At long last, new details about Bethesda Softwork’s heavily anticipated RPG Starfield have arrived, and what they show is a game set to embrace its space-setting with a focus on exploring new worlds, resource harvesting, spaceship customization, and base-building.
Game director Todd Howard took the stage as part of the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase to deliver new gameplay footage of Starfield for the first time, including the fact that the game will include over 100 star systems, with more than 1,000 planets in total to be explored. Exploration on each planet isn’t tied to specific, pre-determined landing zones like the city of New Atlantis shown in the game’s latest trailer. Instead, players can land anywhere on the surface of a planet and disembark. There will be what Howard describes as “barren, resource-heavy” planets as well as planets abundant with life to find.
Once on the surface of a planet, players can establish an Outpost in a system that looks similar to Fallout 4’s Settlement building feature. These Outposts, according to Howard, are not only about surviving in hostile environments but also for generating resources which can be used for crafting supplies and weapon mods. Players can also harvest materials from the environment themselves with various tools. Additionally, NPCs players meet over the course of their adventure can be hired to staff various Outposts and keep them up and running.
Going hand-in-hand with discovering uncharted worlds and exploring their surfaces is the game’s spaceship-focused systems. Players will be able to fully customize their starships and fly them around the galaxy, which will not only affect how a ship looks but how it functions. Howard said ship loadouts can be “completely customized,” with “loads of different modules and ship manufacturers.” Engines, shields, and weapon systems can all be customized.
That will come in handy for the game’s ship-to-ship combat, which Bethesda gave fans a glimpse of and which is playable both from a first-person, inside the cockpit view or in third-person. Like with Outposts, players can hire NPCs to crew their ship, though Howard did not get into specifics on what the benefits of having a fully-staffed starship (or Outpost) might be.
Originally slated to release in November 2022, Starfield is now set to arrive in the first half of 2023 for PC and Xbox Series X|S.
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