Serpent worship, space-parents, and other details hidden in the Starfield trailer

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Starfield's first gameplay trailer was revealed over the weekend, and it's given rise to a mix of excitement, disappointment, and plenty of speculation. We learned a lot about Bethesda's space RPG, like that it'll contain over a thousand planets to visit, that you'll be able to build outposts and even your own spaceships, that it'll have dogfights in space and NPCs you can hire as your crew.

But there are a lot of smaller details in the trailer that weren't specifically called out by Todd Howard during the gameplay presentation, and carefully rewatching the footage reveals some additional features that we didn't know about. Here are the most interesting little tidbits revealed in the Starfield gameplay trailer, spotted by us and other eagle-eyed sleuths.

You can dock with other ships

We now know you can visit 1,000+ planets (which is either bad or good, depending who at PC Gamer you ask) and we've seen you can dogfight in space and build your own ships, but a brief moment in the trailer also shows you can dock your ship with other ships.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

It's a small detail but a potentially exciting one. It could be used to meet with other NPC characters while you're both in orbit, or maybe to board and explore derelict ships and possibly to add them to your customizable collection. Best of all, it could be a feature of bounty hunter missions, where you dock with and board a ship to take out the crew and their leader in a firefight. We do see a short clip of the player fighting someone in zero G in what might be the interior of a ship, so it's definitely not out of the question. At any rate, it's one more thing you can do with your ship in space.

You can potentially visit our solar system, including Mars

Todd Howard revealed there were over a hundred star systems and a thousand planets, and we got a quick look at Starfield's galaxy map which showed destinations like Alpha Centauri, Jaffa, Narion, and others. But Brennanthenerd on Reddit spotted the Sol system—our solar system—among the tiny pips on the galaxy map, too. What's more, another brief shot in the trailer shows the player walking past a half-buried object on a dusty, slightly reddish planet. 

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Qeldroma311 on Reddit speculates that this might be one of NASAs old rovers on the surface of Mars. And if we can visit our solar system and land on Mars, doesn't that mean we can visit Earth as well? What's the state of our own planet in the distant future Starfield presents? I'm sure Bethesda didn't include a full simulation of Earth in Starfield—that would involve cramming the entirety of Microsoft Flight Simulator into the game—but the idea of visiting Earth is an intriguing one.

You can have a house, and space-parents

Among the handful of optional traits shown in the character creation menu, there are two that stand out. One trait is called Starter Home, which states "You own a small house on a peaceful little moon, but it comes with a 50,000 credit mortgage with GalBank." That seems the most terrifyingly realistic detail in the entire game, if you ask me, and also confirms that like in Skyrim, you'll be able to buy a house, if not several homes, in addition to building outposts.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Another trait called "Kid Stuff" says "Your parents are alive and well, and you can visit them at their home. But 10% of all the money you earn is deducted automatically and sent to them." Not only is it nice that you're helping support your parents (and that you even have parents), but the idea of visiting your character's folks is strangely appealing.

Landing on planets (probably) isn't seamless

There have been comparisons to No Man's Sky (including my own) and Star Citizen, but both of those games have seamless planetary landings. You start in space, you enter the atmosphere, you eventually land, and there's no break for a loading screen.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

We pretty much know Starfield doesn't work that way because they would have shown it and said it: There's no word developers like more than "seamless." At a few points in the trailer you can see the prompt "X" to land, and every landing we see looks like a cutscene or in-engine cinematic. You can fly around in space, but when you want to land it looks like you're automatically set down at your destination. Same with takeoffs, as far as I can tell.

You have digital lockpicks called… digipicks

Yes, lockpicking is confirmed. It looks a bit different than the Skyrim and Fallout versions—this time it's an electronic lock that requires… sigh… "digipicks." Yes, the sci-fi future of box-unlocking technology requires consumable digital lockpicks. It's silly. It doesn't make sense. I rolled my eyes. But, honestly, there is something great about picking locks in games or there wouldn't be a virtual museum dedicated to it.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Your character won't speak

The trailer made this pretty clear, but it was confirmed by Bethesda earlier today. Your character is the strong, silent type (just don't call them silent but deadly, that's something else) and won't be voiced like your character in Fallout 4 was. Not everyone loves the idea of a silent protagonist, and in some RPGs it's nice for your character to be fully voiced. But in a sandbox like Starfield, I think a silent character is the best way to go. If you really want them to have a voice, you'll have to make one up in your head.

There are space religions, including giant snake worship

Once upon a time humans looked up at the stars and decided there were gods up there, and even now that we're traveling among the stars that belief hasn't gone away. A few religions are hinted at in Starfield's trait system, and none of them seem to get along. "Raised Universal" is a trait that gives you a discount at "the church store" but means you can't use "the Enlightened store." The Enlightened may be another religion or perhaps a group of space-atheists, we're not sure. Either way, choosing one religion seems to put you in opposition to the others.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Much more interesting is the "Serpent's Embrace" trait. If you grew up worshiping the Great Serpent, then making grav jumps in your ship (Starfield's version of hyperspace jumps or FTL travel) will give you a boost to health and endurance. What does a serpent god have to do with using a hyperdrive? We don't know. But we can't wait to find out. All hail the Great Serpent.

You can change your appearance at a genetics facility

If you want to change your looks in Fallout 4 you take your face to Diamond City's surgeon. In Skyrim, you can get that work done in Riften's Ratway or Dawnguard by a face sculptor. In Starfield, it's a bit more scientific: You visit a genetics facility and have them re-stir your DNA.

We assume it's probably expensive, but it sounds far less painful than letting a post-apocalyptic surgeon in a grubby labcoat carve you up.

Spoiler alert: Someone may have figured out the entire beginning of Starfield

(Image credit: Bethesda)

We don't know if this is correct, or if there are multiple starts to Starfield depending on what sort of character you create, but here's a spoiler warning anyway because someone has a pretty convincing theory on Reddit about how the game begins. 

Exo_soldier on Reddit came up with this by looking at details and moments shown in the gameplay trailer and piecing them together in a different order. The theory goes something like this:

The character creation menu shows a company name, Argos Extractors, and an employee number, which implies we begin the game working for a mining company. While mining for minerals, we find a buried artifact and touch it (also shown in the trailer) which gives us some sort of visions. Apparently, we don't keep it to ourselves, and sometime later a pilot from the Constellation guild (a group who investigate space weirdness) lands at the dig site. This pilot is already aware of artifacts and the visions they produce for those who touch them.

Unfortunately, bandit faction the Crimson Fleet lands and tries to take over the mining site. Exo_soldier speculates that the Constellation pilot who landed is killed in the conflict, but we're able to complete his mission by taking his ship, his robot pal Vasco, and maybe even the special watch that lets him into the Constellation guild. Bing, bang, boom. We've got a ship, a robot, an introduction to the guild, and the beginning of a main story quest. It sounds pretty darn plausible to me.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.