The Ultimate Official Starfield Information Source – All source material can be found throughout the article and is all from official 1st hand sources… i.e Directly from Bethesda or Todd Howard specifically

At Gamerhub we are pretty big fans of Bethesda Game Studios games. Elder Scrolls, Fallout and Starfield have all got a lot of content from us recently, so understandably there was a lot of hype when Todd Howard and team dropped the epic gameplay.

Since there seems to be a lot of confusion, misconception, misunderstanding and just general gaps in people’s knowledge when it comes to Starfield we have decided to put this together. It is a little perplexing as to why, but it could be because of the way we have been drip fed little snippets, or the fact that the game is so massive Bethesda Game Studios have too much to tell us. To help with all this, we have created this ultimate guide to Starfield, detailing all the official announcements regarding Starfield. No leaks will be mentioned, out of respect to the developers if nothing else, but also because they are not verified. To help make it all digestible, we will break it down into a few categories – lore, mechanics, design and quests. 

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Starfield Mechanics

Starfield boasts a wide variety of mechanics, from base building, to role playing, to crafting etc. The amount it has is quite staggering really. So, let’s go over what we have been told by Bethesda so far…

Starfield has heavier RPG mechanics than more recent Bethesda Game Studios games. This was announced by Bethesda during the ‘E3’ fallout of 2021. As big RPG fans, we are extremely excited about this. We are of the opinion it is one of the very few shortcomings of Skyrim and Fallout 4. 
Starfield traits and background

RPG Mechanics

  • Character building and customisation – It was also confirmed to be the most in-depth character creation ever, with the benefits of more powerful hardware, an engine upgrade and technologies such as photogrammetry and real life character design. Within this, we will also see the return of backgrounds and traits. This allows for better role playing, and ultimately gives you stat boosts in certain areas, as well as benefits and drawbacks from various traits. Some traits cannot be selected with others. Already this feels more of a role playing game than Skyrim or Fallout 4.
  • Character levelling of skills and this includes developing skill lines based on play styles, this is done with skill points to unlock a skill and then ‘using the skill and completing challenges’ to add effects.
  • Crafting – whether it is for your own personal use, or to sell for a profit crafting is a huge part of Starfield. Unlock and craft weapon upgrades, pharmacological, base, and equipment upgrades.
  • Questing choice and consequence. Yes, it has been confirmed that there will be different outcomes in quests based on different playstyles. This was confirmed when the Crimson fleet questline was being discussed. A pirate organization that you can join, or take down from the inside like an undercover cop.
  • Companions. We know you will be able to have a number of companions in Starfield. One of, if not the earliest is the robot VASCO. Find out more about VASCO in the ‘lore’ section. We also know you will be able to hire a crew for your starships, or hire people to run your base. To what depth these NPCs will become your companions, we do not yet know.
  • Lockpicking – There is a new and more appropriate lockpicking mini-game in Starfield. It can be seen in the game play video. 
  • Persuasion – Todd Howard said there is a new persuasion mini-game. But it has not yet been seen. It is not just an evolution to that of the one seen in Oblivion. It is one of the most successful ones Bethesda have had. There is no obvious choice and ‘feels like you are actually trying to persuade someone of something’. There are also interesting role playing aspects that involve manipulation and leadership. 
  • Player debt –  One trait allows the player to own a home, but it comes with a 50,000 credit mortgage (seems slightly wishful thinking in this economic climate). 
  • Player star ship – Your ship becomes very much an extension of your character. The vast customisation options will affect how you play. Are you a large cargo hauler? Are you a small and agile fighter? Your ship can also gather a crew to help manage.

Starfield Skill tree

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Other in game mechanics

Flight Mechanics – You can fly your starship and customize its design and utility. Find out more about starship design in ‘Starfield design’. It seems that a great deal has gone into this, with players being responsible for maintaining and increasing firepower, shields and thrusters as well as managing fuel loads. Players are also able to board enemy ships (with some quests that involve it too) and land on space stations. That said, it has been confirmed that seamless flight between planet and space will not be in the game, with Bethesda saying that this needs its own deep-dive. Space combat is said to be a ‘slower pace’ and was likened a bit to ‘mech warrior’.

space fights on Starfield

Screen grab of space fights on Starfield via official gameplay reveal from Bethesda

Base Building – One of the stand out successes in Fallout 4 was the introduction of base building. It has also been announced that players can land on a planet and set up their own bases. Such is the detail in Starfield, that you can role play the life of a miner, farmer or some other operation. Play the game operating your base and selling raw materials… Or go on being a legend elsewhere whilst hiring someone else to manage it for you. Base building also comes with upgrades and mods that can be researched and developed. Things that can be built include crop growing facilities (hydroponics), an airlock, military research facility, science laboratories and watch towers. This will allow players to improve their bases with more structures and greater functionality.

Starfield base building

Starfield Base building screengrab from Official Starfield gameplay reveal from Bethesda

Starship – Not only do you have a starship you can fly around, fighting off enemy ships in space. Players can also board and steal other ships! You can purpose build your own starship, with huge numbers of customisation options. See the below screenshot of ship manufacturers. Players can optimize their starships to prioritize supporting their role playing experience. From the size and colour of the ship, to the artillery and shields. 

Starship customisation Starfield

Completely customise your own ship screen grab from Starfield gameplay reveal Bethesda

Combat – Combat can be melee or with ranged weapons of varying types such as pistol, shotgun, SMG and assault rifle. It is yet to be seen if hand-to-hand combat will be available. Combat looks to be really mixed up too with verticality being much greater. For example the use of a jet-pack. Weapons can be researched to develop attachments and modifications to improve and refine your combat capabilities.

combat with jet pack assistance Starfield

Source official Bethesda YouTube Starfield gameplay

Equipment – In Starfield players will own and acquire a lot of support equipment to aid them on their adventures. This too can be researched to strengthen your character and aid mobility etc. 

Food and Drink – In Starfield a lot of thought has gone into food and drink and Bethesda has clearly had it in mind for some time, so far as to include it in early trailers. Food, again, is something that can be researched to improve skills in making it. In Skyrim Anniversary Edition, food was an essential part of the ‘survival’ experience and would even bring a variety of buffs when certain foods were eaten. It is as yet unclear what level we can expect to see food and drink take, but we would not be surprised to see it play a similar, if not more significant role in Starfield, what with their re-commitment towards role playing. 

Pharmacology – The ability to craft medical treatment and performance enhancing products. Again new abilities and products to create can be researched and developed to give player characters a variety of temporary buffs. 
research opportunities in Starfield

Screen grab of Starfield gameplay reveal from Bethesda

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.

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Starfield Design

It is very big, and very long with, Todd Howard estimating the campaign at about 30-40 hours. With over 200,000 lines of NPC dialogue. This is nearly double that of Fallout 4 which had 110,000, but as the player character has no voice in Starfield – (This is kind of an RPG mechanic too) – it is actually way more than double! 
 
The design of Starfield is more grounded and more driven by real world science than Elder Scrolls and to some extent, Fallout. You see this across the game from environments, to in game characters, to technology. The style adopts a ‘NASA Punk’ look.
 
Starfield is a single player only game.
 
Starfield can be played in either 3rd or 1st person camera views. Starfield maintains BGS style interactivity and player choice. You can pick up and move as much as possible, go anywhere you like, randomly start a brawl. They want to encourage the ‘I wonder what would happen if..’ mentality you can adopt when playing their games.
 
NPC conversations zoomed in for immersion which also plays into the persuasion mini game.
You can design and build your own Starship and base! Base building can take place on any planet of your choosing and can have multiple purposes, from mining to farming etc. Starship building and customisation is a pivotal part of the role playing experience too.
 
Flying from space to planet and planet to space is not seamless. Traversal across planets in vehicles is possible, but not confirmed to be in your ship, although footage seems to suggest that you can.
 
Player space suits can have jetpack thrusters. Can be used for traversal, or for evasion and attack in combat.
 
Mod support has been confirmed by Bethesda Game Studios.
 
Starfield is EXPLORATION heavy over 100 systems with 1000 planets. The main game questline with Constellation – The last group of space explorers – requires you to adventure explore a lot. This was one of the things that made Skyrim so appealing to so many.
 
Realistic character and NPC design based on real life models and photogrammetry for environmental design. This has been deemed as essential to immersion as Bethesda Game Studios want you to believe they are real people.
 
In Starfield players can experience all the things from previous Bethesda Game Studios games, such as romance, adventure and mystery.
There are four main cities in the game. New Atlantis being the biggest. 
 

Starfield Lore

As with any Bethesda Game Studios Game, it is steeped in lore. Being that it is also the biggest, this will probably end up as the largest section of this ongoing feature. But first let’s start with the basics. Starfield is set in the year 2330, 20 years after the bloody colony wars. Where possible, Starfield will use real life science in the game. But it is also a game, so it will not be 100% true to life. Starfield is also set in our own galaxy, The Milky way, and ranges to about 50 lightyears away from Earth. In fact, our solar system can actually be visited in Starfield. In Starfield, the main questline revolves around ‘Constellation’. They are the last group of space explorers. Their HQ appears to be based on New Atlantis, which is also the largest city in the game and the capital city of the United Colonies, (U.C) one of the in game factions.

There Starfield universe has been meticulously planned out and Bethesda Game Studios have done plenty of research and educated guesswork into what life might be like… From food eaten to children’s toys… What stories they might tell, their history etc.

Player companions – The only one we know about by name is Vasco. Vasco is an ‘early model’. This language suggests that we will see later models of VASCO in Starfield, perhaps friendly… Or perhaps hostile. He was built by Lunar Robotics. We do not know what role they might play in the game, but I would imagine they are not just limited to utility bots like VASCO. VASCO has been refurbished to meet the Constellation requirements of space travel. Seemingly R2D2 like with a focus on utility and support, and ‘defense’ very much secondary. Having this kind of companion setup really allows the player to focus on upgrading other areas, such as combat skills and speech. VASCO provides ‘survival gear’ and will also support carrying large loads. VASCO also comes with some defensive capabilities ‘should the need arise’. His primary role is peaceful. This language definitely tells us that offense is not VASCO’s main strength(s). So don’t expect some battle droid. VASCO was originally designed for and used by Constellation, sporting their livery. The video does suggest a couple of times though, that he may no longer serve Constellation ‘many years in the field may have worn the paint and dented a few panels’. It causes us to wonder if VASCO might be gifted to you early into the main questline.. Or has VASCO been abandoned and the player encounters very early on… ‘… A companion, an intrepid explorer, like yourself, can depend on’. VASCO’s abilities support the player with extended exploration.

VASCO Starfield companion defence mechanisms
VASCO Defence systems

Vasco Starfield companion features

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.

Starfield Factions/Organizations

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?

The Rock peace keepers of The Free Star Collective

Screengrab Official Starfield gameplay trailer from Bethesda

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

    • Nautilus
    • NOVA Galactic
    • XIANG
    • TAIYO ASTRONEERING
    • Stroud Eklund
    • Deimo

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.

    • Muzzle
    • Grip
    • Optics

Starfield characters

    • 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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Kreet the volcanic moon of Anselon

Screen grab from Official Starfield gameplay reveal

Our Solar System is known to be included in this game with Mars known to have a structure on it.

See map once available:

Starfield Quests

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) …

Neon pleasure city artwork

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.

Neon concept art showing boats and ships

Official Bethesda concept art

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!

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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:

Source Telegraph:

Starfield E3 2021 reveal exclusive: How Todd Howard spent 25 years creating his ‘NASA-punk’ space RPG (telegraph.co.uk)

Source IGN:

Starfield: Developer Interview With Todd Howard | Summer of Gaming 2022 – YouTube

Todd Howard on Skyrim’s Legacy, Elder Scrolls 6, Starfield, and More! – IGN Unfiltered #61 – YouTube

Starfield Playlist Bethesda YouTube

Starfield – YouTube

This is a working piece and will continue to be updates as and when more Starfield information drops! Stay tuned!