An extremely premature ranking of Starfield's 1,000+ planets

Sci-fi planet
(Image credit: Bethesda)

At Starfield Direct on Sunday we got a whole lotta Starfield crammed into our eyeballs, especially in the ol' planets and moons department. New ones kept coming, one another another. It's almost like this space RPG is supposed to have more than a thousand of them, or something.

Starfield guides

Starfield's shipbuilding tool screens and customisation

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Starfield factions: Find a cause to quest for
Starfield cities: See the big spaces in space
Starfield companions: Collect cosmic comrades
Starfield traits: Give your hero some history
Starfield ship customization: Make your spaceship special

The variety of heavenly bodies in this deep dive was a lot to take in: we saw different biomes, various types of fauna and flora, and even different levels of gravity and atmosphere. When Starfield launches I definitely plan to visit each and every planet and moon in the game, and with so many to see I'm a little impatient to get to it. So, screw it, I'm not going to wait until September! I'm going to start right now.

Over the course of the 45-minute presentation we saw about 100 or so different planets and moons, and learned the names of about 50 of them. Below I've put them into groups: The Worst (planets that clearly suck), The Best (planets I might want to build a base on), and The Rest (planets I don't have a strong opinion about either way).

Here's the good, the bad, and the ugly of Starfield's 1,000+ planets and moons—at least the ones we've seen so far. 

The Worst

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Porrima IV-C (moon, above)
I mean… this is just Skyrim. This moon is Skyrim! Instant fail, Porrima IV-C, because when Starfield comes out we are officially done with Skyrim. We've had 13 years to play it, and that's plenty. 

Bardeen III
It contains an alien creature called a "spiderwasp." Hard pass.

I'm not sure why players seem so excited about visiting a ruined Earth in Starfield when they can just go play Fallout. I don't want to go to Earth, I already spend like 90% of my time here, and it honestly hasn't been worth visiting since it was crawling with dinosaurs.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Beta Ternion III (above)
Sometimes the color schemes of alien planets look amazing, like when the grass is blue or the trees are red or the lakes are orange. Other times they look like someone partially digested a plaid shirt and then threw up everywhere. This planet is like that.

It looks like Starfield begins at a mining colony on Mars, and with sincere apologies to geniuses at NASA and all the clever rovers that have been trundling around on Mars for years… Mars is boring. It's just a dirtball! Plus, bad things always happen there in sci-fi. Once I'm done with the Starfield tutorial, I'm bailing on the Red Planet for good.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Ka'zaal (moon, above)
The moon itself looks kinda cool, but it's orbiting a huge planet the color of a turd. I don't want to look up at the sky every night and see a giant turd, do you?

I know, this is the big one, with the huge city of New Atlantis and probably tons of other stuff to do and see. But Jemison is guarded by space cops who scan your cargo hold whenever you approach. Uh, ever hear of a warrant, pigs? It's also the planet where your parents live, and while it's nice to visit your folks once in a while you don't want to be too close to home.

The Best

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Algorab III-B (moon, above)

Not only does it look lovely and lush but also there's someone… or something… standing there in the distance. An alien? A companion? Or maybe just a decoration? I don't know, but I'm gonna find out.

Altair 2

Starfield is not only gonna be filled with planets, it's gonna be filled with sci-fi references. We didn't see the planet's surface but we got a glimpse of a firefight taking place indoors on Altair 2, which means there's definitely gonna be an Altair 4 because that's the name of the planet in the 1956 sci-fi film Forbidden Planet. Will there be a robot named Robby on Altair 4? Yes, there definitely will. And I will find that robot and add him to my crew, if possible.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Cassiopeia IV-A (moon, above)
It's weird how truly science-fictiony ringed planets feel, even though in our own solar system 50% of the planets have rings. Hell, even the sun has dust rings. But it can't be denied, ringed planets are cool and never fail to make you feel like you're on a space adventure. I won't get tired of the view from this moon.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Freya IX-B (moon, above)
Weird-ass but cute alien bugs. Fog and lightning, some of the only real weather we've seen in Starfield yet. And it's the moon where Adoring Fan is taken to be brutally executed in Starfield Direct. What's not to love?

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Groombridge VIII-A (moon, above)
I thought at first it had giant mushrooms—an annoying fantasy cliche—but they're just alien trees, so I can relax. And with some big, awesome-looking alien dinosaurs, plus some winged creatures in the sky, it looks like a nice place for an aspiring alien biologist to settle down.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Arcturus III (above)
A big beautiful blue ice giant with icy rings, with the temperature helpfully listed as "cold." It contains no plants or animals, either. Sounds like the perfect place to get away from it all.

Science stripped Pluto of its "planet" designation, and you should always listen to science. But I still love the little guy and I will definitely land on it and walk around. But here's the thing: I will not mine resources from it. Nope. We've already taken enough away from poor Pluto. 

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Io (moon, above)
Yes, I absolutely would like to walk around on the moon of Io mining for resources while looking at Jupiter, friggin' Jupiter, hovering over the horizon. They even included Jupiter's rings, which are often forgotten. Thanks, Starfield!

Verne II
A giant alien bug (a thornmantis) is shown being hypnotized on this planet with Starfield's Xenosociology skill. If you can mind-control hideous alien bugs, this one looks like the best one to start with, so I'm definitely going to pay Verne II a visit.

The Rest

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Akila (above)
Akila was almost on the best list. It's got an old West town filled with space cowboys, a nice moon to gaze at over the mountains, and it's not a part of the United Colonies which probably means no cops snooping through your cargo holds. But the city on Akila is called Akila City, which would be like calling Tokyo or San Francisco or Paris "Earth City." Weak.

The really small, sun-loving planet in our solar system that we hardly ever think about. I was gonna stick it into The Worst because literally who cares, but it looks like it has caves. Caves are cool. How often do you get a chance to walk through a cave on Mercury?

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Volii Alpha (above)
Home to Neon, a city that used to be a fishing platform but is now a "pleasure city." I'm not really into drugs, dancing, or much of Neon's wild vibe. I'm mostly hoping you can still do some fishing there.

Luna (moon) (y'know, our moon)
I don't even know if I want to walk on the Earth's moon anymore. It's been done to death. I'll probably do it, but in space games I usually want to get as far away from home as possible.

The Rest (of the Rest)

Look, there were tons more planets shown at Starfield Direct, and most of them looked pretty dusty and barren, like all of these:

(Image credit: Bethesda)

But that's the universe for ya. Look at our own solar system: the only planet with stuff on it is Earth, the rest are mostly gas planets you can't even walk on or places like Mars which are just cold dirt. 

At the same time, even a barren planet can be beautiful, and even if many of these planets are a bit dull and same-y, I think it's still worth landing on them if only to take a nice screenshot of a planet-rise on the horizon. I fully accept that most of the planets in Starfield will be boring places you only visit once. And I'm okay with that. The goal, after all, is to find the diamond in the rough, the perfect planet to build a base, settle down, and call home.

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.