So it was finally time to see Starfield gameplay for the first time. While the adventure won’t arrive in November as originally planned, prominent Bethesda employees have repeatedly stated that the title is in its final stages and there isn’t too much work left to do.
Given that Microsoft said everything they showed at the Xbox and Bethesda games showcase would launch within twelve months, that should mean Starfield will also arrive before June 12, 2023, and therefore has six months at most. delay. Therefore, we can also assume that what we saw is still fairly representative of the finished product, as director Todd Howard took to the stage to show off what Bethesda has been working on all these years.
In previews, the game has been called Han Solo simulator, Elder Scrolls in space, and even NASA punk, among others. And it didn’t take long before I realized that it all seems to fit together pretty well. We’re just talking about a sci-fi role-playing game that looks a bit more scientific than we might be used to. Spaceships aren’t necessarily cool, but believable, weapons seem plausible, and that includes planets that might exist. A little less Star Wars and a little more Star Trek, if you will.
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That’s not to say Bethesda aimed for strict realism. If you want to create a rock star spaceman, you obviously have all the options to do so, and we got a taste of the possibilities for creating a unique character. This includes choosing things like backgrounds, for example. Maybe you’ve been a chef before with the ability to cook special dishes, which probably has its advantages, and chefs are obviously particularly good at handling knives. This is when a combat medic can instead shoot, heal people, and carry heavy loads – and a diplomat can persuade people as well as negotiate prices. Then there are also more imaginative professions like Cyber Runner or Cyberneticist.
Customization tools have always been great in Bethesda titles and Starfield seems to be no exception, and now you can even mix up your personality which affects your character as well. Maybe you’re introverted and get better stamina when you’re alone, own a house mortgaged by a bank, can visit relatives (but also have to help out financially), have grew up on the street so you get secret dialogue options sometimes, or are religious so get discounts at the church shop. You can choose three traits from a long list that give your character the experience and personality you want, as well as advantages and disadvantages.
The leveling system is also different from what Bethesda has done in the past, where you can now upgrade the traits you unlock as well as craft items by collecting resources through your travels and adventures. Crafting includes not only weapons and armor, but also accessories for them.
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The most spectacular part, however, is that you can build your own spaceships here. Depending on what you think you need and like in terms of looks, so you can build the ship with whatever functions, features and design you want at a pretty fine level. And you will need it, because you will be spending a lot of time in your ship. On the one hand there are regular space battles, and on the other hand there are over 100 solar systems to visit with over 1000 almost unimaginable worlds to visit. These may have huge cities like Akila, Neon, and especially New Atlantis, while others appear to be pure wastelands. However, we assume that no planets are there for no reason and it’s probably worth checking them out – although it can’t reasonably be laid out very well by hand on every surface given that it would just be impossible. So it’s likely that many are surfaces that exist primarily to fight enemies or acquire resources rather than actually being something that advances the story.
New Atlantis in particular got a little briefing and we also checked out some of the people we’ll meet there, who communicate through a dialogue setup reminiscent of The Elder Scrolls. What’s clear, however, is that the graphics are vastly more elaborate in Starfield than anything the studio has done before, and the faces are now surprisingly realistic, making them more empathetic. Another thing reminiscent of The Elder Scrolls is that there is of course a game mechanic for picking locks, as such things happen even in the year 2330 in space, apparently.
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Although Starfield is a strictly single-player game of the genre we’re used to from the studio, there’s the ability to bring in companions, both human and machine. Exactly what features they will have remains to be seen, though the Fallout 4 companions will probably give a good indication. We will also be able to create colonies and fill them with people, to have communities that offer what every space adventurer could need.
When Starfield is liberated and it’s time to start scouring space for alien artifacts remains to be seen. What is clear is that the first gameplay demonstration left quite a good aftertaste. It remains to be seen how vivid the game worlds are, given the incredible expanse of Bethesda’s new universe, but what’s clear is that I’d appreciate if 2023 could hurry.