Starfield's new trailer reveals the 'Settled Systems' and its factions

A new trailer for Bethesda's upcoming sci-fi RPG Starfield has landed, giving us a quick crash course in the game's setting—a "small pocket of the Milky Way" called the Settled Systems—and the factions who make it an interesting place to live.

The Settled Systems extends outward from our solar system for a distance of roughly 50 light years, and is dominated by two primary factions, the United Colonies and the Freestar Collective. A large-scale war occurred between them 20 years before the start of Starfield (war never changes, as that other Bethesda game says, and apparently neither does humanity's primal urge to wage it), and while that conflict eventually ended in an "uneasy peace," the Settled Systems remains a dangerous place.

Running afoul of the old beef between the two major players isn't the only thing that intrepid explorers have to worry about: There are also threats from "Ecliptic mercenaries, pirates of the Crimson Fleet, violent Spacers, or even the fanatical religious zealots of House Va'Ruun." Design director Emil Pagliarulo doesn't delve into details, but it's clear that as one of the newest members of the deep-space exploration outfit Constellation, you'll be threading the needle between all of them as you push into the deepest regions of human expansion.

Starfield is still more than a year away—it's set to launch on November 11, 2022—but Bethesda is already winding up the hype machine: In August it revealed a few of the locations players will explore including a "pleasure dome" where tourists can get hopped up on fish goofballs, and in September it touted the staggering size of the game's script, which weighs in at more than 150,000 lines—almost as much as Skyrim and Fallout 4 combined.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.