Starfield factions have been announced, with at least five major groups in the game, each one with their own agenda - and none will lock off any others, with players able to join them all simultaneously. Factions in Starfield range from explorers to megacorps to space pirates, and while they have very different objectives and even work against each other, it sounds like they'll be all compatible - meaning you can join every single one at once. Talk about a complex CV.
There are also smaller factions we've heard about, and while it's not clear at this point to what extent you'll be able to engage with them, we have gotten details about what they involve and their overall goals. So if you're interested in the local space clubs, here's everything we know so far about the Starfield factions.
All Starfield factions announced so far
There are five Starfield factions we've seen announced so far - at least, major ones - in Bethesda's promotional material and game preview info.
- Constellation: Explorers (and default option)
- Crimson Fleet: Space Pirates
- Freestar Collective: Frontier Separatists
- Ryujin Industries: Megacorporation
- United Colonies: Powerful Republic
Find out more about the Starfield crafting and research systems here!
These factions are all individual and distinct, and while players can join all of them, it's clear that there's often direct enmity between many groups. For example, the United Colonies and the Freestar Collective were at war in the past, while dialogue in one of the released gameplay videos shows that the United Colonies seem concerned with the danger posed by the Crimson Fleet. So while you can join all the groups, probably best not to bring it up, lest you be accused of being a double-agent.
Considering that we've seen that the components for Starfield ship customization come from specific vendors, factions will likely provide specific or unique gear for those on-side - though that's not more than educated supposition at this point.
Below we'll go into more detail about what we know about each of the Starfield factions announced and what they do.
Constellation appears to be the game's default choice, one that players have to join. Constellation is formed of, and for, space explorers, out to discover the galaxy and scouting new worlds or trying to understand them better. So far they seem pretty apolitical, so it would make sense to have them be the initial springboard to join the more ideologically-charged factions at either end of the scale.
Constellation was central to Starfield's biggest gameplay reveal in the 2022 Summer Games Fest, and we've heard them described as having "the main quest" as their storyline - so it seems as though Constellation will be the beating heart of the game.
The Crimson Fleet sound like space pirates, though in an official video, Bethesda emphasised that joining them could go two ways - either as a bona fide member, or going undercover on behalf of the law. We've yet to see anything to frame the Crimson Fleet as anything other than a pretty malevolent force, with other factions apparently concerned about them, and Todd Howard himself off-handedly referring to them as "bad guys", so we're not sure if they'll have a redeeming quality, morally speaking, or those who join are cheerfully going to the dark side.
Also referred to as the Freestar Rangers in interviews, Freestar are described by Bethesda as the chance to live a "Space western fantasy", a frontier community that fought for independence from the larger United Colonies in the past. The hints of gameplay we've heard indicates that players in this faction will be helping keep law and order, with one NPC saying "We're peacekeepers. We protect the people of the Freestar Collective." Strap on a stetson and laser-powered six shooter, I guess.
Ryujin Industries have had the least information revealed about them so far, but we know they're a huge megacorporation that "represents corporate life", and early quests for them will effectively act as a weird job interview to earn yourself the right to get inside. Lead quest designer Will Shen said "I think it has one of the best starts of any of the factions", so those looking for great content may be incentivized to go for the corporate life.
The United Colonies are probably the most powerful faction on paper, and "represents the future of space republic idealized." They're a massive political and military force, with their capital, New Atlantis, being not just the biggest city in Starfield but apparently the biggest city Bethesda has made, full-stop.
The United Colonies have warred in the past with the Freestar Collective, though that was twenty years prior to the game itself, and now enjoy "an uneasy peace". Dialogue suggests that the Crimson Fleet is a concern for them right now, though whether they pose a serious threat or a minor annoyance remains to be seen.
Other Starfield factions
We've heard of other groups in Starfield mentioned, though these seem more like minor clubs, affiliations and organisations compared to the massive powers mentioned above, and can be joined simply through selected Starfield traits. Still, it's worth knowing about, so here's who else is out there and what we know about them:
- Ecliptic Mercenaries: Mercenary organisation
- Enlightened: Religious organisation opposed to Sanctum Universum
- Great Serpent faith: Religious organisation with an apparent focus on grav jumping
- House Va'ruun: Dangerous "Fanatical religious zealots"
- Sanctum Universum: Religious organisation opposed to the Enlightened
- Spacers: Spacefaring Raiders
We've also seen numerous other companies and corporations mentioned as the manufacturers of ship parts or as other details, but we don't know yet if those are just background flavour, or will form a more meaningful part of the game.
How to join factions in Starfield
In an interview, Shen revealed the following information about the factions:
Shen: "So one of the early things we decided on was making sure that the main quest actually kind of gives you a little bit of a tour of the settled systems and all of the major players there, so we can give you a taste of what they're going to be up to."
This suggests that the game will effectively make an effort to present the factions to you in the main storyline without hiding or concealing any of them, so to join factions, it seems the best chance you'll have is to play the main plot until you meet them.
For the minor factions, players can join some of the religions simply through having the right traits, though it's not clear yet how you join the others.
Can you join all the factions in Starfield?
Yes, players will be able to join every major faction in Starfield simultaneously, though we can't say yet what impact playing for both sides of a conflict will have. In the same interview mentioned above, Shen emphasised that Bethesda were looking to make sure that all the faction stories could be played independently of each other. Not only that, but players will reportedly be able to affect the direction of factions with their choices.
Shen: "You're influencing the direction of where this faction is going to go. So, say the politics of the Freestar Rangers, what's more important? Is it justice or industry, right? Where are you going to try to nudge them, in this direction or another(?) It can have far-reaching consequences for what that faction is and what it cares about."
Can you be the leader of the Starfield factions?
Shen added that "you don't necessarily end up as the head of every single faction of the game", though the ambiguity of this statement means that it's entirely possible that you could end up leading some of them. We don't know yet if your viability to lead these factions will be dependent on choices, or if lore restrictions mean it's just not possible - aka, you can't end up becoming the leader of the United Colonies without four years of electoral canvassing and lobbying.