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First stunning 'Starfield' gameplay footage reveals an awesome Mars rover Easter egg

After sifting through a treasure of evocative concept art images and "Into The Starfield" making-of videos, Bethesda Game Studios has finally rewarded our patience and released the first gameplay footage for their epic sci-fi masterpiece, "Starfield."

Here in this informative new video (opens in new tab), Game Director Todd Howard delivers an engaging tour of this highly anticipated role-playing adventure game during the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase, and gives us a fun glimpse of what might be the Red Planet and a familiar-looking rover.

When the ambitious "Starfield" arrives next year, it will catapult gamers into an odyssey of imagination with its immersive planetary environments, exotic moons, alien civilizations, breathtaking galactic vistas, and futuristic deep space starships. If you need a primer, here's everything we know about Starfield right now.

This fresh showcase offers a stunning preview of the video game’s scale and scope across hundreds of star systems as players investigate the cosmos in the year 2330. Gamers will team-up with Constellation, the last crew of space explorers hunting down rare alien artifacts amid galactic oceans on an existential quest to discover what mysteries lie beyond our known universe.

In keeping with Bethesda’s reputation for mind-swallowing role-playing titles, "Starfield's" advanced customization tools allow Earth-bound players to create unique character traits, physical characteristics, skills, and backgrounds to suit nearly every possible preference. 

Starfield's capital city of New Atlantis is seen in this still from the first gameplay revealed by Bethesda Softworks. (Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios)

Its limitations of gameplay freedom seem boundless as your astronaut claims new-found territories where they can build outposts and bases to conduct experiments and acquire valuable resources to bolster your weapons capabilities or modify your spacesuit.

One of the most amusing details arrives at the end of the video when you'll see an astronaut strolling by what appears to be the Mars Spirit or Opportunity rover stuck in the sand!

What looks like NASA's Mars rover Spirit or Opportunity makes a cameo in the first Starfield gameplay revealed by Bethesda Softworks. (Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios)

Hoping to bring some custom touches to your spaceship with upgrades to its drive systems, weaponry, shields, exterior armor, or make its interior confines a bit more comfortable? The limitations are few and far between with seemingly endless flexibility in the starship’s look and layout as you take your trusty craft into heavy combat against formidable foes.

We're also offered a first look at a few planetary environments like the jagged moon of Kreet and its abundance of scary scuttling wildlife, the ruthless buccaneers known as the Crimson Fleet, and the gleaming capital city of New Atlantis on the planet Jemison. (Perhaps the planet is named after astronaut icon Mae Jemison?)

Vasco your companion robot explores the rocky moon of Kreet in "Starfield." (Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios)

"It’s not just this planet, it’s all the planets in the system… and not just this system, but over a hundred systems, over 1,000 planets, all open for you to visit," explains Howard. "It’s been an incredible journey for us making it, but we know that’s only the beginning, for it’s when all of you play it that the journey begins."

"Starfield" arrives exclusively on Xbox Series X/S (opens in new tab) and PC sometime in the first half of 2023.

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Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.