Starfield's first gameplay trailer shows you can build, crew, and yes, really fly your spaceship

Today at the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase, fans finally, finally got what they've been aching for since 2018. The first gameplay trailer for Starfield is here, and you can gawp at the fifteen minutes of new footage above.

Just as importantly, Bethesda answered some burning questions about space travel, planetary exploration, and more. For those wondering if planets would work like Skyrim dungeons, with separate instances representing a small playable area on a planet's surface, they won't.

Starfield will feature 100 different star systems and over 1,000 different planets. And according to Todd Howard, all of those planets will be fully explorable. Land anywhere on any planet, get out, and start exploring.

We see a bit of that in the new gameplay trailer. The player lands on a planet, observes some alien lifeforms, and mines some resources from a rocky wall. They then find a pirate-controlled facility. There's gunplay, thrown grenades, and a space-shotgun is used to finish off the bandits. The player finds a new weapon before taking on more pirates outside, using a jetpack to launch across a gap and engage more enemies.

Action then shifts to a capital city, New Atlantis, to meet a few NPCs, and a brief chat about mysterious artefacts and "visions." Then Todd Howard gives us a look at Starfield's character creation tools and starter traits, which include advantages and disadvantages, and a skill system you unlock as you level up.

And a long-lingering question has finally been answered. You'll be able to build your own spaceship and crew it with NPCs. And yes, you can really fly it. You can really fly it! Outer space ship-to-ship combat? Confirmed. Some fans speculated the spaceship would just serve as a base, with space travel being a loading screen after selecting a destination, but the trailer shows it's actually how you get around in Starfield, from system to system and planet to planet.

We were expecting Skyrim in space, but honestly, it looks a bit more like Fallout in space with the weapon crafting, outpost and ship construction, and the skill and perk systems we saw in the trailer. One thing is for sure: with 1,000 different planets, it looks much bigger than any Bethesda RPG to date.

It's been a long wait for loyal Bethesda astronauts. Starfield was first announced at Bethesda's E3 press conference back in 2018. It took three more years before the official cinematic teaser trailer was shown in June of 2021. Originally planned for release on 11/11/22, Bethesda announced in May that Starfield would be delayed until 2023. We still don't have a concrete release date, however.


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.