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What We Know So Far About Starfield's Factions

"Starfield" is set to be the newest game from Bethesda Softworks, the studio behind the "Elder Scrolls" and "Fallout" franchises. Not only that, but it will be the first new universe that the studio has created in 25 years, meaning that it could mark the beginning of another major franchise – and it's going to be a big one. Like with all Bethesda games, "Starfield" promises to have a big emphasis on exploration. Design Director Emil Pagiarulu stated in a video posted by the studio, "We don't just make RPGs ... we make simulations," referring to the massive scope of Bethesda's landscapes and the numerous activities and discoveries that populate them. These are the features that have typically made these worlds a dream for players who love to wander and explore.

Big doesn't mean empty, though. One of the key features that has always defined Bethesda games is the groups of people the player can interact with. In that same video, Lead Quest Designer Will Shen said, "One of the big questions is: which part of the game world am I going to engage in? We always make a bunch of different groups that represent some of the major factions in every game." This is true. "Skyrim" had groups like the Companions and the Thieves' Guild, while "Fallout 4" had ones like the Commonwealth Minutemen and the Brotherhood of Steel. So, what kind of factions will there be in "Starfield?" Here's what we know so far.

What are the factions in Starfield?

The creators discussed four factions that players will be able to interact with in "Starfield." The first that they mentioned was the United Colonies. Shen stated that this faction, "represents the future of space republic idealized," which seems to suggest that they will serve as the primary force of law and order in this universe. Then Shen talked about the Freestar Collective which he described as "the space western fantasy," calling to mind a rough and tumble frontier where violence is rampant and the player may be able to make their living as an outlaw. The third faction Shen brought up was called Ryujin Industries, which he said "represents corporate life," conjuring images of luxurious accommodations and fancy gadgetry at the expense of a cutthroat and morally ambiguous environment.

Todd Howard brought up the final faction. He described a band of pirates called the Crimson Fleet, stating, "they're not just this foe, [they] Let the player join them." This isn't the first time Bethesda has allowed the player to join corrupt or morally destitute factions in their games. The Dark Brotherhood from "Skyrim" was a league of assassins for hire and Caesar's Legion from "Fallout: New Vegas" crucified people and was essentially powered by slave labor.

How do factions affect the game?

Players can probably expect factions in "Starfield" to work similarly to how they work in other Bethesda games. The player encounters one in the world and can begin one of their questlines. At a certain point, they are invited to join the group and get certain unique perks or pieces of equipment as a reward. While most of Bethesda's factions are generally considered side-quests and aren't necessary to the main plot, they are also some of the best storylines and offer many of the best rewards. Previous titles have offered some small choices in these side-quests, but have otherwise been fairly linear. It seems that there will be a little bit more nuance in this new title, however.

After Howard brought up the Crimson Fleet, Pagiarulu asked, "What if you're a good guy and you want to be a good player and you don't want to play as a bad guy? You can side with the pirates, or you can report back to your superiors and be like a space cop ... so it lets you be a good person and still play with the bad guys." This implies that the player will have more choices in how they interact with these factions and not just in picking which ones they wish to join.

Now all fans have to do is wait until the game's Nov. 11 release for the PC and Xbox Series X|S (sorry, PS5 players) before they can choose their faction and begin exploring "Starfield."