After years of CG trailers for Starfield, we’ve long been waiting to see this Bethesda Game Studios title in action, and that finally happened at today’s Xbox Games Showcase. The initial reaction can simply be summarized as “WOW!”
In a variety of gameplay clips, creator Todd Howard walked us through various gameplay aspects, revealing that this science-fiction RPG features over 1,000 planets to explore. From barren moons to heavily populated worlds, you can go where you want to see what you discover.
The first locale we see is a moon called Kreet, which is stark in detail with rocky grain terrains and brief flares of color with red plants. In this regard, the color scheme is similar to Star Wars’ Crait from The Last Jedi. Here, we are given our first taste of gameplay, which we see from both first- and third-person viewpoints. Despite looking like a barren place, Kreet is crawling with creatures, like trilobites that mean you no harm, as well as giant crabs that, at first instinct, appear to want to take a bite out of you, but after they see your gun drawn, they back away. It’ll be interesting to see if these creatures’ A.I. recognize you as a threat, or are designed to be skittish.
Since crafting is a part of Starfield, you’ll be scanning and mining minerals as you explore new worlds. We see a sequence where iron (Fe) is discovered. If all minerals are labeled this way, we’ll all be masters of the periodic table after sinking hundreds of hours into this game.
Within a Kreet research lab, we get our first taste of combat, which looks a lot like it does in the Fallout series – a little rough around the edges and in how A.I. reacts to getting shot, but still fun and loaded with variety. The battles are mostly against pirates, each with different levels and loadouts. They take cover behind barriers and can also take to the skies with jetpacks. We see one jetpack get hit by a bullet, which sends the attacker comically into the sky.
On the RPG front, it looks like we’ll be looting up a storm again and can even pick locks in a sci-fi away with a Digipick, which brings up a digital minigame to solve. At the start of play, you get to create your own space-faring character using a system Howard calls Bethesda’s “most flexible yet.” Along with changing the look of hair and skin, you pick from three background starting skills and also add optional traits that give advantages and disadvantages.
As play progresses, you will unlock addition skills that Howard says “combines the best of our previous three games.” You can level these skills up by using them and completing specific challenges. You’ll also be tasked to build your own starship, right down to the hull design, engines, shields, weapons, and more. It looks as deep as Fallout’s camp building, which kind of makes a return here in the form of buildable outposts. Weapons, mods, and gear are also craftable.
The ship you create can be piloted and flown anywhere, from deep space to within a planet’s atmosphere. Those weapons you installed come in handy to take down pirate vessels. The ship-to-ship combat looks robust, but we only get a small taste of it against similarly sized vessels. Here’s hoping capital-0class ships are also in the equation.
When exploring the cosmos, you’ll dive into solar systems filled with planets and moons. All of them can be explored, if you like. Along with the previously noted 1,000 planets, there are 100 systems to find.
Starfield looks incredible and will is slated to release in early 2023. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one.