Starfield's Animated Shorts Prove It Won't Be Another Lifeless No Man's Sky
Image Source: Bethesda Game Studios

Starfield’s Animated Shorts Prove It Won’t Be Another Lifeless No Man’s Sky

A new hope.

With Bethesda Game Studios’ next big game on the horizon, anticipation for the company’s first new IP in 25 years is reaching a fever pitch. To help shed some light on the many worlds fans will be exploring when Starfield launches on Sept. 6, the studio has released a trio of new animated shorts.

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These animated teasers stand in stark contrast with some folks’ concerns leading up to the interstellar space RPG’s launch. Namely: Starfield is going to be an empty, lifeless No Man’s Sky-esque experience.

Look, for what it’s worth, I didn’t actually hate 2016’s No Man’s Sky. While the first-person explore ’em up was as vast as the ocean of space itself, it was unfortunately marred with tedious survival mechanics, laborious resource-gathering, and an overwhelming feeling of “been there, done that”.

Furthermore, as a narrative, No Man’s Sky’s story was middling at best, and frustratingly threadbare at worst. As a result, this led many to bounce out of the game and move on with their lives and never look back. Indeed, despite the Guildford-based studio squirrelling away for many years to turn the tide of opinion back in their favor — and largely succeeding in that endeavor — the space sim still remains a point of contention and a lightning rod for negativity.

However, what’s immediately striking about these Starfield teasers is the emphasis on short, sweet human stories that are not only relatable and understandable, but are powerfully universal. Instead of complex and overly philosophical sci-fi — or in No Man’s Sky’s case, stiflingly vague and disconnected lore and plot points — these animated shorts help to reveal Bethesda’s MO: to tell thought-provoking and relatable narratives in a NASA steampunk sci-fi setting.

The three shorts in question sport a painterly cyberpunk, anime-esque aesthetic and tell the stories of a handful of characters that comprise the citizens within Starfield‘s vast network of planets and cities.

Firstly, we have Kent, who is an ambitious courier in the city of New Atlantis, the capital of the United Colonies. His dream is to work off-planet as a member of the UC Vanguard and make a life for himself within the settled systems.

It appears that Kent is carrying out bounty hunter work for the US Vanguard as he blows up pirates in space battles and collects his puck-like rewards for doing so.

Meanwhile, on another planet named Akila, we zero in on an orphan called Vanna who works in Akila City, the capital of the Free Star Collective.

In the footage, we see a brief scene of Vanna’s parents going toe to toe with an army of mechs in the “Colony Wars” where they lost their lives.

She also has great dreams of leaving the planet she’s known all her life behind her and escaping to the settled systems. Only problem standing in her way is a broken ship.

Lastly, we have two partners in crime — Ada and Harper — who are busy eking out an existence in the game’s “Pleasure City,” which is dubbed Neon. Despite their close friendship, both quickly become embroiled in the criminal underbelly of the intergalactic sin city.

While there is no dialogue in these animated shorts, they are all very charming and help add some narrative flavor, world-building and context to the many planets you’ll be visiting later this year.

On the surface, Starfield may appear like a No Man’s Sky-esque experience, but it’s becoming increasingly clearer how Bethesda’s approach to storytelling, world-building, and narrative will set the game apart from Sean Murray’s beleaguered space sim.

Starfield is scheduled to launch on Xbox Series X|S and PC on Sept. 6. However, you’ll be able to play Starfield a little earlier on Sept. 1 for those who purchase the Premium Edition and for those who play on Xbox Game Pass with the Premium Upgrade.

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Dylan Chaundy
Dylan is a Senior Writer at Twinfinite and has been with the site for over two years, and in the games media industry for over a decade. He typically covers horror, RPGs, shooters, Roblox, indie titles and movies, and loves reading, pizza and skateboarding; ideally, at the same time. He has a degree in English Literature from Aberystwyth University, Wales. He thinks FTL may be the most perfect game ever created.