Fortunately, you dont have to. We ran a fine tooth comb through their 15-minute gameplay showcase that was revealed during Xboxs not-E3 presentation last Sunday. If anything, and we mean anything, caught our attention, it was written down. After going through our notes and comparing, we believe weve created quite the extensive list of absolutely everything that was shown off. And to make it more digestible, weve also combined and reorganized it together.
Heres the official video, in sparkling high resolution, if you want to see for yourself.
Before we dive into the absolutely lengthy wall of bulletpoints, we wanted to clarify a couple of things. First, in traditional journalistic fashion, our title is somewhat of a lie. We didnt include EVERYTHING we saw. For example, the descriptions/names/icons of every in-game skill will not be listed, just the categories and how they break down. The same goes for the starter traits and skills from background. This information, while new, is a bit too large, and to list the details of every single one would be simply TOO large. Second, if it's a gameplay mechanic that is established from past games, we left that out. You dont need to know about how the player can have party companions or that you can customize your weapon.
With that out of the way, lets dive into the information. Try not to be overwhelmed, and feel free to skip past sections you dont care about.
Table of Contents
- Weapons, items, and Armors
- People, NPCs, and Aliens
- Brands and Businesses
- Gameplay Features and Mechanics
All good RPGs have a main quest. This is no exception. For Starfield, the focus appears to be based around the idea of discovering new unknowns and ancient secrets. Heres what we saw.
Not long into the game, the player will be prompted to join Constellation, the last organization dedicated to exploration.
- Constellation is searching for a strange collection of Artifacts
- They player eventually finds an artifact, and touches it, giving them a strange vision.
- More than just the player has touched an artifact, and also experienced the same reaction.
- The player eventually finds an entire structure based on the artifacts and goes inside it, finding a big artifact thing.
- The player appears to have the choice of joining the United Colonies, The Rock, and the Crimson Fleet, at some point. Its not clear what effect this would have on the main story.
- Todd Howard claims that the players choices matter, but its not clear how exactly, or if hes just being vague and dramatic.
Is someone truly an adventurer if they aren't carrying around an obnoxious number of weapons, healing items, and other random junk? We dare to say not. As such, Starfield appears to have its fair share of all of these. Heres what we saw, separated by category.
- Eon, a semi-auto ballistic pistol.
- It appears to be made by the brand Combatech
- Grendel, an automatic submachine gun.
- Also made by Combatech, it uses 7.77mm ammo
- Coachman, double barrel shotgun.
- Equinox, energy-based laser rifle.
- Maelstrom, appears to be another SMG but couldnt confirm.
- AR-99, appears to be either a rifle or heavy gun.
- The name implies it's a rifle. Its made by the brand Allied Armaments.
While we did not catch any glimpses of specific armor items, we did see that there is a decent variety of options, ranging from space suits to road leathers.
We also noticed that the character creation screen featured the option to toggle your HAB Suit. This implies that there will be a recurring outfit specifically for non-hospitable environments.
This one was somewhat underwhelming as well. Aside from the plot-centric Artifact items, these were the only things we noticed that would be considered items.
Iron crafting material, can be harvested from the world
- Nickel as a crafting material
- Sealant as a crafting material
- Digipicks, the games version of lock picks.
Todd Howard claims that there are over 100 system the player can find and explore. The only ones we can confirm are as follows.
- Alpha Centauri
- Vol II
We saw the names and details about a number of different planets within the game. Howard claims that there are over 1,000 planets to explore, but we dont know the full capacity of this statement. Heres what we could identify.
- Jemison (Alpha Centauri): home of New Atlantis
- Olivas (Alpha Centauri)
- Moon called Chawla: barren, no life, but lots of resources
- Gagarin (Alpha Centauri): full of flora and fauna.
- Anelson (unknown system)
- Moon called Kreet: where the video begins
- Vectera (unknown): beige, dusty, and barren. Scanner shows no fauna or flora, but plenty of resources. Also displays no oxygen readings, a temperature of -199c, and 0.9 grav units. This is where the base building segment is.
There are a few cities that have proper names, from what we saw. Heres what we know.
- New Atlantis (Jemison)
This place is a civilized, modern location, and appears to be where the player meets the main storys faction, Constellation.
- Akila City (Unknown)
We see a number of different shots of this place. Its in a biome of grass, large hills, and normal looking trees. We liken the biome to Cyrodiil, from Elder Scrolls. The city itself is less modern and advanced. The city walls look like stone castle walls, and various structures inside are made of wood and stone. There are wires strewn about connecting buildings. A sign at the entrance says that it was established in 2167 by Solomon Coe.
- Neon (Unknown)
The name comes from the Neon Street Rat trait in character creator. It MIGHT be the cyberpunk looking location, which also implies its in the Vol II system, but we couldnt confirm this.
A number of sights included planets, biomes, and buildings that we could not identify or locate. So instead of names, here are brief descriptions of each.
- A large industrial facility in a dusty beige landscape. We see this place a couple of times throughout the presentation.
- A multistory, stylized building with the word Paradiso on the side. Looks 40s era style, might be a hotel. Surrounding environment is green and lush.
- A cyperpunk looking area. Neon signs contrast metal buildings and pathways. Crowded. This might be Neon, mentioned above.
- Another populated area, metal and machines, but no neon signs, gives more a dieselpunk than cyberpunk look.
- An industrial facility with large methane tanks, built in a large, totally flat environment. The surface is white, possibly snow.
- A frozen facility of some kind.
- What appears to be an underground mineshaft.
- A world full of large crystal formations. The surface is beige and craggy, with crystals jutting out. There also appears to be a cave system below, also full of crystals.
- Some kind of floating stone structure, most likely Artifact related.
- A bright, sandy biome, with palm-like trees throughout.
- A biome of black, barren hill with nothing but rocks.
- A biome of dark stone canyons, topped with snow.
- A biome of dark earth, the lower regions are foggy and pine-like trees are scattered throughout.
- Another topical biome, but instead of sand, there are grasses and more greenery.
- An environment that looks a lot like real world Mars, it even has what appears to be a Mars rover on the surface.
- An environment that looks a lot like the real world earth moon. Grey, no atmosphere, big craters.
- Theres some kind of collection/museum location, indoors, it features objects in display cases and large statues. We think one of the statues might be a Terracotta Soldier.
- What appears to be a classic space museum exists, containing some older NASA designed shuttles and space modules. A flag on the ceiling also shows what looks like MASA, possibly some fictional form of NASA.
- Space Stations can be found in open space.
Whether its shooting space pirates or negotiations with local leaders, there are plenty of folks to interact with in Starfield. We saw individuals, organizations, and even a few monstrous aliens. Heres everything we saw.
Generic NPCs and Individuals
- Pirates appear to be the default Raider of the game, acting as hostile human NPCs.
- The player appears to have a robotic companion, seen leaving the ship in the beginning of the showcase.
- There was a robot similar to our companion robot labeled VAS-119. They appeared to be part of Constellation.
- Their is a man that looks like Salvador Dali that is implied to be a collector. He appears to have an Artifact of his own.
From factions you can side with to literal religions, theres a decent variety of groups that you can encounter in Starfield. Here are all the ones we noticed.
Constellation is the last group of explorers, and appear to be the primary plotline group.
- The Crimson Fleet is a large, organized group of pirates.
- The UC, short for United Colonies appears to be the dominant governing force. They were founded in 2161 (169 years ago) and have dominant control of the Alpha Centauri system.
- The UCSEC appear to be the UCs police force.
- There is a group that protect the freestar collective that the player can join. A sign implies that the group is called The Rock, but that might have been the name of the location and not the group. They appear to be based out of Akila City.
- The Freestar Collective is something. Theyre likely a group of civilians that operate outside of the jurisidction of the UC, but we cannot confirm that.
- The Enlightened is some kind of group. We know they exist from the player trait options. The trait implies that they are rivals with the Sanctum Universum, but thats all we know.
- The Sanctum Universum is another group we saw in the player trait options, who, like you can guess, appear to rival with teh Enlightened.
- There is a religion that worships The Great Serpent. Seen in the player traits, nothing is known about this religion other than that is requires the player to jump regularly. No, were not kidding. It also implies that other religious options exist.
Please forgive us if the descriptions are vague. Its hard to accurately describe all the weird creatures we saw in a succinct way,
Lets start with the ones that had names
- Kreet Stalkers are giant maybe-crab-maybe-scorpion like creatures found on Kreet.
- Sirens are large dinosaur looking alien creatures.
- Metropus Floaters appear to be some kind of strange floating creature with gross sacs of nasty.
- Angler Hexapods are spider-like creatures with large bulbs in the bodys center.
- A Trilobite looking creature is seen skittering on the ground at Kreet
- A large quadrupedal alien with an extra set of arms was attacking the player.
- Another alien, kinda spider looking, was seen in a facility attacking the player.
- There was a pack of dog-like creatures with flat heads and little tube-like appendages coming out of their back
- There were tall, diplodocus looking alien creatures
- We saw some weird birds behind the diplodocuses.
- There were two more alien creatures on a grassland looking planet, but they were too far away to see descriptive detail.
Brands and Businesses
There are a variety of businesses throughout the game. They appear to be giving this idea greater focus as things like weapons, armor, and spaceship part all have branding. Heres the different businesses, both small and large, and what we know about them.
- The Vol II Hotel, seen in cyberpunk town
- Reliant Medical, seen in cyberpunk town
- Shepards, seen in what appears to be Akila City.
While we list what each brand makes, this is only what we could see ourselves, each brand likely produces more than just what we listed.
- Combatech: makes guns (Eon pistol, Grendel SMG)
- Argos Extractors: Not entire sure what they produce, is seen on character creation page.
- Nautilus: Produces Spaceship jump fuel containers, can also be seen on the shirt of the player in character creation.
- Allied Armemants: Makes guns (AR-99)
- Axion Energy: Implied that they make energy production machines.
- Reladyne: makes ship thrusters
- Nova Galactic: makes spaceship lander modules, HAB modules, and cockpits.
- Xiang: makes spaceship power reactors.
- Taiyo: makes spaceship lander modules.
- Stroud Eklund: makes spaceship lander modules.
- Deimos: makes spaceship cockpits.
Time for the meat of the article. We saw all sorts of new mechanics that Starfield will have. We did our best to keep it as short as we could without ignoring important information.
Exploration/Open World Interactions
- The UI compass provides oxygen levels, not sure if thats for the environment or for the suit.
- Every planet has a set number of Resources, Fauna, and Flora that can be scanned using a scanner. The only time we see this is in the beginning, when they scan a Dust Root on Kreet. The scanning system can be seen throughout the game, though.
- Scanner overlay also shows the current planets oxygen level, surface temperature, and grav units (we assume this means level of gravity, implying that some will be weaker/stronger than others)
- The player has a cutter tool to collect resources
- There is a photo mode, available from the scanner view.
- Theres a new lock picking system. Using Digipicks, the player has to connect circular segments to an incomplete circle multiple times to unlock things.
- The player has a jetpack with limited boost capacity, useful for extended airtime.
There wasnt a lot we saw that extended beyond previously established Bethesda mechanics.
- Ships can land on the planet surface and deploy pirates. This may have been scripted, it might be something that can happen at random, we dont know.
- Shooting a targets jetpack will cause them to launch into the air before exploding.
- Zero gravity combat is a thing.
The character creation, visually, appears to more or less use the same system as past Bethesda games, including the Thin/Heavy/Muscular triangle slider from Fallout 4. What sets it apart are the background and optional traits. Heres everything we saw.
Backgrounds allow the player to customize their origin. Each background comes with three relevant starting skills. The chef, for example, starts with better melee damage. We see an NPC remark on your background, but its not clear how much this decision will actually influence gameplay options.
Heres every background we saw. A scrollbar on screen implies that there are more options available that we did not see.
- Beast Hunter
- Bounty Hunter
- Combat Medic
- Cyber Runner
- Long Hauler
Traits are optional aspects you can apply to your character. You can select up to three of them, each one providing both positive and negative aspects to the game. Heres the full list of every trait we saw. There is likely more that were not on screen.
- Alien DNA
- Freestar Collective Settler
- Kid Stuff
- Neon Street Rat
- Raised Enlightened
- Raised Universal
- Serpents Embrace
- Starter Home
- Terra Firma
- United Colonies Native
- Unwanted Hero
We dont have the space or time to list out every trait detail we saw, so here are some of the more interesting ones.
- Kid Stuff: you have parents that are alive and visitable, but 10% of all money you make is automatically taken out and sent to them.
- Starter Home: you begin the game with your own home, but at the cost of also starting with a mortgage loan of 50,000 credits to Gal Bank.
- Serpents Embrace: you worship The Great Serpent, and gain a buff when grav jumping, but gain a debuff if you dont grav jump often enough, like an addiction.
- There are 5 skill categories: Physical, Social, Combat, Science, and Tech
- Each skill category has four rows, with 3 to 5 skills in each row. These are presumably ranked by level.
- The player unlocks new skills using skill points, which are gained from leveling up.
- Unlocked skills can be upgraded to become more powerful. These upgrades are done not with skill points, but by completing a challenge relevant to that skill.
- Argos Extractors is present on the UI, it isnt clear why.
- The players shirt says Nautilus, a spaceship parts company
- Employee Number is on-screen, presumably you start the game working for Nautilus.
- It is remarked that the player can change their characters look at a genetics facility later.
- The sliders used in customization appear to be based on electrophoresis bands, a system for displaying DNA data.
- There are multiple walk cycles to choose from
Crafting operates much in the same way as past games, taking place at a workbench. Weapon customization from Fallout 4 is also returning for Starfield. Heres the new things we saw.
- Players can unlock new crafting recipes through research.
- Research is broken down into 5 categories: Pharmacology, Food and Drink, Outpost Development, Equipment, and Weaponry.
- More than one research project can be active at one time.
- Research it done by spending resources.
- The only projects we saw were for weapon mods, which included multiple tiers of things like barrels, grips, and sights.
- The player can designate any location as a base, similar to the system in Fallout 76. Otherwise, its the same general settlement building system as Fallout 4/76
- The player can now toggle between first person view and a top-down view when building.
- Bases can stock cargo, generate power, and provide a home for NPCs.
- Two power generators were wind turbines and some kind of satellite dish.
- Bases can also generate resources, depending on the planet they are built on.
- The player can hire characters you meet to keep bases up and running, including a little cube robot.
The players ship will play a frequent role in the game. To make the most of it, Bethesda appears to be going deep into what these ships can do for the player.
- Players can build their own spaceships.
- Todd Howard said spaceships plural. This MIGHT mean that players can have more than one ship, but this might also be us overanalyzing. It seems more likely that the player can only have one ship.
- Ships are built by connecting modular pieces, allowing for limitless shapes, sizes, and options.
- Players can choose their crewmembers.
- The ship modules can be customized with color options, as well.
- The modules and the brands that the player uses on their ship will affect the ship stats.
- Stats we saw include power level, power allocation, laser power, ballistic power, missile power, hull strength, shield strength, cargo capacity, crew size, jump range (in light years), mobility, top speed, and total mass.
- The UI in the corner implies that these customizations are done through a vendor.
- Many modules require the Starship Design skill.
- The player can control their ship and fly it around while in open space.
- Its possible to be ambushed by pirates, who will engage in space ship combat encounters.
- Ships have a lock-on system.
- There are meteor showers, space stations, and presumably other things to encounter when flying in open space. Ships can connect to each other for docking.
Theres a massive scope of options for the player to find and explore in Starfield. And to give us some sense of that scale is the overworld map and how we might explore it. While most of the important bits were broken down in the Places section of the article, we still needed a section for the game map itself. Heres what we saw.
- Entire planet surfaces are explorable, not just the major cities they are home to. The example given is that the entire planet of Jemison can be landed on, not just New Atlantis.
- Each star system lists which faction controls it in the upper right corner of the UI. Alpha Centauri is under UC control. This likely means that faction infamy/bounties, like in Skyrim or Fallout New Vegas, will be returning.
- The level of diversity will vary by planet, some being resource rich but barren, with others being teeming with life.
- Players can scan planets from the galaxy map.
For whatever didnt quite fit into the other categories.
- The showcase had the player land on Kreet on Sol Date May 7, 2330. This give us an approximate date for the game.
- We kept seeing the letters NNSS on structures or signs. We couldnt determine what they indicated.
- The player wears a Chronomark smart watch.
- The game appears to make use of cutscenes that arent in first person perspective. A new trend for the studio, but it helps make things look more cinematic.
- A black man in a space suit talks to the player. It SOUNDS like it might be Michael Mack, a recurring voice actor for Bethesda games.
- We saw a lady in some corporate office. The mug on her desk read Liquid Happens. While this isnt exactly noteworthy, we found it entertaining.
- The United States is acknowledged on the side of one of the space modules at the museum mentioned earlier. This confirms in some capacity that Earth classic will be a part of the games history.
As far as samples go, this is quite the smorgasbord. Were glad that Starfield appears to have both met and exceeded our expectations and we cant wait for when it releases some time next year.