Is Starfield open world?

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August 29, 2023: With the game set to enter early access this week, check out whether Starfield is open world.

We’ve prefaced a bunch of game guides already answering this specific question without thinking much of it. But if you’re searching for this exact answer, read on. We’ll answer the question of “is Starfield open world?” and cover any of the little nuances that come with it.

Releasing in 2023 after many years of development, Starfield is big enough to warrant a 45-minute deep dive simply to cover its core mechanics. With over 1000 planets to explore, you should already have your answer from that little wisdom nugget alone. That is unless you’re expecting it to include a 1000+ hour linear story. To be fair, Bethesda could probably handle it.

Is Starfield open world?

We’re surprised this has to be answered at all, but yes: Starfield is open world. In case you’re not all too familiar with the studio behind this particular title, Bethesda Softworks, the group’s whole thing is making open-world adventures people often spend years traversing. Not because there’s really that much to do, but purely because the worlds the studio crafts are filled with possibilities, memorable music, and multiple, game-altering choices that make repeated plays easy to justify.

Taking cues from its other titles like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 3, Starfield features a huge open world to explore. However, unlike those games, you won’t be able to explore it fully on foot. You can’t walk from one planet to another, for example.

Rather than be locked to a single planet or have sneaky loading screens bridge the gap from on to another, Starfield features full space flight. You can buy ships (or even steal ships) and fly them from one planet to the next.

There’s a linear storyline you can follow if you want to learn more about your character’s involvement in some of the bigger dramas happening in the space soap crafted by Bethesda, but you’re never forced into it. That’s a running rule with games from the studio, with plenty of players never seeing the true end to these titles even decades after release. Not because they’re especially long, but because there are so many other things you might rather do in-game instead.

At the same time, side quests might turn your attention away from sorting out the game’s major narrative. If you find them more interesting, that’s absolutely fine: you’re perfectly free to take these on instead.


Starfield being an open-world game means you’re also entirely within your rights not to do a quest at all. If you just want to hop in your ship and take in the sights, listening to some sounds while you drift through space, more power to you. It’s your choice whether you relax in the world or land on a planet to gather goods to sell on another.

For a quick idea of how and why some people play Bethesda games for years at a time, take a look at how people have already figured out how many sandwiches a spaceship is worth, and even which ships come with a rage-quit button. There’s even word of Fallout modders delaying their own project for Starfield.

For more articles like this, take a look at our Guides and Starfield page.