Bethesda talks Starfield factions, quests, Earth, and more

Starfield gravity jump in space
(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

What you need to know

  • Bethesda Game Studios designer Will Shen talked more about the upcoming science-fiction role-playing game Starfield. 
  • Shen confirmed that players will get to visit Earth's solar system and walk on Mars, as well as detailing new companion interactions, how factions work, and more.
  • Starfield is currently slated to arrive at some point in the first half of 2023.

Bethesda's next big role-playing experience is on the way, and while we still don't have a new release date, Bethesda is continuing to share bits of additional information in the leadup to the game.

In a new brief interview, lead quest designer Will Shen talks about some of the choices the team has made working on Starfield. Shen has worked at Bethesda Game Studios for years, having previously been part of the team on Fallout 4 and Fallout 76, including leading design on the Fallout 4: Far Harbor expansion.

Shen confirmed that players will be visiting Earth's solar system, which is referred to as the "Old Neighborhood" and that players will actually be landing on Mars very early on in the story as part of the Constellation questline. Shen also confirmed that the random encounter system has been expanded to full planets, allowing players to discover entirely new communities or groups that need help when exploring.

Shen also confirmed that the main quest introduces players to all of the major factions. Factions work more like in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim than in Fallout 4, which means players usually aren't locked out from joining multiple factions and going through the different quest lines. That doesn't mean players should expect to be in charge of everything though.

"You don't necessarily end up as the head of every single faction," Shen explained, noting that your choices will still influence how a faction ends up changing over the course of the game, and that major characters will live or die depending on your choices.

While companions function much like in past Bethesda role-playing games, a new feature allows companions to speak on your behalf from time to time if they are with you in a relevant situation. This can have good or bad consequences, depending on how things play out.

Starfield does not currently have an exact release date after being delayed past Nov. 11, 2022, but like Redfall from Arkane Austin, it is slated to launch in the first half of 2023. Like Redfall, it's being developed exclusively for Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Windows PC, and will launch day one into Xbox Game Pass.

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With Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, players have access to a range of first-party titles across Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda Softworks, which includes the upcoming games Starfield and Redfall.

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Windows Central's take

I'm glad Bethesda Game Studios is continuing to share smaller tidbits about Starfield in these community updates. By all accounts this game is ambitious, so it's a good way to regularly drip-feed information. It's the delay was the right choice, as this is an experience that needs to be polished and make a statement as Bethesda Game Studios' first game as part of Xbox first-party.

That being said, I really hope that Starfield (and by extension Redfall) are getting a release date very soon, no later sometime in February 2023. Games don't need drawn-out marketing cycles of countless months on end, but we do need to hear something in the next few weeks.

Samuel Tolbert

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.