Starfield has finally gone gold ahead of its release next month, indicating that main development on the game has ended and that it’s ready to hit store shelves soon. As such, developer Bethesda has confirmed preload details for its expansive space-set RPG, with Xbox Series S/X receiving early treatment on August 17. Meanwhile, PC players on Steam can begin pre-installing the game in anticipation, starting August 30. Additionally, the game will be available to play for free to those who’re subscribed to Xbox Game Pass, though access for them will begin on launch day i.e., September 6.
Leading up to the release, lead game designer Emil Pagliarulo and lead quest designer Will Shen also held a Q&A session on Starfield’s Discord server (via ResetEra), revealing some interesting details such as the inclusion of a jail system. Just like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, performing sketchy acts such as smuggling contraband can get you in trouble with law enforcement of the galaxy. Upon being caught, you’ll be presented with two main options to deal with the situation: you can either pay the required fine when apprehended or get thrown into jail. And of course, there is the third alternative, which is to blast your way through them and go on the run. Those looking for smooth sailing, however, can invest in spaceship parts and modules that help conceal those illegal items, as you get past security.
The items themselves have a set price in Starfield’s universe but can be sold for a profit if you have the right skills unlocked. That money can then be spent on property located in major cities or you can complete specific quests that grant homes as a reward. An interview from last year revealed that Bethesda is heavily leaning on character customisation in this game — to the extent that picking up the ‘Kid Stuff’ trait makes it so your in-game parents resemble your appearance. The developers weren’t entirely clear in what capacity parents would be involved in Starfield, but noted that the feature is quite similar to Fallout 3 and Fallout 4. Another feature derived from Fallout is the Persuasion system, which can be used to avoid confrontations by smooth talking your way through, albeit Bethesda confirmed that a full pacifist playthrough isn’t ‘totally feasible.’
Just like previous Bethesda RPGs, Starfield presents companions who would tag along for the ride — in this case, over 20, all of whom are named and have unique backstories. The Q&A also confirmed that while real-world religions are present within the game’s universe, the focus is mostly on the three fictional ones. We’ve got the Sanctum Universum, which preaches that God is somewhere out there in the wider universe; a group of atheists who called themselves The Enlightened; and The Great Serpent, who is worshipped by mysterious citizens.