One of the biggest names at the Xbox Games Showcase wasn’t Microsoft itself, but Starfield, which had its own showcase directly afterward, and they did not disappoint. Originally the game was set to come out November of last year, however they’ve had to push back the title a couple of times to September of this year.
We haven’t gotten a lot of information about the game itself though. In November of 2021 in a Reddit AMA (Ask me Anything), Todd Howard, mentioned that the character customisation will allow for gender neutral pronouns. And June of last year we got a huge gameplay reveal trailer. But nothing comes close compared to what we saw today in the Starfield Showcase.
Before that, Xbox featured a trailer as part of their own showcase, where we see shots of space, the worlds we can stand on. The gameplay trailer mentions that Starfield is “a brand new universe 25 years in the making”. There’s voice over, asking what is out there in space. There’s shots of the group called Constellation, which is the first group the player character will most likely join. We also get to look at other cities, and the vibes of them.
There’s a western cowboy one, a cyberpunk aesthetic city, and we also get to see the other organisations we might join. Of course, there is combat. We see the player character fighting aliens and humans alike. There is so much to unpack in this trailer, so many moments. Honestly, can’t help but get excited over this.
The larger 45 minute Starfield Direct is where we got to see a deep dive of Starfield, gameplay moments, combat, even a section on character customisation. This is going to be one big hefty game. We meet Todd Howard, who tells us that not only can we step on one world, but over “a thousand worlds”. You can play Starfield in third person, or first person. And exploring is going to be different based off of what you want to do. So you can collect resources, do missions or explore and unlock locations. Howard mentions “we do love stuff and all of the items, allowing you to pick everything up”. We see the menu system and specifically the inventory system, and it looks detailed as all ever, but so gorgeous in its colour scheme and aesthetics. Even the food looks detailed.
We also meet Vasco, the robot companion. Who can even say your name, which is similar to how Codsworth has a select number of names it can call you. The aesthetics of Starfield is now being called by those at Bethesda “NASA Punk”. Based off of the Space Agency in the United States, along with the -punk suffix. Which denotes usually a futuristic genre with high key aesthetics, reminiscent of genres like cyberpunk, steampunk, atompunk, etc. Fast travel is available with Starfield, where you can fast travel anywhere on a planet, or you can travel to other planets, even other solar systems. However, you will need fuel, but this is upgradeable.
We get a good look at New Atlantis, which is their biggest city to date. And every character has their own small story to tell. And this is where we start the main story. Including, meeting Constellation. There’s Sarah Morgan, the ex-soldier. Matteo, a theologian. Noel, Morgan’s protege. Lastly, Walter, a businessman. We also meet Vlad, an ex-pirate. Sam Coe, an ex-space cowboy. And Barrett. Each settlement offers something different. Those who live in New Atlantis, believe in the law. We have mining facilities, outlaw factions, and pleasure cities. And of course, other locations will hold either hostile or friendly factions.
There’s a look at character customisation. One of the major overhauls the team did was scan in faces of a lot of people. There’s a whole cast a diverse faces that you’re able to create for yourself. Customisation can be quite simple, pick a preset and go. Or, you can be meticilous, choosing their walk style, hair, even piercings and teeth! We also get a look at backgrounds, these might come in handy when it comes to talking to people. Not only that, but there’s traits. These will have bonuses and negatives to them. You might choose to have parents, and you can visit them any time you want. However 2% of your credits gets sent to them every week. Or you might have gotten the attention of a… familiar fan, who will annoy to their hearts content. But, you do get a new crewmate and gifts.
Skill trees are here! Each rank gets unlocked by completeing challenges and they get harder and harder as the game progresses. There’s five skill trees, physical, social, combat, science and tech. And there’s a look at the ships too. Ships are customisable, via buying or even creating them yourselves. And you can create any sort of ship you want, Jamie Mallory, producer at Bethesda, creates them after animals. One shown is a platypus. Other types are mech-like ships. Starfield offers companions, like the members of Constellation. Each character has their own unique set of skills, and romance is confirmed. Whether or not they’re playersexual or have their own sexualities, we’ll have to wait and see. Crew can be hired, or even found throughout the planets.
Starfield also has ship combat. Basically… be on your toes, because you never know who is out there, or what. Or, you can always fight hand to hand if that’s more your style. And you can take control of the ship. So maybe you spot a pirate with better weapons, or better drive. Its best to grab it instead of blowing it up. You can even dock with ships, or star yards. Where you can buy ships, meet new characters, maybe even pick up a quest or two. You can even meet Skyrim Grandma on your adventure. Bethesda is known for their collector editions… whether that’s a good thing or not. And they show off not only just a watch that mirrors the in-game version, and a Starfield controller, but a headset too.
You’re able to scan planets to see what resources they have available. Lead technical producer, Jean-Francois Levesque, mentions that the planets are prodecural content. So the engine will build these planets as the player approaches it, there’s different locations, creatures, and plants to gather. He adds that while you and your friends will visit the same planet, you’ll have “different stor[ies] to tell”. It’s up to you how you want to explore the world. And much like the recent Fallout games, settlement buildings are here. Outposts can be places where you live, and/or you can use it to extract resources. Companions and crew can live there as well. When building in your outpost, you can either have on foot building, or top down building. This is great to see bigger picture settings.
Combat looks satisfying as ever. There are tonnes of ways you can mod your weapons, and outfits. Gravity will affect you, and you might need a jetpack to help your navigate the terrain. Starfield looks awesome, and I am so excited to get my hands on this sci-fi adventure.
What do you think about this big showcase? Will you get it day one? Or are you a little apprhensive? Starfield is available for preorder on Steam and the Microsoft Store. It’ll be out September 6th, 2023.