For those of us who remember, Starfield had an initial release date on the 22nd of November 2022. But it was delayed without a specific date to the first half of 2023 in an official press release in May 2022.
But that’s old news.
Starfield is releasing on the 6th of September.
It’s all hands on deck now.
I’ll breeze through all the important details about Starfield in the rest of this blog. Buckle up.
Starfield Release Date and Starfield Early Access
Starfield is releasing on the 6th of September.
But you can get access to it 5 days ahead of schedule right on 1st September.
Bethesda’s building up nicely to the game with 3 additional versions beyond the Standard Edition. (Dive deeper to find where all Starfield is releasing in. Here’s a shortcut.)
Coming back to that, you can pre-order Starfield now across the following versions/editions –
- Standard Edition
- Deluxe Edition
- Premium Edition
- Premium Edition Upgrade
- Constellation Edition (which is the Collector’s Edition and it’s mostly sold out.)
To know all about each edition – Grav Jump here.
And there’s a pre-order bonus too.
Pre-order Starfield (other than the Standard Edition) and you get your Starfield Early Access.
But get this.
If you’re an active Xbox Game Pass user, you too get the pre-order bonus (thanks to Microsoft), but you don’t get to enjoy Early Access. That’s only when you buy a digital or physical copy.
Does Starfield come with Xbox Game Pass?
It does. You will get to play Starfield with an Xbox Game Pass. Do yourself a favor and activate your Game Pass before the 6th of September to enjoy Starfield. Here’s a quick link to Xbox Game Pass US.
The best way forward is if you’re only interested in the Standard Edition for now and not really into the hardware of it, I’ll just stick to Game Pass. Bethesda and pre-orders are not that easy off the block.
Starfield Story and Setting
Starfield is one of the highest anticipated releases this side of the year. Bethesda is betting big with this open-world space Odyssey RPG that’ll live-action space shooting and more, there’s a lot of talk of Starfield being a Skyrim-in-space.
But is Starfield like Skyrim or Fallout 4?
Bethesda is taking the best things about Skyrim and Fallout 4 and blending them in a space soup for Starfield.
Starfield also reminds me of No Man’s Sky, a personal favorite, with its multiple worlds, engaging graphics, immersive gameplay and the lot.
That’s the official Live Action Trailer. But that’s just to keep the juggernaut rolling. We already had whatever we wanted to know about Starfield with the extended Starfield Direct – Gameplay Deep Dive.
In case you want to watch for the nth time, here it is –
This will be an out-and-out space exploration game and you will play the protagonist explorer.
Is Starfield first person only?
No, it’s got first person and third person gameplay mechanics developed well into the system. And that’s quite well aligned with the story itself.
You start on a planet of course and you can free-explore it just to get the hang of the exquisite gameplay mechanics, at least that’s how it looks like it’ll be.
But despite the sci-fi, the central storyline is about artifacts spread across many galaxies and pointing towards something more than life in the outer reaches of space.
Will Starfield be as big as Skyrim?
Bigger and maybe the biggest open-world game tomorrow, although it will take time for Bethesda to add on DLCs and more content to help Starfield towards it. Sounds a lot like No Man’s Sky but only time will tell if Starfield takes that route although the foundations are well laid.
Does Starfield really have 1000 planets?
Not just planets, Starfield will have more than a thousand worlds. That’s not a rumor. That’s just how Starfield is poised and paced to turn out over time. It might be that 1000 worlds won’t be there in Early Access on 1st September 2023 but within a month or two we should be reaching that number. If No Man’s Sky could do it, Bethesda can do better since they already have Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall running well enough.
Starfield Game Design
‘NASA Punk’ – that’s the Starfield art style. High-tech but relatable. This is a proven design psychology across a couple of games and no game developer is really risking it by going that bit farther with the imagination (sadly).
But it does look great though. And speaking of game design
Does Starfield use the same engine as Skyrim?
Yes and No. Starfield uses the Creation Engine foundations, just like Skyrim and even Fallout 4. But most of the game is powered by Creation Engine 2, a much more advanced upgrade over the basics. It shows in the graphics – detailed, animated, original and ultra-realistic in dimensional depth.
Starfield Character Creation Gameplay Ships Open World and More
Starfield will come with probably the most extensive and realistic character creation modules in any game yet. I’m not too sure if it took Bethesda 25 years to come to Starfield and since it’s the first real new release from Bethesda in 25 years, it better be worth it.
You can create your own character almost from scratch and that’s just for the outline.
Starfield Character Creation
Character creation in top games and studios nowadays is incomplete without a proper ‘background’ of the character you’re building. That’s what initially defines the skillset and character point which I’m sure Starfield will have in aces considering how Bethesda treats the fans with Skyrim and even Daggerfall.
I like how Bethesda accentuated the character background setup with a traits add-on. You can add up to 3 traits. Each trait comes with its pros and cons. And you can remove them although I’ll wait until the game releases to know how to do that. Why? Check this.
Finally, we come to the skill system and who is better at it than Bethesda.
Skills are degreed in ranks. Higher the rank, more powerful the skill. Each skill rank is associated with challenges that get harder as you try to rank up.
The Starfield skill system has 5 skill trees, a default of 4 ranks per skill and 15-17 skills per skill tree.
So, safe to say, there’s a lot in the game and completing the skill tree should take more than 100 hours. Add to these skill trees various side quests and you’re looking beyond that.
Starfield may just be the biggest RPG yet, inside and outside.
Coming to the Starfield gameplay, this is the number one reason why many have pre-ordered the Premium or the Deluxe edition.
In Starfield, you get a substantial weapons kitty from knives to semi-auto Glocks and SMGs. But that’s not even half of the story.
The fun is in the gameplay mechanics.
You wear a suit, and it comes with some advantages. Like vertical flanking. That’s where you use the thrusters with your suit to get a higher ground and flank from the top. So instead of mindlessly jumping around, Starfield might just have found a more relatable and realistic way to an engaging gameplay experience.
Beyond that, you can shift between first and third person POVs.
Gunplay is ‘good’. Although none of us should be expecting knife and swordplay (looks like Starfield does have some hacking weapons in the form of short swords) on the level of Ghosts of Tsushima or say Assassin’s Creed (who’s looking ahead to Mirage?), Starfield keeps it simple so that our attention lies where it does best.
This is where I’ll come to the open-world mechanics, and it looks like Bethesda has hit the sweet spot.
For starters, we’re getting a couple of base cities that support the main story. Each city has its dynamics and plays a key role in the overall storyline.
Are there only 4 cities in Starfield?
Based on the teaser, reveal and promotional content, yes. But there’s a high chance that as we move forward from the release and toward DLCs, we’ll find even more cities popping up. Part and parcel of open-world RPGs is the ‘space’ to add further content as players continue playing through the game.
The graphics are out-of-this-world and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Bethesda does maintain as seamless a gameplay from Day 1 in Early Access as the official videos show.
But the key aspect of it all is space Exploration. And this is where Starfield takes up the baton from the likes of No Man’s Sky with procedurally generated worlds.
Bethesda does better though.
As you make your way through generated worlds, you also come across generated missions and characters. So, there’s a high chance (as per Bethesda there’s a complete chance) that no two visits from different players will pan out the same. What does this mean?
Starfield is not just procedurally generated worlds and planets. The whole game system including all items and objects for interaction is procedurally generated as well.
And there’s something crazier to talk about.
Starfield Ships and Space Combat
The sheer number of customizations available with the Shipbuilding mode is crazy and if you’ve watched this, you know what I’m talking about.
Maybe the exciting part is when you take your ship apart and build it from scratch in a 3D mesh GUI built right in the game. Now, considering the amount of modding generally available in Bethesda games, I can’t wait to get my hands dirty.
Moreover, knowing Bethesda, this exorbitant amount of customization may be what ends up making Starfield one of the best games of the decade.
And it’s not like you can just go ahead with all guns blazing. You must have a ship design for combat or else you’ll be losing out to smaller but combat-spec ships.
That’s the beauty of Bethesda – the sheer balance in gaming mechanics.
Starfield Companions and Outposts
Starfield is going beyond the obvious in so many ways that pointing out just one wouldn’t do justice to it or the other ones.
But I must talk about the Companions setup.
Reason number 23408842e why I’ve been waiting for Starfield is its degree of realism. Bethesda is adding more value to NPCs by making them an integral part of the gameplay and storyline.
Much of the companion options available so far are mostly down to the NPCs every player will meet in the game as members of the Constellation.
But you can also add crew members to your ship from beyond that. Of course, each character will bring specific advantages as a crew member.
You also need to manage outputs and not just ships.
These gaming mechanics remind me of typical RTS games like Stellaris.
And if Starfield does take good care of these variables without OP-ing characters or factions then we have a whole generation of new gamers to bring in.
By the way, you can also edit your outposts with just as many customizations as your ships.
It gets crazier every minute.
Starfield: Is This the New Gold Standard of Gaming?
If all Starfield news and the hype are to be taken seriously, it might just be the case.
Although we do get Baldur’s Gate releasing alongside, another highly anticipated title for the year, Starfield promises something new, something more, it promises unending possibilities.
How many hours will Starfield have?
The main quest of Starfield will be limited to less than 50 hours. Adding all side quests, it should go beyond 100 hours. But that would typically be scratching the surface. With more than 1,000 worlds, Bethesda will continue to build on top of the foundation with more quests, regions, content, worlds, procedurally generating new content as we dig deeper into outer space.
And what if we end up with an EVE online gameplay – an open world with established economic and planetary systems, constantly shifting powers, all this, with the same cinematic experience and astounding graphical representations as the trailers promise.
Has Bethesda broken the glass ceiling? Again? Or will Starfield fall behind expectations?
In my opinion, they are among the best at RPGs and Starfield, despite initial bugs galore, will herald a new era of gaming.