I love that Starfield ships channel Mass Effect and Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy by being your "home among the stars"

(Image credit: Bethesda)

The most memorable space ships in the world of games are the ones that really feel like home. Whether it be the Normandy in Mass Effect Legendary Edition, the Milano in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, or the Unreliable in The Outer Worlds, these ships become so much more than a means of transportation. They're a base of operations, a shield to protect you from the hostile elements of space, a place where you can bond with crewmates, and, more importantly, a home you can return back to after venturing far and wide. The ships in these adventures feel like real lived-in spaces that are designed to both propel your journey forward, and offer intervals to take a breather between story missions. 

This September, Starfield is promising to let us buy, create, and customize ships to turn them into a flying homestead of our very own. With an extensive suite of customization options, Bethesda is giving us the tools to bring to life our "home among the stars", as lead ships artist Ryan Sears put it in the Starfield Direct. Since space exploration is such a huge part of Starfield, the myriad choices on offer that allow us to personalize, upgrade, and tweak our ships is easily one of the most appealing aspects of the new RPG. 

Not only will it allow us to get creative and design any spacecraft we can imagine, but it will also give us the opportunity to bring a personal touch to the place we'll be calling home as we navigate the many Starfield star systems. My excitement is going at lightspeed. 

"Ship of your dreams" 


(Image credit: Bethesda)

"I have every hope it will be these characters that bring our ships to life, and maybe even become our found family."

We got an in-depth dive into Starfield ship customization during the Direct, and holy Constellation does it look impressive. As Sears says, "your ship is almost like having another character or home you can make all your own", with a variety of customization options to change and chop out pretty much every aspect of your ship. In the showcase, Sears showed how every piece of a ship can be customized to alter the shape, size, and interior of your airborne home. 

What's more, we'll also encounter technicians at different space ports where we can buy and modify a variety of ships that suit our approach or desired pursuits - such as creating a big freighter for cargo missions, or making a ship for smuggling. By giving us this level of freedom to create the "ship of our dreams", I can already see myself feeling right at home in the cockpit and on board thanks to personalized touches I've given it. 

While the likes of Mass Effect and The Outer Worlds present you with a ready-made ship that's integral to the story, Starfield is putting us in direct control of our ships in more ways than one. As well as being able to shape our own spacecraft by putting our personal stamp on its appearance and layout, we'll be able to assign our own crew who will also call it home. I've always been of the opinion that home is where your loved ones or friends are. Nothing makes the Milano in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, for example, feel more homely than the ragtag crew on board with you as Starlord. Likewise, The Outer Worlds' Unreliable only begins to feel like a home once you recruit a group of misfit followers who join your team. 

The same applies to the Normandy in Mass Effect, which would be awfully lonely and far less homey without its iconic cast and party members. In fact, during Mass Effect 2, you get a little taste of what's it like when the crew is gone; making it lose its warmth and feel downright hollow and empty in comparison. Along with a roster of Starfield companions we can take with us, we can also find potential crew members to hire as we adventure to different planets. I have every hope it will be these characters that bring our ships to life, and maybe even become our found family. 



(Image credit: Bethesda)

The Starfield Direct also shed light on the "NASA punk" aesthetic Bethesda is going for when it comes to the look and design of ships and interiors. I love the "slightly retro and analogue touch" of the visual style, where everything, as art director Istvan Pely highlights, looks "well-used, worn, and lived-in". Nothing says home to me quite like places that really look like they've been lived in, with little granular details that show wear and tear from repeated use. 

It's an aspect of design I appreciated about the Milano in Guardians of the Galaxy. From the unwashed dishes piled up in the sink, to the crew's little nick-nacks that decorate the ship, and the fridge door that just won't close, its homey feel seeps through every inch of the space. I think it's why the style of Starfield really speaks to me, and I can't wait to discover all of the details that make my ship hopefully feel like a home. 

The Starfield Direct definitely delivered, with so much packed in to get excited about. Aside from the prospect of romance with the companions, ship customization really stood out to me. With so many options and ship varieties to discover, I just know I'm going to lose hours upon hours shaping my very own "home among the stars". I'm so ready. 

All pressure was on for the Xbox Games Showcase but Microsoft really delivered.

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.