Starfield now has a full release date. The good news is that it’s not far off at all, and that we now know significantly more about what the game will be like at launch.
From the extensive character customization options, to skill trees and Traits, there’s a lot of options for players to design their very own Starfield character. Ships can even be customized, and then used to explore space, and planet surfaces. It’s clear that Starfield is set to be a big game, though its full map size is still fairly unknown.
Here’s what we know about Starfield so far, including a breakdown of the gameplay that’s been shown, and the main story and setting. As release days gets closer, we’re likely to hear even more about Starfield. You’ll find all of the latest news right here on this page.
Starfield: cut to the chase
- What is it? A Bethesda RPG set in outer space
- When can I play it? September 6, 2023
- What can I play it on? PC and Xbox Series X|S
Starfield release date
Starfield releases on September 6, 2023. This was confirmed via the game’s Twitter back in March and marked the first full release date given for Starfield.
For all, into the starfield 🚀 pic.twitter.com/i9Ppie7dV0March 8, 2023
Starfield platforms: is it an Xbox Exclusive?
The E3 2021 trailer explicitly confirmed this, ruling out a PS5 release. It won’t be on Xbox One either, with Bethesda taking the opportunity to concentrate on newer hardware to enhance the experience and push the game further. With Microsoft now owners of developer Bethesda, this could be indicative of the future of titles like The Elder Scrolls 6 and Fallout 5 going forward.
The latest trailer we’ve gotten for Starfield was shown off at the Xbox Games Showcase on June 12, 2023. This was part of the main event, before a dedicated Starfield Direct aired. Check it out above.
We’ve included some key Starfield trailers throughout this article but you can find all the Starfield trailers that have been released to date on Bethesda’s official YouTube channel.
Can you customize your character?
During 2023’s Xbox Games Showcase, we got our best look at Starfield’s character customization features yet. It was described as being Bethesda’s ‘simplest’ one it has designed so far, in that it offers a lot of features, but under clear and easy to understand controls. You start your character creation journey as if cycling through employee records. From there, it’s a case of choosing from 40 presets as a start point. Then, body, face and background are chosen.
Your background will come up constantly in the story, but not always where you’d expect. You may choose Beasthunter, which will give you access to additional contracts. There’s one that sets you up as a chef, which unlocks unique dialogue options. You can go as deep as you’d like with this, or simply paint in the broad strokes before getting quickly into the game.
Skills and traits
Backgrounds offer three starting skills each. For example, picking ‘Dueling’ awards 10% extra melee damage, while ‘Gastronomy’ lets you create unique food and drinks, alongside researching further recipes. Meanwhile, Traits can shape your personality, so if you choose the ‘Extrovert’ trait for example, you’ll have more endurance when travelling with companions, and less when alone. Unsurprisingly, this can’t be mixed with the ‘Introvert’ trait, which does the opposite. Traits appear to have both positive and negative effects associated with them.
The skill tree in Starfield is solid into five sections: Physical, Combat, Science, Tech and Social. Each time you level up, you get a skill point to spend. Each skill has ranks associated with it. Ranking up a skill makes its effects more potent, but you’ll need to complete set challenges to reach the next rank for each. There are four ranks per skill.
Skills shown off so far include classics like Intimidation and Hacking, as well as more unique skills like Xenosociology, which lets you mind-control aliens. Another might increase the performance of your boost pack, and of course there’s plenty of skills that are focused on stealth and pickpocketing as well.
Can you customize your ship?
The most recent presentation also gave us our first real look at ship customization too, which we know is modular. You can piece entire sections together, swapping out core components like cockpits, engines, and more, and it seems that there’s no need to individually craft those parts. It looks like we’ll buy these from individual vendors across different locations. There appears to be quite a bit of freedom when putting together ships. In the gameplay deep-dive, there were ships themed after animals, giant ring ships, as well as more classic looking, sleek cruisers.
Ship customization doesn’t just stop at external design, as there’s also different options for interiors. It seems that each of the different vendors that you can buy ship parts from has their own design aesthetic. These vary subtly, but do give each ship its own personality and atmosphere.
How does combat work?
The bulk of the combat that you will be experiencing while playing Starfield is classic third or first-person shooting. From what we’ve seen, things are much faster and snappier than what we got in the Fallout games, and there’s plenty of gadgets, explosives and tech to assist in dispatching enemies. It’s clear that enemy outposts will need to be cleared out, and that some planets will be home to dangerous flora and fauna.
There’s also ship combat, which relies on a mix of shooting and power allocation. During a battle, you could, for example, boost power to engines to close the gap between your ship and an enemies. Power can then be directed into weapons, and then to shields as you duck out to regroup. There are skills associated with ship combat, which you’ll absolutely need if you’d like to fend off pirates and enemy factions.
How does exploration work?
Exploration can be done during space flight, or at ground level on planets. Scanning a planet before landing will tell you some of the resources you’ll find there, as well as details about the environment. Down at ground level, you may encounter caves or man-made structures. Exploration is all about following what you can scan on he horizon, whether that’s enemy activity, the behavior of animals on a planet, or clues hidden in the environment around you. It’s clear that there will be busier, more exciting planets, as well as quieter, more desolate ones.
Recently, Todd Howard sat down on the Kinda Funny XCast podcast to discuss Starfield. He revealed that only 10% of the planets in the game contain life, in order to capture the ‘magnificent desolation of the Universe.’
Will Starfield be on Xbox Game Pass?
Starfield will launch on Xbox Game Pass, and will be available to subscribers at no extra cost. This is just for Xbox Series X|S however, and Xbox One users won’t be able to play the game via the service. Like with other big first-party Xbox releases, you’ll likely be able to preload Starfield a couple of days early. We’ll include details on this here, once it’s confirmed.
Starfield story and setting
What is Starfield about?
Starfield promises a grand spacefaring adventure across the vast universe, set 300 years into our future. After a few initial missions, our protagonist gets invited to join Constellation, the last group of space explorers. We’ll be meeting them in the United Colonies’ capital city, New Atlantis, tasked with searching for artifacts across The Settled Systems.
Are there Factions?
Unsurprisingly, there’s rival groups with separate goals, like the Crimson Fleet, who it seems we’ll be frequently clashing with. Previous videos from Bethesda have also confirmed the existence of violent Spacers, ecliptic mercenaries, and fanatical religious zealots of House Va’Ruun.
Following a past war with the United Colonies, the Freestar Collective marks the other major faction within The Settled Systems, and both currently maintain an uneasy peace.
Controlling three star systems, Freestar uses the walled Akila City as its capital, which keeps out “alien predators that are a cross between a wolf and a velociraptor.” Then we have Neon, a pleasure city created by the Xenofresh Corporation. Having created a unique psychotropic drug, Aurora, it’s now a popular tourist spot.
Depending on the Background, Skills and Traits you have for your character, you will be able to interact with Factions in different ways. We’ve already seen scenarios where pirates stand down because your character happens to be of the same religion, so hopefully there’s plenty more ways to interact with Factions.
Is Starfield as big as Skyrim?
Starfield takes place across 1000 fully explorable planets between 100 star systems, and four major cities. Including New Atlantis, we currently know about three of them. In terms of how it compares to other Bethesda games, it’s difficult to say. New Atlantis is the largest singular area that the studio has worked on, and when you add up all of the procedural planets and area that you can visit, Starfield is likely a much bigger game than Skyrim.
Because of its fragmented nature, Starfield isn’t as straightforward to measure in terms of map size. It’s more like an interconnected mass of linked hub areas, planets and space. It’s clear that it is indeed a huge game, though we’ll have to get our hands on it to say just how big it is when all of its parts are added together.
Starfield will feature four romance options
As part of an interview with Kinda Funny Games, Todd Howard confirmed that there will be four Romance options in Starfield. They are each members of Constellation, the main faction in the game.
It looks like Starfield will not be available on physical discs.
Even though physical editions of Starfield are currently up for pre-order, a quickly-deleted tweet from the Bethesda Support Twitter account revealed earlier today that “there are no physical discs”, and “all physical editions include a code for the chosen platform”. This has yet to be confirmed since the Tweet was deleted.
Starfield gameplay deep-dive airs as part of Xbox Games Showcase 2023
A brand new Xbox Games Showcase aired on June 12, 2023. Starfield Direct followed, and gave us our best look yet at the game. Everything from ship customization, to companions and story structure was shown off.
Starfield gets a ‘Restricted’ rating in Australia
Starfield has received a ‘Restricted’ rating by Australia’s Classification Board, namely due to the drug-use depicted in the game. Its violence is also considered ‘High Impact,’ while nudity and sex are very mild. The use of drugs seems to be the main offender as to why Starfield has received the higher rating, and we expect that’s similar to how drugs are depicted in other Bethesda games like Fallout 4.
That’s everything we know about Starfield so far. For more on this year’s biggest releases, check out our Upcoming video game release dates calendar.