Despite being a game that one might conceivably get hundreds of hours out of, there’s a relatively concise main questline right in the middle of its ever-expanding stories – those coded in by the team, as well as those players will inevitably carve out for themselves. Depending who you are, this main story will keep you roped in for anywhere between fifteen and twenty hours.
The overarching plot finds your player drawn into Constellation, a space exploration faction, who’s quest to learn and uncover all of the universe’s many mysteries leads to anomalous artefacts that, along with charting a path to ancient temples housing dormant powers, expose the existence of the Starborn. They’re seemingly omniscient, dwell in the stars, and are hellbent on ensuring your attempts to pull back the curtain on a universe of secrets are fruitless.
The artefacts themselves are pieces of a greater whole, forming an Armillary which, in terms of astronomy, is a device of rings that represents longitude and latitude, as well as points of interest, on a celestial scale. In Starfield, it serves as a portal to The Unity, a universal end state and a gateway to another existence. It’s a millenia-long jig the Starborn dance who, it’s revealed, are explorers who have, in alternate dimensions in a limitless multiverse, glimpsed The Unity and have left their corporeal form behind and begin the dance all over again.
And this is where the game’s new game plus mode, which is included at launch, comes into play.
If you reach The Unity and decide you do want to try your hand at another you, you simply walk through the ring of light and the game starts anew. You take with you your level and your perks, but instead of beginning your journey fulfilling a mining contract on the shitty little planet of Vectera, you wake up on your Starborn Guardian with a one-piece suit to match. The story even deftly skirts around any paradox concerns by declaring that the new universe’s version of you died escaping with the artefact. I think it’s beyond clever to have effectively created this loop of creation, death, and rebirth within Starfield’s narrative, complete with variations to dialogue, and even Starborn-specific dialogue options, as you confide in the alternate-versions of friends you used to know.
The game then gives you the option to bypass a large chunk of the main quest to get straight back into gathering up the artefacts and powers once again. The alternative is, of course, to turn your back on The Unity and return to your universe and its laundry list of side quests and activities you simply couldn’t leave behind.
Of all of the new game plus modes I’ve played, which is few because I rarely feel compelled to dive right back in with most games, I do think Starfield’s multiversal time loop and how it’s massaged into the game’s story makes it one of the cooler implementations I’ve seen.
So to recap, here are the things that you’ll take with you into your brand new universe:
Your character’s level
All of the perks unlocked to that point
Starborn Guardian starship
And here’s what gets left behind:
All unfinished quests
At the end of it all, it’s an easy choice to make for those that are adventurous of heart.