Voyaging beyond our terrestrial confines has long captivated the human imagination, and in the realm of gaming, this fascination has found expression in titles that allow players to explore the cosmos.
Starfield and Star Citizen are two of such titles that have caught the attention of gamers and enthusiasts alike.
While both games share the extraterrestrial backdrop, they embark on journeys which vary in terms of gameplay, development, and player engagement. Let’s see if they have anything in common other than the setting.
Game Developers and Background
Before we delve into the details, let’s examine who is behind all the fuss. The studio responsible for the development of Starfield is Bethesda Softworks – its portfolio includes the best-selling The Elder Scrolls series and, since 2008, games under the Fallout banner. Starfield is an RPG set in a science-fiction climate, which allows players to take on the role of space travelers traversing the galaxy. Interestingly, the game is the studio’s first project in twenty-five years to introduce an entirely new brand.
Star Citizen, on the other hand, is a space simulator (space-sim) set in the XXX century. Humanity set out to conquer the stars and began colonizing space, meeting various alien races and overcoming various difficulties along the way. The game was developed by Chris Roberts and studio Cloud Imperium Games. The project became possible mainly thanks to the support of the fans who invested tens of millions of dollars in the game on crowdfunding platforms.
Game Setting and World Design
Both games offer a very realistic space simulation. Starfield uses an all-new animation system which adds to the immersiveness. Additionally, Starfield has also harnessed procedural generation to infuse vitality into its universe. Considering the extensive roster of over 1,000 distinctive worlds primed for exploration, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the developers abstained from manually sculpting every nook of the planets awaiting players’ discovery.
Star Citizen’s exquisitely intricate visuals stem from the Lumberyard engine, developed by Amazon. The game’s creators also employed an advanced physics system, faithfully mirroring the behavior of objects, vehicles, and devices, intricately factoring in the dynamic forces of gravity. What’s also worth noting is a dedicated motion capture studio established by the Cloud Imperium Games team for production needs.
Although both Starfield and Star Citizen are games set in space, it is important to remember that they belong to different genres. Hence, comparing their mechanics can be quite challenging. Star Citizen embraces the sandbox MMO structure with a multiplayer focus, while Starfield propels the RPG essence of Fallout and Skyrim into the cosmos and enables you to play on your own.
At the heart of Star Citizen lies the expansive Persistent Universe multiplayer module, an immersive realm that mirrors a vast online cosmos, bustling with the presence of thousands of players. There are several auxiliary modes that complement this expansive experience: Arena Commander, where players engage in intense fighter battles against either AI opponents or live adversaries; the exhilarating Murray Cup, a thrilling aircraft racing mode; and Star Marine, which encapsulates the essence of a classic first-person multiplayer shooter.
In Starfield, you can switch between the first-person (FPP) and the third-person (TPP) view. Craft your character using a complex wizard that allows to determine appearance, pronouns, and backstory, which in turn influences skills. Over a hundred systems with countless worlds await, each housing diverse facilities. Navigate it with a spacecraft or explore it on foot and utilize tools like jet packs. Unveil plot-driven tasks alongside numerous missions and activities.
Storytelling and Narrative
In Starfield, the gameplay focuses on the colonization of space before humans. The year is 2310 and a bloody conflict erupts between two factions – the United Colonies and the Free Star Collective – in a small part of the Milky Way, deep in space. Despite the present tentative peace, this patch of space does not have a good reputation. The real action of the game begins 20 years later, when the player joins the ranks of the Constellation. As part of this organization, they explore the Milky Way, gradually discovering its secrets.
The plot of Star Citizen also focuses on colonization. The difference is that the game combines modernity with tradition – for the social system has been restored to the solutions of the Roman empire. This applies to social, cultural and civilization aspects. The world is ruled by the United Earth Empire – an organization in which the status of a citizen must be earned. There are several options – the player can do either military or civilian service, or buy citizenship and become a star trader. Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky – the game world is also inhabited by numerous pirates, criminals and obscure individuals.
Development and Funding
The developer of Star Citizen launched a crowdfunding campaign in 2012, and the game has still not been fully released. Such a long support of the players, on the one hand, shows their great commitment, but on the other hand, really puts their patience to the test. Whereas Starfield has been funded traditionally, and many point out that its huge advantage will be the fact that it will be fully playable and, well, released on the release day.
Community and Player Engagement
Although there may be some overlap in their fan communities, players can easily find enjoyment in both titles. As things stand now, Star Citizen remains an evolving project. Amidst the debates surrounding its extended development journey and uncertainties about a formal launch, certain players might opt for a venture into Starfield upon its debut. Admirers of Star Citizen are anticipating that the impending release of Starfield might motivate its developers to unveil a release date, possibly fostering a spirited rivalry between the two. If these comparisons persist, it could indeed spur some vibrant competition.
Reception and Anticipation
Both Star Citizen and Starfield are receiving very positive feedback from players. In the case of the former game, early access has already been made available. As for the latter, for now the players are relying on the game plays released by the developers. Some reviewers and players believe that Starfield may compete with Star Citizen, but many point out that the games are different enough for them both to find their own audiences.
Players inclined towards character progression, galactic exploration, and the realm of Bethesda creations will likely gravitate towards Starfield. Conversely, those with a penchant for MMO-style experiences, an interest in game development, or a fondness for simulations will probably find themselves drawn to Star Citizen. Fortunately, there is enough room for everyone in space.