It’s no secret that Starfield is a very large game. Bethesda’s first new IP in 25 years has no shortage of things to do, with over 1,000 planets for players to explore, countless spaceship battles to engage in (or run from), multiple outposts to build, loads of resources to mine, various aliens to study (or fight), four companion characters to romance, a seemingly endless amount of gear to steal, sell, or modify, and loads of other in-depth features (like ship-building and ship-stealing). The game’s launch was highly successful, with over 1 million players concurrently exploring the game on launch day, beating Skyrim’s concurrent player record on Steam and earning Bethesda a good chunk of change in the process. So the news that over a quarter of the gamers playing Starfield on Xbox have failed to even launch themselves into space–is rather surprising, to say the least.
“For All, Into The Starfield” is the first achievement players can earn in the game. It’s not a difficult feat by any means–in fact, unlocking the achievement is almost an inevitability, as all it requires is for players to launch themselves into space for the first time. In a game about space exploration, one would think most players would have earned this achievement by now. But only 75% of Xbox players have unlocked the “For All, Into The Starfield” achievement (via TrueAchievments), meaning a quarter of Xbox players have yet to board the Frontier and grav-jump into the unknown.
Without spilling any major spoilers, Starfield’s opening scenes take place on the planet Vectera, in the Narion system. Players take part in some resource-mining, stumble across an unexpected interstellar surprise, enter character creation, and briefly meet their first romanceable companion, Barrett. After a short firefight that serves more as a tutorial than a challenge, players gain access to Barrett’s ship, the Frontier, and are given orders to fly to Constellation Headquarters in New Atlantis in the Alpha Centauri region. Upon launching into space, the “For All, Into The Starfield” achievement unlocks. So why do so many players lack this achievement, and what on Earth (er, Vectera) are they doing in Starfield if not exploring the stars?
The first question is easy to answer. Because it’s available for free on Game Pass, Starfield is accessible to roughly 30 million players. Not everyone is a fan of sci-fi, games set in space, or Bethesda games in general, so it’s likely that a good portion of the players lacking the game’s first achievement are just curious Game Pass subscribers who chose give Starfield a try, but ultimately decided it wasn’t for them. On Steam–where anyone playing Starfield had to pay for it–the percentage of players who have earned the first achievement is much higher at 88%. (There have also reports of bugged achievements on Xbox, which may be part of the reason only 75% of Xbox players have unlocked the first achievement). Still, given how short the game’s intro on Vectera is, it’s hard to imagine a quarter of the Xbox playerbase just flat-out calling it a day and throwing in the towel for good when they’ve only just exited character creation. Thus, the question remains: If players aren’t exploring the stars, what the heck are they doing out there?
Starfield is not a perfect game by any means, but it is an expansive one. If you simply follow the game from waypoint to waypoint, you can make a good amount of story progress. But for players who enjoy going off the beaten path, Starfield has lots to offer. Players who haven’t earned the game’s first achievement may not be exploring the stars simply because they’re so busy exploring the ground. Even smaller planets that, at first glance, seem to have only a landing pad, a quest location, and a cave or two, are full of things to do. One can easily lose 12 real-life hours wandering the surface of a random planet, mining resources, scanning flora and fauna, stumbling across hidden enemy outposts, discovering side quests, and more. It’s likely that a decent portion of the players missing “For All, Into The Starfield” are only missing it because they made a conscious decision to save Barrett’s ship–and all the places it can take them–for later, opting instead to see what else Vectera has to offer.
Despite being the game’s “starter planet,” Vectera does indeed have quite a bit to explore. Given the fact that the game begins at a mining outpost, it’s no secret that the planet is home to useful (and valuable) ore of various types. There are also some side-quests and at least one story mission that require the player to return to Vectera, so it’s far from a barren, boring tutorial planet. Given the game’s massive scope, fully exploring a single planet can take hours. Players who chose to stick around on Vectera may enjoy the game’s freedom of exploration more than its story, or perhaps they simply want to take their time and stock up on resources to save time later during outpost-building. The game’s first achievement isn’t the only significant one with curiously unbalanced completion statistics, either. For instance, a little over half of Xbox players (56%) have joined Constellation, which is another hard-to-miss early-game achievement that’s unlocked simply by interacting with someone shortly after leaving Vectera, and only 46% of players have earned the achievement for grinding up to level 5.
The fact that a quarter of Xbox players have failed to even achieve liftoff isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it may be a testament to the amount of detail, effort, and content Bethesda put into the game. If the game’s opening locale is so interesting that a significant amount of players are evidently walking past a free spaceship in favor of learning more about the planet they’re currently on suggests that Bethesda has delivered on their promise that Starfield would be “Skyrim in space.” Moreover, it speaks to the fact that Starfield is a game for everyone, and one that can be experienced however the player wishes to experience. Some players want to romance a companion, some want to fight space pirates, some want to build a ship shaped like a platypus and fill the cargo bay with stolen sandwiches, and some want to explore. The beauty of Starfield is that there’s no “wrong” way to play it. 25% of players missing a major achievement doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve given up on the game; it just means some of them have a different play style. (Or perhaps grav-jumping simply makes them feel a bit queasy.)
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