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Starfield Preview: Everything We Know So Far

We are now just over a month away from the release of Bethesda’s newest franchise and anticipation has reached fever pitch. The Sci-fi epic is the gaming developer’s first new franchise in 25 years and is set to be one of the best games they have ever produced. The excitement surrounding the new space exploration RPG has mounted with every passing month and expectations for this release are as high as any in recent memory. Persistent delays were inevitable with a project of this size and scope but gamers’ patience is soon to be rewarded in what is shaping up to be a groundbreaking experience. Todd Howard and his team have worked tirelessly in perfecting this adventure before release date and from what we’ve seen thus far its safe to say they look to have delivered. Described by Howard himself as “Skyrim in space” it’s easy to understand why gamers are excited for XBOX’s flagship game of 2023. With just over 40 days to go, here’s everything we know so far about Starfield. 

The basics

Starfield is set to release on the 6th of September 2023, ten months on from its initially proposed release date of November 2022. The delay was announced in May 2022 after the team working on the project anticipated they needed more time to ensure a smooth release and polish certain features. We already know the cost of the project likely exceeded its budget of $200 million with a team of over 500 people working on developing the game. With that in mind and based on what we’ve seen in trailers and deep dives discussing features of the upcoming game, it’s fair to assume we will be presented with a visually stunning view of space at the very least thanks to Creation Engine 2. It’s also fair to assume that the price of the game will match the extensive investment made in its development and as a result continue the trend of major gaming companies charging top dollar for their products. The game is expected to cost $70 (roughly £55) but as an XBOX Series X console exclusive it will also be a day one addition to XBOX Game Pass from launch. The game is set to be a single-player experience with currently no plans to add a multiplayer element. 

The story

Starfield’s location is set to be one of the most expansive in gaming history. 'The Settled Systems', as they are known in-game, in the year 2330 will be the setting from which our story is told; an area that extends out from our Solar System by approximately 50 light years. As for how much of this setting we'll be able to explore, the game developer has confirmed that Starfield will have more than 100 systems to discover and 1000 planets to traverse. As for what gamers will be doing on these planets, we have some pretty mouth-watering details regarding that too. Two of the largest factions are known as the United Colonies and the Freestar Collective and the game picks up 20 years after those factions engaged in the Colony War for territorial control in ‘The Settled Systems’. The Constellation is the organization tasked with picking up the pieces and navigating what remains from the bloody exchanges. Gamers will play the part of a member of this organization and will be faced with a choice of who to fight for. With this game’s main story set to be 20% bigger than either Skyrim or Fallout 4, this quest is likely to match the epic nature of the game’s setting. 

The gameplay 

The setting has played its part in the general atmosphere Bethesda are trying to generate, drawing plenty of comparisons to No Man’s Sky, but as far as we can tell from trailers and details we already know, the developer has stuck with their tried and tested RPG formula. Expansive spaces to explore, progression systems that reward the time you spend in the game, and choices in both actions and dialogue that have tangible consequences for your overall gaming experience; all of it will be here in Starfield. Real-time combat with firearms will also feature heavily as you fend off enemy factions and the threats of the sci-fi landscape. The ability to switch between first person and third person perspectives will also aid you in your ability to deal with such threats. As for features that envelop you in this space exploration adventure there are plenty. Flying ships in outer space, researching, crafting, jet packing, scanning and managing resources and building your own outpost to name a few. There will be plenty to sink your teeth into. 

Customization and creation 

If that was not enough to wet your appetite then just take a look at Starfield’s creation suite. The character creation process is going to take up a significant portion of game time as Bethesda have gone all in on the role-playing aspect of their new release. Choosing your background and starting skills will impact everything from your initial abilities to your interactions with NPCs right from the off. We know of 16 traits in this process that could alter your overall experience thus far but there are bound to be more and when you combine this with the ability to customize your appearance, skills, bases, spaceship and much more, there is a ton of replayability in this game. 

Will Starfield have microtransactions?

The dreaded question on every gamer’s lips when it comes to AAA releases is ‘will there be microtransactions?’ In May, there was some controversy surrounding Starfield potentially involving the much maligned feature. In recent years, microtransactions have been extremely controversial, with campaigners saying including these in games is no different to advertising using PayPal at casinos in a video game. While the official ESRB rating for Starfield mentions that Bethesda's upcoming sci-fi role-playing game will include in-game purchases, this is not necessarily an indication of a microtransaction. The term in-game purchase has been used on several occasions to represent DLC expansions. It could also refer to Bethesda’s Creation Club like the developer has had Skyrim and Fallout 4. So it’s not a given that microtransactions will feature, but Bethesda need to tread lightly here as any indication otherwise will surely lead to not only review-bombing, but a significantly worse gamer experience overall. 

The hype for this game over the last two years has been unrivaled and should it live up to expectation then Starfield will be a shoe-in for game of the year.

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