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Starfield gameplay

Our guide to all the Starfield gameplay trailers and new mechanics has all you need to prepare for a trip into deep space.

Starfield gameplay

If you’re trying to get a sneak peek at Starfield gameplay in advance of the big release, you’re in the right place. We’ve got all the latest gameplay footage compiled in one place, so you can get your head around space exploration, combat, and more. Just be aware, there are some spoilers further down the page for the beginning of the game, so if you want to into your Starfield experience completely in the dark, look away now.

With over 1000 planets to explore, companions to romance, and quests to complete, you’ll never be short of something to do in Starfield. To properly immerse yourself in this landmark game from Bethesda, be sure to also check out the Starfield controller and headset to feel like you’re behind the controls of one of the many ships in this deep space exploration.

Starfield gameplay trailer

Bethesda’s first look at Starfield’s gameplay came in June 2022 with the Starfield gameplay trailer, which you can view below. The gameplay footage showcases the desolate planet Kreet and your robotic companion Vasco. You can also see the player character mining for resources – though this is space mining, so they’re using a laser – which is sure to come in handy for establishing your outposts.

The Starfield gameplay trailer from above does include one very important element – combat. This game looks like the closest Bethesda has ever come to a pure shooter, with the player character firing an automatic weapon at some unsuspecting space pirates. While we weren’t exactly expecting the Fallout V.A.T.S shooting mechanic to copy over, we didn’t know what to expect from combat Starfield gameplay prior to this trailer, though it seems we don’t have to get our head around a new convoluted system.

One concept that does seem to make a return from both the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series is lockpicking. The mechanic is called ‘digipicks’ in the trailer above, though it seems to work almost exactly as lockpicking does in Skyrim or Fallout 3. As the old saying goes ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’.

Deep-dive Starfield gameplay

The showcase of June 2023 delivered a huge amount of Starfield gameplay footage, including commentary from numerous Bethesda developers which you can view just below. It includes more information on traversing the almost countless planets and systems of Starfield, including important locations such as NeonAkila City, and Akila City.

Space traversal isn’t all that you can check out in the long behind-the-scenes Starfield gameplay trailer, though. It also touches on the deep character creation tools, and offers a better look at ship types and manufacturers, while also introducing us to the basics of space flight and a few companions.

New and improved Starfield gameplay mechanics

The jetpack – or ‘Boost Pack’ – has made a return from the Fallout series, but with some noticeable improvements to make combat and exploration easier. Starfield is also the first Bethesda title to feature ship-to-ship combat and requires you to customize your spaceship to suit your playstyle. Want to be a marauding pirate? Join the Crimson Fleet, dock with an enemy vessel, and persuade them to ‘kindly’ hand over their belongings. Alternatively, just pick their pockets and fly away in one of your own Starfield ships.

Romance is getting a major improvement, with Todd Howard stating Starfield will focus on deep, meaningful relationships rather than a shallow “they like you or they don’t like you” mentality.

Another big change coming to Starfield is a complete overhaul of the perks, skills, and traits system. Bethesda appears to be merging the best elements from previous titles to create something unique and challenging for Starfield. Rather than increasing your Starfield level and unlocking a perk, you’ll first need to complete a challenge in order to advance your skill trees.

One skill you might want to invest in will be ‘Persuasion’ as Starfield is also overhauling that mechanic. To learn more about this shift in design, be sure to check out our Starfield persuasion guide.

Core Starfield gameplay loop

Once you’ve completed Starfield’s opening mission and finished with the Starfield character creator, most players are going to experience the same Starfield gameplay loop:

Ultimately, unless you’re doing a Pacifist run, you’re also going to shoot something or someone at some point. The Settled Systems are not safe or peaceful. Whether it be pirates, violent Spacers, or the various creatures in Starfield, you’re going to need to defend yourself with the best weapons and armor.

That doesn’t mean you have to go in guns blazing though; you might prefer stealth, pickpocketing, and digipicking – Starfield’s lockpicking mechanic – to get ahead of the competition.

Blazing your own gameplay trail

Players of the Fallout and Elder Scrolls series are probably quite familiar with Bethesda’s concept of an open-world experience. The Starfield gameplay might start you off with a main story quest or throw you at a planet, but you can just as well speed off in the other direction and explore the Starfield map instead.

If you’re not interested in any of the Starfield factions like Constellation, the Freestar Collective, or the Xenofresh Corporation, you can instead find yourself a quiet world somewhere and set up an outpost.

Players interested in settlement and base building can focus on a very different gameplay loop:

  • Survey a world
  • Plant your outpost beacon down
  • Mine some resources with your Cutter tool
  • Process those resources and expand your base
  • Perform some research at the Research Lab for new outpost modules
  • Hire some crew
  • Sit back and watch the sunset

You might still find yourself coming to blows with the local flora and fauna, so getting the best weapons and combat-ready companions will put you in a good place if Starfield’s missions and cities don’t interest you.

Building an expansive base is just another way of engaging with Starfield's gameplay mechanics

Expanding on Starfield’s gameplay

Even once you’ve poured hundreds of hours into Starfield and explored a ton of planets, there’s still more content on the horizon for Starfield. Through future Starfield DLC or the active modding community, you can be sure to find something to expand Starfield’s gameplay. Maybe we’ll see a multiplayer mode or a survival difficulty that strands you in space if you don’t manage your resources properly.

Regardless of what you add in post-launch, you can be sure that almost every second of Starfield gameplay is going to be epic.

If this has you as excited as we are for Starfield’s September release, secure your copy via a Starfield pre order, or get day one access with the Xbox Game Pass.