A huge, open-ended game world to explore. Years in development. Bethesda’s latest epic holds more than its fair share of secrets. Here are 10 facts you (probably) didn’t know about Starfield.
Starfield Is Huge but It’s Still Only a Tiny Slice of Our Universe
Even though you’ll probably spend most of your time in the game quick-traveling from location to location, Starfield still offers an absolutely enormous map to explore. In total, there are a whopping 693 planets in Starfield (plus 999 moons that you can also land your ship on). That’s certainly not an insignificant number, with the potential for hundreds of hours of gameplay and untold surprises along the way.
Still, it’s only a tiny fraction of our own solar system’s total number of planets, let alone the whole universe’s. Nobody can give an exact number of how many planets there are in the Milky Way, but it’s at least 100 billion. With an estimated 2 trillion galaxies in the universe, we’ll leave you to do the math there.
Some of the Most Important NPCs Are Probably Starborn
Starfield’s major plot twist reveals that not only is there a multiverse, but finding all the artifacts you’ve been chasing will let you be reborn in another shard of this multiverse as a Starborn. We also learn that a pretty major character we’ve been helping is one of these Starborn. Surely, then, there’s the possibility that other big players in the galaxy are too.
While there’s no way to be certain just yet, members of the Starfield Lore subreddit have been busy piecing together clues that suggest exactly that. Among the main candidates are Barret, the man who introduces you to Constellation, and Walter, the man who funds Constellation out of his seemingly bottomless pockets.
Some of these become even more probable based on encounters throughout the many new game plus variations. One of these even confirms that one of your traveling companions has become a Starborn. We won’t spoil the surprise of who that is though.
A Sci-Fi Veteran Probably Voices Your Favorite NPC
Bethesda games are renowned for featuring well-known names such as Patrick Stewart and Max von Sydow among their voice casts. It’s no surprise then that a considerable number of sci-fi legends are behind the voices of Starfield’s NPCs.
More so than past games, Starfield relies on the impressive talents of career voice actors such as Steve Blum, Misty Lee, and Emily O’Brien, all of whom have previous roles voicing characters in franchises such as Star Wars, Marvel, and DC. Then there are the Star Trek alumni’s appearances in the game, including Armin Shimerman, and in the role of your mother and father, Nana Visitor and Tim Russ.
If there’s one sci-fi mega star in the game, it’s 2001: A Space Odyssey’s Keir Dullea. Fittingly, he voices the role of Keeper Aquilus in what is, to date, his first and only video game voiceover.
Starfield’s Earliest Gaming Influence is Older Than You’d Think
Starfield wears its numerous sci-fi inspirations on its sleeve. From our very first look at the game back in 2021, you could clearly see strains of Interstellar, Alien, and 2001. It’s not quite so easy to trace Starfield’s videogame influences though, what with most of them being more concerned with duking it out in wars between humans and aliens (see: Halo, Mass Effect, XCOM).
You’ll have to go back a lot further through videogame history to find space games that inspired Starfield. One game that Todd Howard himself has claimed to have been an influence on Starfield is one you’ve probably never even heard of, let alone played. Released in 1984 for the Apple II, SunDog: Frozen Legacy shares some clear DNA with Bethesda’s space sim, with players able to manage their own ship, engage in space combat, and trade cargo across the galaxy.
Starfield Wasn’t Bethesda’s First Stab at a Space Game
While Bethesda certainly has plenty of science fiction game-making experience with the Fallout games, those offer a very different kind of future to the one shown in Starfield. Going even further back you’ll find that Todd Howard’s earliest games at Bethesda were sci-fi, working on production for two FPS games in the Terminator franchise.
Never before however has the studio released a space game, letting you take off in a ship and travel the stars. That doesn’t mean they’ve not wanted to for some years. An earlier space game, The 10th Planet, was conceived as early as 1994. With a focus on space combat, the game’s pre-production took inspiration from the Star Fox and X-Wing games. While The 10th Planet aimed for a 1996 release, the game ultimately never made it into full development.
Starfield Could’ve Been Set in the Fallout Universe
Bethesda loves to pepper little references to Fallout in Elder Scrolls and vice versa. Although they’ve denied that the two are part of any kind of shared universe, that doesn’t stop fans from coming up with their own elaborate theories of how it could all be connected. As it happens, for at least one brief moment, Starfield could have taken place in the Fallout universe.
Todd Howard revealed this surprising tidbit in an interview with The Washington Post, and while it’s unlikely the idea was ever seriously considered, just the mere fact that it was thrown about at all during Starfield’s production is enough to get us thinking about what could have been.
Planets Were Originally Way More Dangerous
In case you didn’t know, the human body isn’t particularly well equipped for life on other planets. Yet, Starfield’s protagonist can take a fair amount of radiation, thermal, and airborne damage before they keel over. That’s because these effects were dialed way down during the game’s development.
In an earlier version of the game, planetary environment damage was far more aggressive, requiring near-constant spacesuit changes to counter the effects of each one. After some playtesting, the decision was made to tone down the environmental effects, sacrificing a little bit of realism for a more enjoyable player experience. Any change that means we spend less time navigating Starfield’s menus is surely a welcome one.
All of Earth’s Animals are Probably Extinct
No, you can’t pet the heckin’ doggo. If you’re an animal lover you might have noticed that there is a distinct lack of dogs, cats, cows, or other Earth animals roaming the likes of New Atlantis and Akila. Well, we’ve got some bad news for you — they’re probably all extinct.
As noticed by X account Can You Pet the Dog, despite concept art showing a friendly little kitty walking alongside an astronaut, sadly you can’t adopt a pet to keep on your ship or outpost. Furthermore, the descriptive text on a box of chocolates in the game reveals that Labrador Retrievers at least, are extinct. Presumably when Earth was evacuated, the plan didn’t include taking animals along for the ride.
So without any chickens or cows, what do astronauts eat? Well, there’s always always alien meat — or whatever the heck Chunks are made out of. Maybe it’s best to stick to a vegan diet.
Everyone Panic-Packed Dickens Novels When They Left Earth
While Earth’s evacuees couldn’t take their beloved pets with them, they could at least take solace in the fact that they could preserve a little bit of culture. Rather than take the 22nd century’s hottest summer must-read with them on their voyage across the stars, most decided to pack some classic literature. So why does it seem you can only ever find copies of books by Charles Dickens scattered all across the galaxy?
A bookseller in Akila City holds the answer. Despite their best intentions, nobody on Earth had the bright idea to coordinate which books they were taking. Unfortunately, that meant everyone stuffed Dickens’ immortal classics in their suitcase. Not ideal, but it’s good to know there are still physical media advocates 200 years into the future.
Some of History’s Most Famous People are Hiding at the Edge of the Galaxy
If you just rushed through Starfield’s main story you might not know that you missed out on some of the game’s best content. One of the best of all is a side quest that sees you taking your ship out to the farthermost reaches of the galaxy, where a shocking surprise awaits.
If you make your way to the planet Charybdis III you’ll be greeted by a distress signal asking you for some assistance. As it would happen, this planet is home to a whole bunch of clones. Not just any clones either, but those of some of Earth history’s most famous names. Why are they being cloned — well, you’ll have to play for yourself to find out. Let’s just say this is peak Bethesda quest-making, going to some truly unexpected places.
That’s it for our list of 10 facts you (probably) didn’t know about Starfield. We’re sure Bethesda has hidden more crazy little easter eggs away in their game, and it might be some years before players find them all. If you’re hungry for more Starfield lore, be sure to check out our list of 10 unanswered questions we have after completing Starfield.