It is common knowledge that Starfield is an immensely vast game. Bethesda’s first new intellectual property in 25 years offers a plethora of activities, including the exploration of over 1,000 planets, engaging in numerous space battles, constructing multiple outposts, mining various resources, encountering different extraterrestrial beings, engaging in romantic relationships with four companion characters, acquiring and modifying an extensive array of equipment, and enjoying other intricate features such as ship-building and ship-stealing. The game’s launch was highly successful, with more than 1 million players simultaneously exploring the game on its release day, surpassing Skyrim’s record for concurrent players on Steam and generating substantial revenue for Bethesda. Therefore, it is quite surprising to discover that over a quarter of Xbox players have failed to embark on their journey into space.
The first achievement players can earn in the game is titled “For All, Into The Starfield.” Unlocking this achievement is relatively straightforward, as it only requires players to launch themselves into space for the first time. Considering that Starfield revolves around space exploration, one would assume that the majority of players would have already obtained this achievement. However, only 75% of Xbox players have unlocked “For All, Into The Starfield” (according to TrueAchievements), indicating that a significant portion of Xbox players have yet to embark on their interstellar journey.
Without revealing any major spoilers, Starfield’s initial scenes take place on the planet Vectera, located in the Narion system. Players engage in resource-mining, stumble upon an unexpected interstellar surprise, create their character, and briefly encounter their first romanceable companion, Barrett. Following a brief firefight that serves as more of a tutorial than a challenge, players gain access to Barrett’s ship, the Frontier, and receive orders to fly to Constellation Headquarters in New Atlantis within the Alpha Centauri region. Upon launching into space, the “For All, Into The Starfield” achievement is unlocked. Therefore, the question arises as to why so many players have yet to earn this achievement and what they are doing in Starfield if not exploring the stars.
The first question is easily answered. Since Starfield is available for free on Game Pass, it is accessible to approximately 30 million players. Not everyone is a fan of science fiction, space-themed games, or Bethesda games in general. Therefore, it is likely that a significant portion of players who have not obtained the game’s first achievement are merely curious Game Pass subscribers who decided to give Starfield a try but ultimately found it unappealing. On Steam, where players must purchase the game, the percentage of players who have earned the first achievement is much higher at 88%. Additionally, there have been reports of bugged achievements on Xbox, which may contribute to the lower percentage of Xbox players who have unlocked the first achievement. Nevertheless, considering the brevity of the game’s introduction on Vectera, it is difficult to fathom that a quarter of the Xbox player base would abandon the game entirely after just completing character creation. Thus, the question remains: if players are not exploring the stars, what are they doing in Starfield?
Starfield is not without flaws, but it is an expansive game. By following the game’s waypoints, players can make significant progress in the story. However, for those who enjoy deviating from the main path, Starfield offers a multitude of opportunities. Players who have not earned the game’s first achievement may be engrossed in exploring the planetary surfaces. Even seemingly small planets, initially appearing to only have a landing pad, a quest location, and a couple of caves, are brimming with activities. One can easily spend 12 real-life hours wandering the surface of a random planet, mining resources, studying flora and fauna, stumbling upon hidden enemy outposts, and discovering side quests, among other things. It is likely that a considerable portion of players who have not obtained “For All, Into The Starfield” made a deliberate choice to postpone boarding Barrett’s ship and exploring the various destinations it can offer, opting instead to fully experience what Vectera has to offer.
Despite being the game’s “starter planet,” Vectera offers a substantial amount of exploration. As the game commences at a mining outpost, it is evident that the planet is rich in valuable ores. Additionally, there are side quests and at least one story mission that necessitate the player’s return to Vectera, making it far from a barren and monotonous tutorial planet. Given the game’s vast scope, fully exploring a single planet can take hours. Players who choose to remain on Vectera may find more enjoyment in the freedom of exploration rather than the game’s narrative, or perhaps they simply prefer to take their time and accumulate resources to expedite outpost construction later on. The first achievement is not the only significant one with imbalanced completion statistics. For instance, slightly over half of Xbox players (56%) have joined Constellation, another early-game achievement that is unlocked simply by interacting with someone shortly after leaving Vectera, and only 46% of players have earned the achievement for reaching level 5 through grinding.
The fact that a quarter of Xbox players have yet to achieve liftoff is not necessarily negative. In fact, it may serve as a testament to the level of detail, effort, and content that Bethesda has incorporated into the game. The fact that a significant number of players are evidently bypassing a free spaceship in favor of delving deeper into the planet they are currently on suggests that Bethesda has successfully delivered on their promise of creating a “Skyrim in space.” Furthermore, it highlights the fact that Starfield is a game for everyone, allowing players to experience it in their preferred manner. Some players may prioritize romantic relationships with companions, while others may focus on battling space pirates or constructing a spaceship shaped like a platypus and filling its cargo bay with pilfered sandwiches. The beauty of Starfield lies in the absence of a “wrong” way to play it. The fact that 25% of players have not obtained a major achievement does not necessarily indicate that they have abandoned the game; it simply implies that they have adopted a different play style or that grav-jumping induces a sense of discomfort.