Since the gameplay presentation at the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase on June 12, 2022, we know that we’ll be piloting (homemade!) starships through Starfield space and even engaging in combat. Recently there were more details about the space gameplay.
While the core gameplay on the inhabited planets of Starfield (that is, the combat, dialogue, and exploration of the world) is definitely recognize the DNA of Bethesdaanother gameplay part awaits us in the SciFi RPG that has never been seen before in a Bethesda role-playing game: flying and fighting in space.
More FTL than Star Wars: Squadrons
Exactly this space gameplay experience was recently commented on by Todd Howard (game director and executive producer of Bethesda Game Studios) (via PC gamers). When it comes to space action, Bethesda designers took inspiration from MechWarrior and FTL, rather than Star Wars: Squadrons, Rebel Galaxy, Everspace, House of the Dying Sun and whatever they are called.
In other words: the pace of the fights is comparatively slow and it’s about energy management and which actions you string together. Your ship has several energy systems. You have to supply the three different weapon systems with energy, but also your engines, shields and the gravitational drive, which you can use to free yourself from critical situations if necessary.
Infinite expanses, many options
According to Pete Hines (Senior VP of Global Marketing & Communications – via PC gamers) it should even be possible to dock with another ship in space, kill the crew and take over the spaceship. Thankfully, Starfield is a single-player role-playing experience. 😉 What will not work, however: to fly the spaceship seamlessly from space to the planet and to land it manually on the surface.
Todd Howard explains (via PC gamers) that early in development the team decided to treat outer space and gameplay on the planet’s surface as two different realities. The reason: Todd Howard doesn’t think that too many players care about this short phase between space and planetary action. But you would have to invest an enormous amount of time and effort to make this part feel good. Instead, they’d rather focus on making the space and planetary gameplay play amazingly.
According to Howard, Starfield is not a simulation like No Man’s Sky, Star Citizen or Elite: Dangerous, but an RPG that should be fun. Like Mass Effect, where you’ve only ever been on planets or Normandy – and yet it’s one of the best SciFi RPGs ever made.