The Starfield direct has now finished, and it released a ton of new information about Bethesda’s new game, about the combat (both space and on the ground), ship and character customisation, and the base building. So let’s blast off and start looking at this massive game.
The bit that’s the most eye-catching is the ship customization. It involves players being able to edit their own ship, with it being split into modules (weapons engines, workstations and so on) that can fit onto each other to create unique and interesting ships.
In the video, one of the developers created a platypus looking ship, and another created one that looked like a mech. How these different shapes will hinder or help speed and other aspects will be key, not just what shape the player finds the coolest.
There are also different ship classes, with nimble fighters and bulky cargo freighters. Not only do they affect combat, but they affect what mission type players can do. Try catching a bounty in a ship designed to lug cargo from one end to the galaxy to another, it won’t go well.
Players can also purchase different ships to amass a huge fleet. Another way to acquire new ships is to take them off other NPCs, but of course that will require boarding them. Space combat is a huge part of this game, though don’t expect fleetwide actions or massive starfighter engagements, just small dogfights.
Gamers control all their ship’s systems while in flight, and can choose to move energy into weapons, shields, engines and other systems at the expense of something else, similar to Star Wars: Squadrons. In combat, there is an extra perk that allows players to shoot at specific parts of an enemy ship, which looks like a must have.
Enemy ships can be fully destroyed and looted, or boarded and stolen. Although it’s extra effort, boarding and stealing ships looks like the best option every time, but there will likely be an incentive not to.
On the ground, combat looks like it’s been beefed up, as V.A.T.S. from Fallout 4 is no longer a thing, so the shooting has to be better. Players have a variety of tools, knives, pistols, machine guns, all types of dastardly weaponry in which to beat their foes. They also have a jetpack to zip across the battlefield, which should feel amazing.
Players can make their character look however they like with different perks and skills, but unfortunately they have to remain human. This is a huge let down, and it’s a huge step back from Skyrim where players could make themselves different species. Intelligent life other than humans also seemed to be missing.
One final aspect worth touching on here is the base building. Fallout 4 had bare bones settlement building mechanics that felt tacked on and very clunky to use, but those unveiled in the gameplay demonstration look much more developed and fleshed out, featuring a top-down perspective to place buildings, and a first-person perspective to fine tune things.
Those are just the things that stood out in the nearly one hour showcase, ending on a tease for the inclusion of magic powers with the character’s that look suspiciously like another major franchise set in a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. What’s been shown off is very exciting but it must be stressed this has all been cherry picked by Bethesda, the disastrous launch of Redfall should be a reminder that things can go horrifically wrong.
Starfield releases on September 6.