Starfield’s lead quest designer Will Shen has fielded some questions from players in a second video in Bethesda’s Constellation Questions series. Among the morsels that Shen reveals about the upcoming sci-fi RPG were some details about how the game’s faction system will work compared to Fallout and The Elder Scrolls. You can watch Shen talk about Starfield’s factions, companions, and quests in the video below.
Shen says that you’ll be able to play through all of Starfield’s faction quest lines independently of each other. Differently to Fallout 4, you won't be locked out of other factions if you join one. Bethesda wanted to make them “a little more personal” than in recent Fallout and The Elder Scrolls games, he said, echoing a recent interview with Todd Howard.
Shen also noted that you won't end up being able to lead every faction you can join in Starfield, unlike in Skyrim. "You're influencing the direction of where this faction is going to go," Shen said. "You don't necessarily end up as the head of every single faction of the game." Don’t worry though, because Starfield will whisk you on a tour of the settled systems early in the game, so you can meet all the factions and make your choice of who to join up with.
There was also talk about Starfield's companions who are apparently a chatty bunch, Shen pointed out, and will offer you their opinions about your decisions along the game’s main quest line. That’s not all they’ll do though, because you can also take a step back and let them handle the occasional awkward or dodgy situation that arises.
“We've also added in several times where you can ask them to speak for you,” Shen said. “So, you might have a companion with you, and you'll be challenged. Someone will tell you that you ‘can't get through here’ and you can actually turn to your companion and say, ‘Hey, actually could you handle this?’.” When you do that, your companion will deal with whatever it is you don’t want to sort out, but Shen warns that you can expect consequences “good or bad”.
Shen also revealed that you’ll get to journey back to our home system – the Old Neighborhood – in Starfield. This is part of a main quest mission from Starfield’s Constellation group that’s meant to uncover what happened to Earth. You’ll end up on Mars at one point too, and there’s still a settlement there, called Cydonia. “And that's a whole city with its own problems and people to meet,” Shen said.
Starfield’s due out on PC in 2023 on Steam and the Microsoft Store, although it’s still not certain exactly when. It’ll also be on PC Game Pass from launch.