as new artefacts that they don’t understand.
The Crimson Fleet a criminal faction quest. Play as either good or bad.
United Colonies VS The Freestar Collective – The two main factions (Starfield’s Storm Cloaks and Imperials)
Ryujin Industries a corporate style quest.
As we don’t know the details of any yet, for now, here is one we have made up… Just for fun.
Sniffing out the Smugglers
The setting: The settled system of Neon, on a quest on behalf of the United Colonies to investigate a suspected drug smuggling operation.
Arriving on the system after being asked to investigate the smuggling of aurora to the other systems, which is decimating productivity of the citizens and causing large scale theft and violence amongst the United Colonies, as well as widespread health repercussions. As you arrive you are greeted by an entourage of very official looking locals.
You are welcomed warmly by one of the locals who introduces themselves as the second in command of Neon, specifically they oversee the harvesting of aurora. You are told they have been expecting you and they offer to show you to the head honcho, and the place where you are to be based from while you carry out your investigation. Upon meeting the chief of the system of Neon, you are again welcomed, but when your concerns are raised, they are very dismissive, and the entourage of guards mutter suspiciously under their breaths. You are assured however, to do what you need to do. And any support or access requirements for your investigation, can be provided by the deputy who greeted you when you landed. You are then taken back to your quarters where you are able to speak to any locals to gather clues. Sadly, you are not able to gather much, but you are told of the location of the fishermen who catch the fish to harvest aurora. You then are able to rest before the quest progresses.
As you wake up a new quest objective pops, and you venture off to the fishing dockyard. When you arrive, you are met by the captain of the fishing fleet. He is a classic weather-beaten sailor, with a grizzled voice and plenty of scars. He is not very pleased to see you but co-operates. He begrudgingly shows you around their operation and informs you that the aurora is safely stored at the bottom of the ocean, under Neon. If you want to investigate further, it will require you to dive deep under the ocean. Sadly, something your ship cannot do. You make your way around the crew and are able to bribe, charm or intimidate a crew member into giving you the keys to one of the aquatic ships, but they warn you to go only under the cover of night. (They also look visibly frightened) …
Welcome to The Pleasure City (of Neon) where the aurora is pure and the streets are gritty
You can wait around until nightfall, go explore areas of Neon, or go back to your quarters and rest. Either way, when you go at nightfall to the harbour where the aquatic ships are kept, you must sneak in or assassinate any guards. It must be done stealthily though; any other way will trigger the guards and you will fail the quest. Getting past this and into the ship you get to dive deep underwater, and Neon. To reach your goal you will have to manoeuvre your way past giant man-eating fish. Once you get to the underwater containers, you are able to look around. At first everything seems normal, but upon further investigation you see the edges of a small pipe that appears to be siphoning out aurora. At this point, you get a quest update telling you to report your findings to the chief of Neon. You turn around, get in the ship, and make your way back to the surface. When you arrive back it is evident that someone is onto you, there are guards everywhere, and you overhear them wondering who took the missing ship.
Navigating your way back, again undetected, you get back to your quarters and speak to the chief’s deputy. Unfortunately, the chief has been detained by a ‘disruption’ out of town and you are encouraged to relax, have a drink, and wait for him to report your findings. A few minutes in to drinking suddenly your vision starts to go blurry with crazy colours, until you are unable to see anything at all… Then the screen fades to black.
You awake to find you are locked in a cell in a currently unknown location. You look around, and you can see these giant crazy looking aliens with insane looking laser-sword weapons (a shout-out to the lightsaber). At this point you then realise all of your inventory has been taken (but you have massive physical stat increases), but for your lockpicking device. You must pick your way out, and after sneaking past one or two of these bizarre and terrifying looking creatures, you find some of their weapons and armour which you can equip. Once you have this you are able to fight your way through this bizarre looking place (where you are obviously still tripping from the drink that was spiked). Eventually, you get to a locked door in an apparently empty looking room. The door looks familiar though, similar to the ones by the fishing boatyard. You try to open the door, but it requires a key. When you turn around to look to start looking for it, suddenly you see a demi-boss. They laugh and berate you, telling you how you fell into their trap and that you will never stop the smuggling of the highly sought-after drug, aurora. After defeating him (you discover it was the captain of the fleet), you are able to loot him, and you find the key out into the dockyard, which is empty. There is, however, a door near to the original exit you took, but that must have been invisible to you prior… Perhaps because of the effects of the aurora. You are able to open it with the key from before and you travel up a long, eerie staircase. Along this staircase you find a storage locker with all of your inventory in, and some healers…
Continuing on, the décor starts to look familiar again as you realise you are just under the main chambers of the aristocratic lot, who serve the Chief of Neon. Just as you think you are about to make it out alive you enter a large, empty, ovular chamber. You must be sure to have equipped your old weapons, because you realise that the weapons you looted were just fish bones and other useless scraps. You discover that the Chief’s deputy is the one in charge of the smuggling operation, and is in fact a gangster, one of the ones you have heard of. Who’s notoriety carries across the known universe. A very tough boss battled ensues.
Once you defeat them, you are treated to some top notch, levelled loot; as well as the option to take on their role in the operation. If you do, the game will react to it, crime and poverty will increase, but you will benefit with great riches and be able to get mercenaries to back you in tricky quests. If you choose the good path, crime will dry up and things will improve with new quests revealing themselves and more merchants will appear, and you will be gifted a house in Neon.
Well that was fun… Back to what we know now!
What did we learn from the Starfield gameplay and external Bethesda interviews?
From watching the Starfield gameplay and listening to Todd Howard speak to IGN’s Ryan McCaffery we discovered that there are at least 16 optional traits for us to choose from, possibly up to 20. For role playing purposes, some cancel the others out. There are also a similar number of character backgrounds for us to choose from which give our character stat boosts, which also ties into the role playing aspect.
We saw the combat, which was apparently somewhat divisive… Even though it looks as slick and varied as a Bethesda Game Studios game has ever been. With the use of evasive manoeuvres combined with quick and easy weapon changes that maintain immersion. Starfield looks like it is going to have fantastic action gameplay. This is arguably an area that Bethesda Game Studios games have been weaker in, when compared to other RPGs, so it is nice to see clear improvements in this area. We learned about flight, character customisations, weapons, upgrades biomes and a little about the main quest line and the unknown artefacts to solve the mysteries of the universe.
From 160,000 lines of dialogue this time last year, there has been a significant jump up to over 200,000 now. It has also been mentioned that there are over 300 voice actors! An incredible jump really.
Space combat is on the slower side. Shields, weapons and thruster power must be managed carefully. Transition will not be seamless between space and planet, but travelling around each planet is possible.
Information given via interviews with other outlets/other references:
Starfield Playlist Bethesda YouTube