Starfield spaceship in battle
Image Credit: Bethesda via Twinfinite

Starfield Will Have VATS for Your Spaceship Battles

Starfield VATS? Yes please.

Starfield Direct, following on from the Xbox Showcase on June 11, gave fans their most in-depth look yet at Bethesda’s upcoming space epic.

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Among exhaustive character customization, personalized planets and the help of NASA (yes, that NASA), they also revealed a Fallout mechanic that’s sure to spice up space battles in the best way imaginable.

VATS is a dynamic combat system that’s featured in multiple Fallout titles, including Fallout 76, which debuted an Atlantic City expansion coming soon. Standing for ‘Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System’, it lets players target specific parts of enemies (whether ships or body parts) in a realistic and fluid way.

Starfield, it was confirmed, will feature the same for its space battles. Players will need to employ the ‘Targeting Control Systems’ Skill, which then allows players to lock on to “specific subsystems of the ship you target”.

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This is important because every ship vanquished can be looted and taken for scrap. In other words, completely annihilating a ship will render it invaluable to players. Targeting specific parts to make it inoperable will allow you to win the battle and acquire new items, resources and equipment.

Zachary Wilson, Senior Level Designer at Bethesda, said: “Space flight should be exciting and dangerous and you should feel like you’re in control every step of the way… It’s a complex dance between your piloting skills and out power allocation system… Unlocking the Targeting Control Systems Skill will allow you to zero in on specific subsystems of the ship you target.

“After destroying an enemy ship, you can loot the remains from your cockpit. You can always turn any ship that engages you into scrap, but you can also take a more personal approach by docking with the enemy vessel and boarding their ship.”

It’s an incredibly liberating system, ensuring the game’s space combat has just as much freedom as planet exploration and character design. We’re sure you’re the same, but Starfield Direct has us pumped on an intergalactic level to get hands on with Bethesda’s title. Barring any delays, it’ll release worldwide on September 6, 2023.


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Joe Craven
Joe is a writer and publisher based in England. He loves history, video games and football. As you read this, he's probably reading about an obscure war, playing a video game or moaning about Leeds United.