As we inch closer and closer to the anticipated release of Starfield, Bethesda has offered players a closer look at a variety of features that the game, and its many worlds, will offer through a multitude of new informational interviews and trailers. Starfield Direct painted a picture of what player’s should expect the focus of the game to revolve around. Of course, the recurring theme is “exploration”.
Istvan Pely, the art director behind Starfield at Bethesda Studio emphasized that their team’s goal was to really hone in on the mystery and allure of space:
"“Our mission was to convey the wonder and majesty of space exploration, to evoke the romance of the golden age of early space flight, and we’ve been referring to this approach as NASA Punk.”"
The idea of “NASA punk” stems from creating designs that seem both “advanced yet believable”, so that the technology and environment doesn’t seem completely unrealistic. It would seem that Bethesda has succeeded in this vein from what we can tell, as the world and interiors displayed surely fit the mold they were looking to fill.
While we’ve known for some time that Starfield’s setting will be massive, the showcase gave us a glimpse of the diverse biomes through which the player character will be able to traverse. From futuristic cities to seemingly primitive and almost prehistoric worlds, the game will take the player character on a journey unlike any Bethesda has produced to date.
These biomes are the hallmarks of planets that are generated as the player approaches them, which offers as very tailored experience. Throughout the showcase it’s mentioned that no two players will have the same experience or story to tell on any given planet due to the system Bethesda uses to randomize the encounters players will face and secrets they will discover.
Of course, there are also more stable environments in the game for players to explore, such as many of the main cities and planetary hubs. According to the developers, the United Colonies capital of New Atlantis is the largest city the game studio has ever developed for any of its titles. Brian Chapin, lead of city design, also added that New Atlantis was designed to support the story in tandem with being the games largest civilized hub:
"“The main focus when we’re designing a city is obviously what supports the story. We try and tell as many small stories as possible Its a few moments of gameplay that make the space feel like it’s full of real characters that are going about their day to day lives.”"
The metropolis is filled with massive, futuristic structures and as wealth of npcs programmed to carry out daily functions as well as help further the player character’s story through quests and adequately themed dialogue for added immersion.
Alongside the civilized corners of the galaxy, players will also be able to travel to the furthest corners of space to frontier worlds where civilization has oftentimes not left it’s mark. The worlds in question will be hubs for pirates and renegade factions, along with native flora and fauna that may or may not pose a threat to the player character. These frontier worlds will also allow the player to set up their own base of operations in the form of outposts, which will act as player homes, resource harvesting plants, or both.
To get to these worlds, players will have to utilize Starfield’s in depth ship crafting and upgrade system, which allows for boundless possibilities in terms of creating the perfect spacecraft for any given play through. From smuggler’s frigates to stealth fighters, the choices will truly allow for player creativity to take the lead in terms of the type of craft they create, what it specializes in, and how far it can take the player.
Upgrading the “grav drive” will be important for this, as doing so will allow the player to have the extra reach when jumping between systems. In addition to upgrades to the grav drive, upgrades will also be available for weapon systems, shields, living quarters and cargo bays. They will be fully customizable inside and out, which will allow the player to really envision and create a spacecraft that reflects their character as a whole.
Along with Starfield Direct, an added trailer was released where we are given pieces of dialogue we’re likely to encounter during our play-throughs, with one line in particular alluding to human settlements throughout the galaxy potentially being at risk. While this certainly alludes to a galaxy where humanity has expanded far and wide, it also hints at the over-arching storyline, with perhaps human curiosity being at the forefront of some potentially-catastrophic threat that the player character may be faced with.