"Your ship can look like almost anything you want," Bethesda says of Starfield's shipbuilding tools. And it does look like there's a universe of possibilities, with a few animal-inspired ship builds showing up in the Starfield Direct stream alongside a massive Power Ranger Megazord-looking thing.
It's all made possible from within the game's space ports, which act as areas to buy, sell, repair, and upgrade ships. Bethesda confirmed that there are different ship manufacturers in the game, which will "bring their own look and feel to every piece of your ship," and you can change up the living quarters, mess hall, control rooms, and cargo holds to your liking. However, in order to tweak these you first need to provision space for them with your ship's overall design.
That's where the Ship Builder Mode comes in, which looks like a fantastical Kerbal screen for chopping and changing your ship's external features. During the showcase we saw a few different potential parts to choose from, including shield generators, dockers, fuel tanks, drives, weapons, habitats, cockpits, cargo holds, landing gears, reactors, cowling (cool-looking bits), and engines. And these parts can also all be upgraded, apparently.
You might be limited on how many crew members you can stuff into your ship at first. The starting ship, The Frontier, shows capacity for just 2 crew members.
From what we can see of the Ship Builder Mode, it looks like this is where you'll spec your ship for speed, mobility, jump range, and cargo space. That means how you spec your ship here will almost certainly impact the sort of jobs you can take on elsewhere. This is also where you'll customise the look of your ship, beyond the actual pieces and parts that make it up, but the final paint job, too.
One other interesting tidbit from Bethesda is that you'll be able to secure new ships for your fleet, by buying them or even taking them from your enemies—sort of like a sci-fi Need for Speed pink slip system but in space. You will have pick of a few ships to use during your time in Starfield, anyways, so you can play it serious with one and a little fast and loose with another. As Bethesda says, maybe you'll want one freighter ship for cargo missions and a speedy fighter for when you want to moonlight as a Mandalorian.
"These things are gigantic," a Bethesda dev says of the ships during the stream.
But this is where things get a little otherworldly. Bethesda's Lead Ships Artist, Ryan Sears, says that "with a little creativity, your ship can look like almost anything you want."
But before you get any ideas, Jeff Bezos already did that sort of space ship, so maybe come up with a fresh idea.