With the sci-fi RPG epic Starfield now just over a month away, Bethesda Softworks has released The Settled Systems - A Starfield Animated Anthology, a trio of brief animes offering a look at life in three of the game's biggest cities—and it's got some fans hoping that maybe Todd Howard has been holding something back.
The videos don't reveal much about what we can look forward to in the game, but the presence of mechs in the Where Hope is Built episode has fans in the Starfield subreddit wondering if they'll be able to do some blasting and slugging with giant fighting robots at some point. Todd Howard has previously said there will be no land vehicles in the game, which seems clear enough, but hope dies hard, especially since there was also a mech tease in the official gameplay trailer (you can see one at 1:06, though it appears to be defunct). And hey, is a big robot really a vehicle anyway?
Mech speculation (mechulation?) aside, these videos are really about setting the scene: Humble beginnings leading to great things and all that. Of course, there's no guarantee of great things: Maybe your grandpa will just hand you the keys to the family clunker and wish you good luck, or maybe you'll have a midlife crisis and quit your job so you can pursue your teenage dream of life on the open road. I guess we all have to start somewhere.
To be blunt, the videos don't strike me as particularly good. I know there's a particular visual style to anime but the movements in all of these videos are stilted and clunky, there's zero dialog in any of them, and some of it looks to be straight-up unfinished. Was the inker out that day or something?
I get that Bethesda isn't looking to make the Starfield equivalent of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners here (although The Hand That Feeds episode could be lifted straight from that game) but even so I feel like a game release of this magnitude deserves a little more flash and polish. If you're going to do it, do it right, you know?
Naturally, some fans are calling on Bethesda to make a full-blown Starfield anime, and who knows? Given the success of Edgerunners, maybe it'll happen. Meantime, here's what we've got so far:
Supra Et Ultra
In the city of New Atlantis, capital of the United Colonies, a courier pilot named Kent aspires to live in the most desirable part of the Settled Systems. After joining the UC Vanguard and working his way up to the Capital’s elite, Kent quickly realizes the adventures waiting for him off-planet are what he truly longed for.
Where Hope is Built
Vanna—an Akila City orphan of the famous Colony Wars—desperately wants to explore the stars, and only one thing is standing in her way: a working ship. Her search for repair parts leads her throughout the city, and into some unexpected danger, as she closes in on her dream.
The Hand That Feeds
Two Neon street rats, Ada and Harper, are partners in crime eking out a living stealing from the wealthy partygoers that come to the “pleasure city” to let loose. When Ada is forced into a moral dilemma, she quickly catches the attention of the all-seeing Ryujin industries, bringing her an exciting new opportunity. But at what cost?
Starfield comes out on September 6.