Starfield story and plot explained – the story so far

Starfield story and plot explained – the story so far
Finlay Cattanach Updated on by

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The main Starfield story and plot has been something of focal interest since Bethesda Game Studios first announced its space-faring RPG. With a pedigree for storytelling established largely through titles like the Elder Scrolls Skyrim, Oblivion, and the Fallout series, players no doubt expect something impressive. As the first new IP from Bethesda in 25 years, and the first game since the Microsoft takeover, there’s a lot to expect from Starfield, and its story is a big part of that.

We’ll go over the Starfield story for the main campaign, along with all the important plot beats and relevant speculation for your upcoming adventure. Be sure to check out our Starfield tips and tricks to help you get started. And for the best gear, take a look at the Starfield best weapons and Starfield best armor.

Starfield story and plot: A starship touches down on a landing pad at New Atlantis.

Starfield premise

Starfield is set in and around the Settled Systems, a region of space heavily colonised by humankind. The year is 2330, and technology has advanced to allow for thriving interstellar civilisation. Humanity is far from unified though, and you’ll find a host of Starfield factions scattered across the cosmos.

These factions range in their ambitions, goals, and situations. Some are mega-corporations like the Ryujin Industries faction. Others are ideologically-opposed governments like the Starfield Freestar Collective faction and the Starfield United Colonies faction.

Your character steps into this world as a worker for a mining company called Argus Extractors, and from here, your journey starts.

Starfield opening mission

The opening quest for Starfield is called One Small Step. It’ll see you drop onto Kreet, a moon of the planet Anselon. Here, you’ll uncover a mysterious artifacts prompting a group of space explorers knows as Constellation to get in touch. These artifacts are central to the plot of the main story and will largely guide your journey through the Settled Systems.

You’ll meet Barret, a scientist and explorer. More importantly, he’s a member of the Starfield Constellation faction, a faction of intrepid explorers investigating the Artifacts. Following your time spent with him, you’ll head on to New Atlantis City on Jemison to continue the campaign.

Starfield story and plot: Members of Constellation gather around a table excitedly as a collection of Artifacts begin to move and interact.

Starfield timeline

In 2050, humans first arrived on Mars, and by 2100, they started living in space. Within the next century, humans began colonising star systems, reaching Alpha Centauri (4.37 light years away) in 2156. Following this, they established the United Colonies, making New Atlantis its capital, while other factions also began to form, such as the Freestar Collective in 2189.

Following tensions over unaffiliated peoples in the Narion system, the Narion War breaks out between the United Colonies and Freestar Collective in 2196. This lasts 20 years until the Treaty of Narion is signed in 2216, ending the conflict and establishing the Settled Systems. This peace lasts until 2307, when the Freestar Collective begin farming on the planet Vesta in the Lunara system. The United Colonies claim this violates the Treaty of Narion, and invade Vesta, killing its inhabitants and beginning The Colony War.

In 2311, the war ends in the Freestar Collective’s favour after the Battle of Cheyenne, where a flotilla of military and civilian ships manage to take down major UC Navy ships. In response to this, the United Colonies start up their own civilian division, the UC Vanguard. Since the war, a peace has lasted 19 years, up to 2330, where Starfield takes place.

Starfield story

Constellation play an important role in the story, since they already possess several of the Artifacts. They are involved closely with unravelling the central mystery at the heart of the game’s narrative. The Constellation members – chiefly Sarah Morgan, Barrett, Vasco, Sam Coe, and Andreja – join you as a companion for large portions of the story.

Starfield story and plot: A wide shot of the ancient ruins of an alien structure.

Starfield side missions

There’s a lot to do outside of the main Starfield campaign. With over 1000 Starfield planets out there to explore, side missions and exploration be the lifeblood of the game. With so many planets, these quests take place on various planets, spacestations, outposts, and other points of interest found, providing rewards such as credits, weapons, spacesuits, and more loot. 

That’s about it for Starfield story and plot for the main campaign. There’s plenty more to discover though, so if you’re curious about some of the locales you’ll be visiting, like MarsCydonia City, and Neon City, be sure to take a look at our in-depth breakdowns so you’re fully prepared when the game comes out.

Be sure to take a look at some of the incredible quests on offer, like the Sabotage, Delivering Devils, Absolute Power, Surgical Strike, Operation Starseed, and Entangled missions. If you’re after a better ship, check out the ship manufacturers, best ships, best ship parts, best reactors and starship weapons. For shopping, see what’s on offer in the New Atlantis shops, Neon shops, and Akila City shops. Lastly, if you need upgrade materials, our guides on how to get adhesive, lubricant, adaptive frames, high tensile spidroin, and microsecond regulators have you covered.

What is the main story of Starfield?

The Starfield story revolves around exploring and collecting a group of mysterious Artifacts with the help of a group known as Constellation.

How long is the Starfield campaign?

The main story for Starfield is around 30 to 40 hours long.