Starfield timeline: Bethesda has offered a detailed look at the game's vast backstory

Promotional screenshot of Starfield
(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

What you need to know

  • Bethesda has released a comprehensive timeline of events leading up to the main story of the upcoming RPG, Starfield.
  • The timeline documents how mankind began colonizing alien worlds, various factions being formed, wars breaking out, and more.
  • Starfield is scheduled to be released on Xbox Series X|S , PC, and Xbox Game Pass on Sept. 6, 2023.

On Aug 14, 2023, Bethesda updated the official Starfield website with a timeline detailing the events of Starfield's backstory leading to when the game's main plot begins. This timeline (via @IdleSloth84_) provides a huge wealth of valuable information regarding Starfield's setting and characters that players will want to read up on if they wish to fully immerse themselves in the plot.

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The history of Starfield's universe features significant events like humanity finally landing on Mars in 2050 and being able to sustainably live in space by 2100. Then as mankind journeyed the stars to colonize more worlds, factions began to form like the United Colonies and Freestar Collective and battled one another for dominance of the Narian System in a bloody war called the Narian War which lasted from 2196 to 2216.

Other noteworthy events include the formation of the Constellation faction in 2275, a group of explorers dedicated to exploring the cosmos, discovering alien artifacts and lifeforms, and solving their mysteries. Then in 2307, United Colonies and Freestar Collective once again declared war on each other after the Freestar Collective broke a peace treaty, resulting in the Colony War which lasted until 2311.

The timeline ends in 2330 with a single message "Starfield Begins", confirming that this is where the player's story will begin in Starfield. The full timeline as stated by Bethesda on the official Starfield website is as follows.

Full Starfield backstory timeline

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Starfield TimelineHeader Cell - Column 1
2050 A.D.Humans first arrive on Mars. By 2100, humans are living in space.
2156 A.D.Humans arrive in Alpha Centauri (4.37 light year years away from Earth).
2159 A.D.The United Colonies are established.
2160 A.D.New Atlantis is founded and becomes the official capital of the United Colonies in 2161.
2167 A.D.Cheyenne is settle by Solomon Coe, who founds its first settlement, Akila City.
2188 A.D.Coe invites Volii to join Cheyenne in a new alliance - The Freestar Collective. The Freestar Collective is officially formed in 2189.
2194 A.D.The United Colonies position the star station called the Clinic in orbit around Deepla in the Narian system. The unaffiliated peoples of the Narion system see this as a UC attempt to expand their borders and demand the UC remove the Clinic. When the UC refuses, the people of Narion vote to join the Freestar Collective, who mobilize to protect the system in 2195.
2196 A.D.In response to Freestar mobilization, theUC moves a fleet into the Narion system and Freestar responds in kind. The Narion War begins.
2216 A.D.The Narion War drags on as public sentiment sours. Finally, the Treay of Narion is signed by the UC and Freestar Collective in 2216, ending the conflict. The term "Settled Systems" is formalized in the treaty.
2221 A.D.The Freestar Rangers are founded as an elite protective and investigative force dedicated to serving all citizens of the Freestar Collective.
2275 A.D.Constellation is formed by Sebastian Banks. Original members include Chloe Bao, accomplished physicist; Aja Mamasa, the youngest member and Sebastian's protégé; Darius Andris, botanist and specialist in the xeno-flora; Bernadette Laurent, wealthy heiress and adventurer; Everado Gil, former smuggler; and Kadri Toma, biologist and physician. The Lodge is built in New Atlantis to serve the needs and people of Constellation for generations to come.
2305 A.D.Barrett joins Constellation.
2307 A.D.The Freestar Collective begins farming on the planet of Vesta in the Lunara system. By 2308 the United Colonies claims that by establishing a colony in a fourth system, the Freestar Collective has violated the Treaty of Narion. Diplomatic talks break down and the UC lays siege to Vesta, killing anyone who stayed behind (or was brought in) to defend it. The Colony War officially begins.
2310 A.D.Constellation comes into possession of their first Artifact and tucks it away in the Constellation archives.
2311 A.D.After several years of conflict, the Colony War effectively comes to an end with the Battle of Cheyenne as a flotilla of civilian and military Freestar Collective ships takes down the major ships of the UC Navy using hit-and-run tactics.
2315 A.D.The UC Vanguard is founded as part of a UC response to the Freestar Collective's use of civilian ships during the Colony War. The Vanguard is the UC's own civilian navy, relying on civilians using their own ships, who pledged to protect the United Colonies and its interests. The ultimate reward for this service: citizenship in the United Colonies.
2319 A.D.Sarah Morgan becomes the youngest head of the UC Navigator Corps, though it's a short-lived position as the division is shut down in 2320. Cast adrift, but still eager to put her training to good use, Morgan joins Constellation.
2321 A.D.Walter Stroud — co-owner of Stroud-Ecklund, one of the Settle Systems' premier starship manufacturers — joins Constellation and becomes its primary financial backer.
2322 A.D.Former Crimson Fleet pirate Vladimir Sall joins Constellation.
2325 A.D.Sarah Morgan becomes acting Chair of Constellation.
2325 A.D.Theologian Matteo Khatri joins Constellation.
2326 A.D.Barrett finds the original Artifact in the Constellation archives and knows it must be special.
2327 A.D.Freestar Ranger Sam Coe and his daughter Cora join Constellation.
2328 A.D.Andreja joins Constellation.
2328 A.D.Barrett convinces Constellation to purchase Starstation L-868 and modify it to become a deep space scanner, nicknamed "The Eye."
2330 A.D.Starfield begins.

Starfield's history is set to be vast and complex

The Starfield timeline website details the recent advances in human history leading up to the game.  (Image credit: Bethesda)

This timeline shows that this upcoming Xbox game already has a rich history to help the players immerse themselves in Starfield's grand universe. However, I feel that this timeline is an abridged version of mankind's colonization of space and that it will be up to the player to discover the rest of the game's intriguing lore by exploring the galaxy.

What kind of secrets will await players in the world of Starfield? Find out on Sept. 19, 2023, when Starfield launches on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC (via Windows and Steam), and Xbox Game Pass

Starfield Premium Edition

Starfield Premium Edition

The Premium Edition of Starfield will grant players five days of early access to the game, cosmetic skins, and access to the first post-launch story expansion DLC.

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Alexander Cope

Alexander Cope is a gaming veteran of 30-plus years, primarily covering PC and Xbox games here on Windows Central. Gaming since the 8-bit era, Alexander's expertise revolves around gaming guides and news, with a particular focus on Japanese titles from the likes of Elden Ring to Final Fantasy. Alexander is always on deck to help our readers conquer the industry's most difficult games — when he can pry himself away from Monster Hunter that is!