Starfield Direct recap: sandwich heists, cowboy towns, space magic, and other things we learned

Starfield Direct did not disappoint, at least in terms of the sheer amount information thrown at us. The show was a surprising 45 minutes long, covered just about every aspect of Bethesda's upcoming space RPG, and answered a lot of questions.

(Except for these nine questions we still have about Starfield.)

A lot of the presentation went over familiar ground, but we still learned quite a bit about Starfield. We got to feast our eyes on a new city, absorbed more information about ship building, and got a deeper look at combat. And we even got a glimpse at what looks like one of the gameplay elements of Skyrim—only now it's in space.

Here's what we learned from Starfield Direct.

You can build your ship pretty much however you like

(Image credit: Bethesda)

We'd already seen a bit of ship building and customization in last year's Starfield presentation, but Starfield Direct took it from swapping out cabins and cockpits to complete customization. I mean, complete. You can pretty much cobble your ship together however you want, even making it look like the goofy mech you see above.

And we all know what that means: there are gonna be a lot of penis-shaped ships built in Starfield. But once players get tired of building and flying around in metal space-dongs, there are bound to be tons of creative and amazing ships to gawk at. I can't wait to see them.

It's not Fallout: New Vegas 2, but hey, at least Starfield is part Western

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Not every city in Starfield is filled with gleaming, futuristic high-rises. There are some settlements further out that operate like pioneer towns. These independent systems, like Akila City, basically look like the Old West, with cowboy hats, dusty taverns, and outlaws reaching for their guns at the first sign of trouble.

Look, as much as we wish for it, we're probably never going to get Fallout: New Vegas 2. At least we can cosplay as cowboys in some parts of Starfield.

The combat looks... good, actually

(Image credit: Bethesda)

We'd only seen a few quick firefights before today's Starfield Direct, but we got a much longer look, and while Bethesda's combat in The Elder Scrolls and Fallout games has never been particularly great, Starfield's is... looking pretty darn good?

Ted was wowed by how useful Starfield's jetpack appears to be in combat, and the shooting overall looks much tighter than it did in Fallout 4. Between the ranged weapons, melee, stealth, and special abilities, blasting away at spacer punks and alien bugs looks like a great time.

One of Starfield's developers loves hoarding sandwiches

(Image credit: Bethesda)

During Starfield Direct a number of developers talked about how they play Starfield, but Bethesda producer Jamie Mallory stole the show—first by saying she built her spaceships to resemble animals, and then by admitting she likes to travel the galaxy stealing sandwiches and hoarding them.

Bethesda RPGs are great because you can play them however you want, and hoarding sandwiches is as sensible a goal and anything else you might do. And that's quite an impressive haul! We'll see if any players can beat it.

You can visit our moon, and maybe even the Earth

(Image credit: Bethesda)

We've know you can visit our solar system in Starfield, and even talk a walk around Mars. But it looks like you can also visit our moon (a player walking on "Luna" is shown) and maybe, possibly, even walk around on what looks like a destroyed version of Earth.

The star map shows Earth with three dots over it, which indicates you can click on it for options, and one of those options might be to land on it. And another moment in Starfield Direct (above) shows what looks for all the world like the St. Louis Arch... though why that would still be standing when every other building has fallen, I don't know. Maybe it's not St. Louis at all but some other planet with a similar landmark? We'll have to wait to find out.

The "one more thing" of Starfield Direct was space magic

Starfield Space-Ro-Dah"

Yes, despite calling it "NASA Punk" and "grounded in realism," Starfield's got magic, or at the very least, inexplicable powers. At the very end of the show, we saw the space traveler walk into a room filled with enemies blasting away with weapons. They raised one hand and instakilled (or insta-incapacitated) everyone in the room, and what's more, the bodies began to float around. 

Maybe it'll be explained as psionics or biotics, or maybe it was all a dream (it did look like a cutscene after all), but it definitely looks like some of Skyrim's magic powers made it into Starfield.

There's a $300 version of Starfield that comes with a watch

I don't know what you were planning to spend on Starfield, but I'm guessing it wasn't three bills. Maybe you're rethinking that now, because the collector's edition of Starfield comes with the Constellation watch you wear in the game. It does look pretty nice, and there's an equally cool box to keep it in, but that's still an eye-watering amount to spend on a game no one has played or reviewed yet.

Starfield is also taking a page from Diablo 4, and offering five days of early access if you buy the digital premium edition, which is $100. That's also a lot just to play a few days before everyone else.

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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

Christopher Livingston
Staff Writer

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.