Bethesda held their long-awaited Developer Direct showcase for Starfield today, with nearly an hour of new gameplay footage and developer commentary. The event followed the Xbox Games Showcase, which also included a new trailer for Starfield in its lineup.
The showcase provided new information about just about every aspect of the game, from setting to skills to starships. We’ll cover some of the highlights below!
There are over 1000 Planets and Moons in Starfield, and the showcase explored several of these worlds and went into further detail about their design and implementation. Todd Howard revealed that when you are standing on a planet and see a moon in the sky, that’s not a backdrop – that moon is actually there, and you can travel to it. This suggests an unprecedented level of open world gameplay for a space game.
Worlds in Starfield are lit based on their star and atmosphere, with lighting calculated based on the angle of the star, which changes as the planet rotates. The developers studied NASA data to design their planets, creating diverse biomes based on each planet’s distance from its star.
The showcase also spent some time on each of the major faction capitals, including New Atlantis, the biggest city the studio has ever made.
Skills and Combat
We got a deeper look at the combat in Starfield, including our first glimpse of melee combat. The video also showed off grenades and exploding mines, which can be placed on the ground in front of you. There are a ton of weapons and modifications in the game, more than in any previous Bethesda game, and the way they work depends partly on your environment. For example, in zero gravity, ballistic weapons will push you back while energy weapons offer more stability. The way your boost pack works also depends on the planet’s gravity, offering larger jumps and slower falls in low-gravity environments.
We got to see some stealth gameplay as well, including pickpocketing and sneak attacks. Noise suppressing modifications are also available for guns, further enhancing stealth capability.
There was a quick rundown of several unique skills in the game, including Xenosociology, a skill that lets you mind control alien creatures, and Neurostrikes, which seems to be a kind of sci-fi unarmed combat skill.
At the end of the video, we also got a quick peek at something that looked like a psionic ability. The character held up a hand and caused a group of enemies to fly backward, like a sort of gravity-based Fus-Ro-Dah. No further information was revealed about this ability, and our best guess is that it’s a special power that is unlocked as part of the main quest, much like shouts in Skyrim.
Ships and Crew
We got a closer look at the characters who make up your Constellation crew, including their skills. These characters offer unique bonuses when they travel with you, and yes, romance options as well. You can also hire other potential crewmates at spaceports and other locations throughout the galaxy. They can be assigned to your ship or to any outpost, providing production boosts to any location they are assigned to.
The showcase took a closer look at Spaceships and Space Combat, revealing that you can buy and sell ships of all kinds at spaceports and deck them out however you like. Customizations not only affect the ship’s handling in travel and combat, it affects the modules you have access to within the ship, such as crafting and storage. Some unique designs were shown off, such as a ship that resembled a platypus and one that looked a lot like Optimus Prime. No doubt we will be seeing some wild designs when players get their hands on the game.
You can hail any ship you come across for trade, information, or to engage in piracy. You can also forcibly dock and board enemy ships for face-to-face combat. There seems to be a wide variety of ship types that you can encounter, from pleasure yachts to enormous battleships.
Collector’s Edition and Preorder
The collector’s edition of Starfield will come with a smart watch that matches the Chronomark watch seen in the game, as well as a custom Xbox controller and headset. These products all match those that have been seen in leaks over the last few weeks.
The game is now available for pre-order. The Standard edition costs $69.99. The Digital Premium edition is $99.99. The Constellation edition, which includes the watch, controller and headset, is not yet available on the official site, but should be soon. Currently it is available through GameStop for a whopping $299.99.
Starfield releases on September 6th of this year. The full showcase video is below – jump to 1:36:50 if you want to skip straight to the Starfield showcase!
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I love RPGs, MMOs, and weird little indie games. Anything that lets me build and decorate or just has a really good story. I've spent hundreds of hours in Bethesda games and even more time modding them. I also play a lot of World of Warcraft.