The Many Things Revealed At The 45-Minute Starfield Direct

Starfield, “the space game” Bethesda Games Studios has been cooking up and readying for release this September, had a 45-minute presentation separate from the Xbox Games Showcase 2023 dedicated to telling everyone what this massive RPG has to offer.

Some of these are known details, some are explained further than we expected, and all of them promising something big and wonderful. A “Bethesda game through and through” was mentioned, mostly to highlight the studio’s ambitions rather than the many quirks and jankiness you’ve come to expect from a game of this scale.

Still, there’s plenty of interesting details to pick through the long presentation, showcasing gameplay that for the most part, sticks firmly in 30fps. Whether this is cherry-picking the best footage or this being indicative of Starfield’s overall game performance running on Xbox Series X remains to be seen.

Here are some details we picked up that’s worth compiling into cliff notes:

  • New lighting model, uses real-time global illumination. Expect beautiful looking sunrise/sunsets with different colours based on the planet you’re on
  • Go to any visible planet or moon
  • Playable in third-person and first-person (like past Bethesda Game Studios games)
  • Familiar gameplay aspects to No Man’s Sky
    • Surveying planet’s flora and fauna for rewards
    • Mine resources by shooting lasers on rocks
    • Galaxy map filled with details of every planet, moon and star
    • Most planets are procedurally generated, but there are hand-crafted content
  • Simple, but readable UI, different from what Skyrim or the Fallout games has
  • Plenty of items to pick up and drop. You can hoard a visibly large amount of sandwich, just like how you can hoard hundreds of cheese blocks in Skyrim
  • Vasco, the companion robot, can say a player’s name (likely similar to Fallout 4’s Mr. Handy being able to say a selection of curated names)
  • Big hub cites with different aesthetic
    • New Atlantis: NASA Punk, sci-fi
    • Cydonia: Industrial mining town
    • Akila City: Space cowboy town
    • Neon: Cyberpunk town for hedons
  • Character creation starts with picking one of 40 presets
  • Traits can be picked (and later changed or removed)
    • The return of the Adoring Fan if you pick Hero Worshipped trait
  • A skill point is gained every level up
    • Each skill has extra ranks, but must be unlocked first by completing challenges associated
    • Five different skill trees (with varying amount of skills in each). Each skill has four ranks
  • Ships are modular, can be built in the sleekest way or as cursed as you can think of
    • Modules made by different manufacturers have different aesthetic
    • What you can do on the ship is based on what modules you have
    • Ships can be specced for cargo smuggling, or carry a lot of crew members
    • Ship is the hub, can be fast travelled to
    • In space flight, you have to manually divert power to different systems (weapons, shields, etc.)
    • Docking (ship boarding) is available, cleared enemy ship can be yours for the taking
    • Destroyed ships during combat can be looted
    • Can hail other ships to either trade or commit piracy
  • Companions can follow you, or be stationed in the ship or an outpost
  • Skeletons as environmental storytelling confirmed to return
  • Build outposts on planets
    • Research opens up new mods for weapons and more
  • Photo mode confirmed at launch
  • A telekinetic push is seen- Dragonborn shouts in space?
  • Dead bodies can fly up high in the air (it’s not a bug when it’s silly and marketed as a feature)

Starfield will be released September 6 on for Xbox Series X|S and PC (Steam, Microsoft Store). It will be available on Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass on launch.

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