After an early glimpse of starfield at Microsoft’s Xbox & Bethesda showcase last year and a delay to 2023, we now get a much better view of Bethesda’s first new IP in 25 years thanks to 15 minutes of gameplay. starfield naturally takes place in space where players take on the role of a final group of explorers. Described as “Skyrim in space,” by game director Todd Howard, the RPG will be playable in both first- and third-person, but it’s primarily first-person.
During the early stages of the gameplay, we arrive at Kreet’s moon, just one of over 1,000 planets that players can fly to and explore freely. Powered by Bethesda’s new Creation Engine 2, the first starfield gameplay shows a player roaming freely in both first- and third-person views, collecting resources and disturbing creatures that also forage starfieldare many planets.
The gameplay progresses to an abandoned research lab, where pirates are hiding. Here we see the XP progression system in action per kill, and the weapons available in starfield† You can even use a jetpack to propel yourself towards enemies. As with previous Bethesda games, you have to pick the gun case locks that can be found everywhere starfield when you hunt for loot.
The main story revolves around the Constellation, the last group of space explorers. You will meet them in the capital New Atlantis where you will discover that this group of explorers is hunting for artifacts in the systems of starfield† What are these artifacts used for? That’s the puzzle to solve. The systems in starfield are full of groups that you can team up with to take on the pirates.
Bethesda relies heavily on character customization, with Howard revealing that the character creator is the studio’s “most flexible yet,” letting you customize skin tones, facial texture, hair, and more. You choose three traits to adapt to your character, and the skill system includes unlocks and individual ranks. You can also use resources to create weapon mods.
You can build your own outpost to generate resources across the planets, and you can hire characters you meet to maintain them. You can also build your own spaceships, choose your crew members and completely customize the look and layout of the ship. There are different ship manufacturers and modules, so it seems that it is easy to create a unique ship with different weapon systems or shields.
Flying around looks particularly impressive in starfield, and it suggests that much of the battles in the game won’t be limited to just planets. You can freely land and explore on all planets in the system of star field, and Bethesda says there are over 1,000 planets all open for players to explore. It looks incredibly ambitious – even if the gameplay looked a little slow at times. We don’t have an exact launch date yet.
starfield was originally scheduled to launch on November 11, 2022, a nod to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim‘s release date, but Microsoft announced a postponement of the vague “first half of 2023” just weeks before the Xbox showcase. Microsoft recently made a list starfield as “early 2023” on an Xbox Game Pass sign-up page, and all games in the showcase are expected to be released within the next 12 months. So we may not be waiting too long to start exploring. Anyway, starfield launches exclusively on Xbox Series X/S and PC next year.