Like many Bethesda RPGs, recruiting and utilizing companions is a pretty big part of the Starfield experience. Unlike some other Bethesda RPGs, though, Starfield offers both a massive collection of collectible companions and an expanded array of activities to eventually assign them to. With all of those options, things can get incredibly confusing quite quickly.
While there are sadly some parts of the Starfield companion system that remain confusing (and quite possibly broken), here is what you need to know about companion skills, how to recruit every companion, and which companions are best for various situations.
Starfield: How Do Companion Skills Work?
Companion skills in Starfield determine a companion’s effectiveness in various areas of the game. While some companion skills are exclusive to the companion, other companion skills essentially enhance your own abilities.
For instance, if a character is skilled at a special weapon class (such as Rifles and Shotguns), that skill only applies to them. The same goes for Stealth, Demolitions, and other skills that are specific to an individual. While you can benefit from having characters with those skills as your companion, those skills will not replace or directly supplement your own. So just because your companion is skilled in Rifles doesn’t mean that you will be skilled with Rifles while they’re with you.
However, by assigning a companion to your ship or an outpost, you can directly benefit from some of their abilities. For instance, if you assign a companion with two skill points in Energy Weapon Systems to your ship, your ship’s weapon systems will benefit from their presence so long as they are assigned to the ship.
Just note that this system only works if you have a companion assigned to the appropriate ship or outpost. So if someone on your roster offers a Starship Engineering skill bonus but you don’t have them actively assigned to your current ship (or you have them assigned to an outpost instead), you will not benefit from that bonus. That’s why it’s important to assign your companions and crew based on their areas of expertise.
What about skills like Chemistry and Gastronomy, though? Well, you dont’ directly benefit from those abilities and your companions also can’t directly perform those functions on their own. Instead, skills like those mean that those companions are more likely to find and give you items related to those abilities while they are traveling with you. At this time, it doesn’t appear that they offer additional benefits.
However, you should know that Starfield‘s companion skill system is…odd at best and quite possibly broken. There is some debate at the moment as to whether your companion’s skills are equivalent to the same skills you can acquire in the same areas, or if they instead offer a modified percentage boost in efficiency.
Because Starfield doesn’t always do the best job of giving you clear access to those statistics, it’s sadly difficult to tell exactly how beneficial certain abilities actually are. Furthermore, it seems like outpost skills may not be working entirely as intended at the moment, as they do not necessarily offer the noticeable benefits that other companion skills do. Hopefully, the Starfield team will clarify what those companion skills are actually supposed to do and if they are all functioning as intended.
Regardless, you are always better off assigning companions to the areas that suit their skills best, especially when it comes to combat and ships.
Starfield: How to Recruit Every Companion
Though it’s possible that Starfield‘s 1000+ planets are hiding a few companions that haven’t been discovered quite yet, here is a rundown of every known companion in the game, what they are skilled at, and how to recruit them:
Skills: Scavenging (*), Concealment (*), Weight Lifting (**)
How to Recruit: Choose the “Hero Worshipped Trait” at the start of the game.
Skills: Piloting (**), Rifle (**)
How to Recruit: Keep Amelia alive during the Operation Starseed quest and choose an option that allows The Crucible’s residents to leave the planet.
Skills: Stealth (****), Particle Beams (***), Energy Weapon Systems (**), Theft (*)
How to Recruit: Complete the “Into the Unknown” campaign quest
Skills: Outpost Engineering (**), Piloting (*), Aneutronic Fusion (*)
How to Recruit: Can be hired for 12,000 Credits from The Broken Spear in Cydonia
Skils: Starship Engineering (****), Particle Beam Weapon Systems (***), Robotics (**), Gastronomy (**)
How to Recruit: Complete the “Back to Vectera” campaign mission.
Skills: Chemistry (*), Robotics (**), Energy Weapon Systems (**)
How to Recruit: Can be hired for 13, 500 Credits from Euphorika in Neon.
Skills: Ballistic Weapon Systems (**), Missile Weapon Systems (**)
How to Recruit: Can be hired for 16,000 Credits from The Viewpoint in New Atlantis.
Skills: Geology (*), Outpost Engineering (***)
How to Recruit: Return to Vectera as part of The Empty Nest campaign quest.
Skills: Theft (*), Ballistic Weapon Systems (***), Concealment (*)
How to Recruit: Can be hired for 18,000 Credits from Last Nova The Key station (Crimson Fleet territory).
Skills: Demolitions (*), Outpost Management (***)
How to Recruit: Return to Vectera as part of The Empty Nest campaign quest
Skills: Shotguns (*), Ballistics (**), Particle Beam Weapon Systems (*)
How to Recruit: Can be hired for 18,000 Credits from The Viewpoint on New Atlantis.
Skills: Weight Lifting (*), Ballistics (*), Incapacitation (**)
How to Recruit: Can be hired after completing the Legacy’s End quest and aligning with the Crimson Fleet while not reporting Mathis to Delgado.
Skills: Gastronomy (*), Wellness (**), Incapacitation (*)
How to Recruit: Can be hired for 18,000 Credits from The Astral Lounge on Neon.
Skills: EM Weapon Systems (**), Marksmanship (**)
How to Recruit: Can be recruited from The Broken Spear on Cydonia after completing “The Old Neighborhood” quest.
Skills: Shield Systems (***), Starship Engineering (**)
How to Recruit: Can be hired for 15,000 Credits from The Hitching Post in Akila City.
Skills: Outpost Engineering (*), Starship Engineering (**), Outpost Management (*)
How to Recruit: Complete the “Entangled’ campaign quest while siding with Rafael as part of that mission.
Skills: Medicine (*), Wellness (***)
How to Recruit: Can be hired for 15,000 Credits from The Hitching Post in Akila City.
Skills: Piloting (****), Rifles (***), Payload (**), Geology (*)
How to Recruit: Can be recruited during “The Empty Nest” campaign quest.
Skills: Astrodynamics (****), Lasers (***), Leadership (**), Botany (*)
How to Recruit: Can be recruited during The Old Neighborhood campaign quest.
Skills: Sharpshooting (*), Sniper Certification (**), Marksmanship (*)
How to Recruit: Can be hired for 15,000 Credits from The Viewport in New Atlantis.
Skills: Stealth (***), Lasers (*)
How to Recruit: Can be hired for 15,000 Credits from Madame Sauvage’s Place in Neon.
Skills: Aneutronic Fusion (*), Shield Systems (**), EM Weapon Systems (*)
How to Recruit: Can be recruited as part of the One Small Step campaign quest
Starfield: Every Companion You Can Romance
If you’re looking to find love in Starfield, you’ll want to focus on the four companions listed above. At present, there do not seem to be any other companions you can romance in the game (even if only for a brief time).
Though your romance options are relatively limited, romancing any of these four companions is remarkably easy. You simply need to raise your affinity meter with that companion by performing acts they approve of (agreeing with them, helping them, helping their allies, etc.). You’ll know that you’ve raised your Affinity meter high enough when you unlock a “Flirt” dialog option with that character. Choosing that option will eventually allow you to complete a special side quest for that companion. After completing that quest, you’ll have the option of choosing a“Romance” dialog option. From there, you’ll need to continue to raise your Affinity with the character until the “Commitment” dialog option becomes available. Choosing that option will essentially allow you to marry that companion and begin a romantic relationship with them.
Please note that while you can “Flirt” with multiple characters, you can only form a “Commitment” with one of them at a time. However, you can end your marriage by speaking to your Commitment companion, asking how they feel about your relationship, and choosing the dialog option that allows you to end things with them. Once that is done, you’ll be able to (somewhat awkwardly) pursue a relationship with another companion.
So who should you romance in Starfield? Honestly, there is no right answer as the differences really come down to whoever you enjoy spending the most time with. However, it may be a good idea to at least advance your relationship with every character enough to unlock their companion quests, as those are the most substantial aspects of the entire romancing process.
Starfield: Best Combat Companions
Your choice of combat companion in Starfield will always at least partially depend on your personal playstyle and which companion best supports your preferred combat tactics.
However, Simeon Bankowski is the best overall combat companion in Starfield. He boasts an unbeatable combination of ranged combat abilities that make him either a perfect sniping partner or someone who will watch your back while you do your thing. He is certainly worth the 15,000 Credits
Marika Boros is an interesting alternative, though. While her shotgun skills put her in harm’s way a little more often, her overall damage output is exceptional. She’s a pure powerhouse who can melt enemies at close ranges.
Mathis Castillo is a late-game companion, but he’s certainly worth the effort. His powerful Ballistics/Incapacitation combo makes him equally effective against humans and robots, and he’s the only combat-worth companion who comes with a Weightlifting skill point. That little extra carrying capacity goes a long way.
Sam Coe isn’t the best overall option, but his absurdly high Rifle skill makes him the most effective combat companion for the early game. You’ll get a lot of mileage out of him before you likely need to replace him.
Finally, Andreja’s unrivaled Stealth abilities make her the perfect combat companion for anyone looking to sneak around the battlefield. While her abilities won’t do you much good if you’re going in guns blazing, you can’t overlook a companion who can practically turn invisible.
Starfield: Best Ship Crew Companions
Sarah Morgan may be one of the first companions you acquire in Starfield, but her high Astrodynamics skill makes her hard to replace. That’s a massive boost to your grav jump capabilities that is especially useful in the early parts of the game when you can’t even dream of making those kinds of leaps otherwise. You’ll want to keep Sarah on your crew for quite some time.
Barrett will probably be your second “full-time” crewmember once you unlock him, though. I say “full-time” because you may eventually decide to replace him if you’re running a smaller crew, but his Engineering abilities are useful in every stage of the game, and you can’t go wrong with those Particle Beam systems if you have a ship that can utilize them.
Gideon Aker is definitely worth the money if you find yourself in need of a combat boost. That’s a solid set of skills for anyone who hasn’t fully invested in ship combat. If you’re looking to focus more on defenses, then Omari Hassan is the obvious alternative. Hell, having both on your crew can really help you save some early skill points.
Finally, Vasco is easy to replace on a smaller ship, but he’s a fantastic part of a larger crew and a great early option for those who are looking to fill their ships before they expand their rosters. The same goes for Sam Coe, who offers a nice combo of ship abilities but might not make a smaller crew in the middle parts of the game.
Starfield: Best Outpost Companions
While Outpost companions may not be functioning entirely as intended at the moment, Lin is certainly the best overall Outpost companion in Starfield. Her Outpost Management Skill should make things much easier when you’re building your first outposts and may not have the skills needed to access higher functions.
Of course, considering that you’ll acquire Lin and Heller at roughly the same time (if you play your cards right), you really should pair them up at your first major outpost and enjoy the benefits that they ideally offer when everything is working properly.
Beyond that, Rafael is an exceptional overall outpost companion, and there is really no better place to assign Andromeda if you decide to pick them up. You can technically lay with a few companion skills at Outposts with the right set-up, but those are definitely your ideal options.