Bethesda did a reveal of their upcoming CRPG Starfield on Sunday. With the game still almost eighteen months away, it was more of a prolonged teaser than a deep dive on the game's systems. Still, eager-eyed fans have been scouring the trailer (thanks to Reddit), an accompanying behind-the-scenes look at the game and various interviews done by the team over the last few days (mostly behind paywalls) and have assembled a surprising amount of information on the setting and background. A summary follows.
- Release Date: 11 November 2022
- Platforms: Xbox Series S/X, Xbox Game Pass via compatible devices, PC
- Inon Zur (Fallout 3, Fallout 4, Fallout 76) providing the soundtrack.
- Built using the new Creation Engine 2 (presumably an upgraded Creation Engine 1, which was used to make Skyrim and, modified further, Fallout 4 and Fallout 76).
- The game is a "bit more hardcore of a roleplaying game" than Bethesda's last few games. The game brings back roleplaying systems they have not used in a while. In particular, your character's customisable background is a much bigger part of the game.
- The game was inspired by the Traveller tabletop RPG (which Bethesda had the rights to in the 1990s, but didn't do anything with).
- The game will feature big changes to the traditional Bethesda way of doing things (probably related to you having your own spacecraft) but will also lean hard into some of their normal approaches. The designers call the game "Skyrim in space."
- The team did field research at Space X's headquarters and rocket factory. The art direction vibe was given as "NASApunk."
- The game was directed to have a "more realistic" feel, with lower tech than other SF games. However, there are some conceits to space opera tropes such as sound and visible lasers in space.
The game is heavily based around your ship. It is unknown if this is the only ship you have or if you can buy/acquire others later on:
- The ship is called the Frontier and was either built by Nova Galactic, or it's a Nova Galactic-class vessel. Its registry is NG1350.
- The ship is armed with two distinct cannon systems and a missile launcher.
- The ship appears to have artificial gravity and an FTL drive, the GFLA (Graviton Field Loop Array), which is a fancy name for the theoretical Alcubierre Drive, a type of warp drive.
- However, according to Todd Howard there are no FTL communications. So you can fly to other stars at FTL speeds, but you can't make a Zoom call across interstellar distances.
- The ship has a big navigation table which shows gravitational waves propagating in space, suggesting the ship may harness these waves for travel and maybe artificial gravity.
- The same table has around twenty star systems marked on it, though half the table is obscured. That may indicate 20-40 systems are visitable in the game, or only a few them can actually be reached.
- Every switch, button, toggle and screen in the game was designed with a function. You won't be able to press every button yourself, but they have a purpose in mind.
- The ship has a robot engineer/servant called Vasco. Obviously, the Internet already loves him.
The background lore appears to be as follows:
- The game is set "a bit more" than 300 years in the future. A photograph in the trailer is date-stamped 2320, so it's possible the game will take place in 2321-30 or thereabouts.
- The player-character works for Constellation, the "last" human organisation interested in interstellar exploration. This suggests that interstellar settlement and colonisation has either failed or the idea of exploration for its own sake has become unpopular.
- The dominant government appears to the United Colonies. The United Colonies has two military wings, UC Vanguard and SysDef, presumably Systems Defence.
- The Freestar Collective is mentioned. This may be part of the UC or a separate, external human government.
- The Crimson Raiders and Crimson Fleet appears to be a loosely-organised coalition of pirates and bandits, possibly this game's equivalent to Fallout's raiders and Elder Scrolls' bandits as a low-level threat you'll encounter throughout the game. The Raiders seem to have been plaguing the Freestar Collective but have recently started appearing in UC space.
- The United Colonies has an organisation or agency called MAST, the Military, Administrative and Scientific Triumvirate.
- "Ranger" is a rank, probably in Constellation but possibly in MAST, Vanguard or SysDef.
- Mentioned planets or star systems include Cheyenne, Sagan, Lunara and Narion.
- A city or base called New Atlantis is located on the planet Jerrison in the Alpha Centauri star system (our nearest interstellar neighbour).
- "Cydonia Security" is mentioned. Cydonia is a region on Mars, indicating that Mars has been colonised.
- Various patches and emblems mention "the Livingstone Project," the "Ferrera 4 Expedition," the "New Discoveries Expedition," "The 10th Planet" and the "New Age Resolution."
- A company called Chronomark makes watches (presumably smart watches) for use by Constellation. Chronomark was founded in 2188, seemingly confirming that Starfield does not take place in the Fallout universe (humanity is still living in the ruins of the atomic war in 2188 and is barely doing any better in 2287 in Fallout 4, only forty years before the events of Starfield) and is its own setting.
- There are two real-life books in the ship: Sailing Alone Around the World (1900) by Joshua Slocum is about the first solo circumnavigation of the Earth (Slocum later vanished on another expedition in 1909). Omega: The Last Days of the World (1898) by Camille Flammarion is a disaster novel about the Earth being destroyed by cometary fragments. This may hint that Earth has been destroyed or too badly damaged in this future, forcing humanity to flee into space.
- An unusual artifact/object has been discovered, which is being studied. The object may be some kind of FTL gateway, and might be the focus of the Livingstone Project. The object may be alien in origin.
- Aliens will be in the game, but it sounds like they will not be playable, or commonplace, and the game's story may revolve around First Contact.
Bethesda will be gradually unveiling more info about the game ahead of its launch in November 2022.