Starfield Lets You Fulfill the Ultimate Sci-Fi Fantasy of Owning a Home

A secretly revealed Starfield feature may borrow one of Animal Crossing's best ideas.

Photo: Xbox Game Studios

If you’re like the rest of us, you were probably so overwhelmed by the amount of new footage on display in that Starfield reveal trailer that you probably missed a lot of smaller details. In fact, you might have missed the quiet reveal that Starfield will seemingly allow you to buy homes.

If you jump to around the 9:10 mark in that Starfield gameplay reveal footage, you’ll see Todd Howard break down the game’s various character “traits.” They’re basically ability-altering characteristics that grant your character bonuses (and possible penalties) depending on which ones you pick. For instance, “Neon Street Rat” grants you financial bonuses and additional dialog options when you’re playing in the game’s Neon areas while “Introvert” grants you endurance bonuses when you’re adventuring alone. Anyone familiar with the traits in Fallout games should be pretty familiar with the basics of how that part of the character creation process will work.

While we see a couple of unique traits in the Starfield gameplay preview, the one that certainly stands out from the pack is the “Starter Home” trait which reads: “You own a small house on a peaceful little moon, but it comes with a 50,000 credit mortgage with GalBank.”

That brief description seemingly reveals quite a lot of new information about Starfield. At the very least, we now know that you will have the ability to start the game with immediate access to a small home. Mind you, before that trait was revealed, we had no idea that Starfield would let you buy homes or even occupy your own home. While some previous Bethesda RPGs did let you own properties, that’s not necessarily one of those guaranteed features that we’ve come to expect from that studio’s titles.

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What we don’t know for sure at this time is whether or not the ability to own a home is limited to whether or not you pick the Starter Home trait. The wording of that trait makes it sound like it’s simply the quickest way to purchase some property in the game, but that description doesn’t offer any additional information on other homes that may be available in the game or how you might eventually acquire them.

Interestingly, though, Todd Howard did describe the bases you are able to build in Starfield as your “home away from home,” which does tend to suggest that the game will allow all players to eventually own a home regardless of whether or not they pick that trait. Furthermore, it suggests that bases and outposts are treated separately from those owned homes. If Starfield‘s property system is anything like the property systems in other Bethesda RPGs, you’ll likely eventually have access to several homes of varying size and quality that all carry different price tags. You’ll probably even be able to decorate and customize them.

That’s where the whole “GalBank” thing comes into play. Now, that reference to an intergalactic bank could just be a simple bit of roleplaying/worldbuilding that doesn’t amount to much. In other words, there could be an institution called the “GalBank” where your money magically goes when you purchase a home.

However, it’s worth noting that the second Elder Scrolls game (1996’s Daggerfall) did include a feature that let you take out a mortgage on a home and pay back the game’s bank. While we don’t know if Starfields banking system will be as deep and important as it was in Daggerfall (gold had weight in that game, so you constantly had to make withdraws and deposits to avoid being over-encumbered), it does sound like the basics of that game’s banking system will return. To put it another way, it sounds like Starfield may utilize a kind of Animal Crossing system where you need to make payments on your house over time by earning money from activities. You may even be able to gradually expand your home like you can in that game.

In any case, the ability to own homes in Starfield is just another one of the many ways that the game is shaping up to be a kind of ultimate tribute to the history of Bethesda’s RPGs presented on a scale that the company has never really dared to try before. Let’s hope it all works out for the best.

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