Starfield finally received its first gameplay reveal at the Xbox & Bethesda conference. A long time in the waiting, from an initial trademark in 2013 to the first reveal in 2018, here are our thoughts on the first official gameplay reveal.
Bethesda in Space
If you played any of the main Bethesda franchises (Fallout and The Elder Scrolls) and enjoyed them, there is little chance you weren’t going to buy it anyway. Bethesda has a knack for creating worlds like no other. The fact that there are 1000 planets to explore has me cautiously optimistic for a space-faring adventure like we’ve never seen before. Having said that, here are some tidbits we pulled from the gameplay reveal.
Customization has been a big feature for recent Bethesda games, namely Fallout 4’s base building. Starfield takes that to a whole new level by allowing for customization of: bases, characters and your ship.
- Bases: From utility to the overall aesthetic, it seems like your base of operations will play a key part in your journey across the cosmos. it’s currently unclear if you can have multiple bases on different planets, and how they will interact with one another.
- Character Creator: Not out of the ordinary for a Bethesda game, but it looks more extensive than those of which we’ve seen in the past.
- Ship Building: This is the one I am most interested in. The customizability looked extensive, but I’ll be curious how impactful the changes are in space combat. There were a few instances of space combat, so I’d be curious how much of an impact your own design will have on maneuverability and combat efficiency.
Quests and Campaign
Bethesda has always excelled in bringing their worlds to life via some of the best quest storylines out there. I can’t imagine it would be anything different here. It really is in their DNA. No matter how any other aspects of Starfield (or any of their previous games) turned out, there is little to be worried about when it comes to their questlines. Oftentimes, their small-mid sized quests trump the overarching story, but the journey seeing things through to the end makes it all worthwhile.
If there is ever a sticking point I have with Bethesda games, it’s combat. Sadly, I feel the same after seeing this gameplay reveal. It feels more like a vector to propel the story forward versus taking part in some exciting encounter. The guns just felt too ‘earth-like’ for a game set across the stars. The sound design also didn’t give the perception of these guns acting any differently than they would on earth, or an earth-like planet. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on how their combat evolves up to release.
Remaining Questions about Starfield
As with most first gameplay reveals, it provided more questions than answers. It was really nice getting a first look, but here are the questions that popped up after the showing:
- Planet Landing & Discovery: Something that wasn’t shown was if we land on the planets manually (like No Man’s Sky) or if there is a cut-scene showing the landing to us. It’s a huge immersion-breaker if it is the latter. That goes doubly so for taking off. There is a sense of excitement during any launch, and I’d hate it if the launch is just a cut-scene.
- Planet Variety: There was mention of goldilocks planets and barren planets; how will they tie into the overarching theme of the game? I’d imagine there are some smaller planets that are void of pretty much anything (much like real life), but we don’t have an idea of what the thread is to continue discovering planets clearly devoid of life.
- Resource Management & Base Importance: Mining and resource collection via your base was a key mention during the reveal. I’m curious to what extent. Do we need to constantly scan and mine as we are traversing planets? Or will we get to a point where passive collection via our base is enough? An emphasis on base creation/design also points to bases playing more deeply into the story, but we have no idea the importance of utilizing a base and companions yet.
It was nice finally seeing the first gameplay reveal of Starfield. It seems to encompass all the aspects I love about Bethesda games (like strong story and great exploration), as well as those of which I do not (non-enticing combat and jank). I’m sure some people will be concerned with what they saw, but I have faith in what they produce and can’t wait to experience their spacefaring adventure.
Get more info on Starfield at their official site here: Starfield Gameplay Reveal (bethesda.net)