Starfield’s Space Exploration Explained

Starfield space travel: spaceship boosting forward through debris and planets
Image: Bethesda Softworks

Bethesda’s brand-new RPG is finally here, and with it comes the boundless galactical exploration the developer has been teasing for the years building up to its release. How exactly does traversing the cosmos work in Starfield, though? Does Starfield’s approach to discovery and exploration meet the expansive expectations fans have been hoping for? We’ve got answers to all of those questions and more.

How Space Travel Works in Starfield

Starfield spaceship pilot view
Image: Bethesda Softworks

A majority of Starfield’s gameplay will take place away from the surface and in outer space, with tons of resources to collect, spaceships to fight and interact with, and planets to visit. The actual process of going through outer space might not be exactly what you’re anticipating, though.

Much of Starfield’s traversal is done through fast traveling. You can fast travel between planets and different areas of space. This means that if you want to travel from Earth to Mars, rather than flying directly from one planet to the other, you’ll have to open the Starmap and select to either land on Mars or travel to the space around it.

The lack of a true open space world may sound disappointing to some, but flying through space still has its perks. While you’re out in the galaxy, you’ll run into other space travelers – maybe a group of hostile pirates or maybe a friendly space explorer. Additionally, you can find various resources that you can collect and use for research, crafting, etc.

How Planet Exploration Works in Starfield

Starfield character on snowy planet with a mountain
Image: Bethesda Softworks

Upon landing on a planet, the game prompts you to either automatically leave your ship or manually get up and exit yourself, and then it’s off to the wide open land full of unknown activity to discover. While on a planet, you’ll be able to use your scanning device to learn about the various plants, species, and minerals that reside there in order to increase your character’s knowledge of said planet, which you can then use to your benefit.

While each planet is a massive open world to explore, you are restricted to walking a certain distance from your ship. Fret not, however, as this distance is quite far, and there’s more than enough to uncover in each procedurally generated area that you land on.

Starfield is one of the biggest RPGs of the year, but if you’re looking for other RPGs to play, check out our latest list, Games to Play After Baldur’s Gate 3.