Starfield New Game+ Explained: When Should You Start This New Mode?

The universe of Starfield is so big, you need more than one playthrough to see it all. However, there are some things you need to know about the RPG's unusual New Game+ mode.

Photo: Xbox Game Studios

Starfield is a Bethesda game through and through. It’s an open-world (technically open-worlds given all the planet-hopping) experience full of loot and quests, and while I won’t say the game only gets good after X number of hours, I will say that the campaign finale certainly isn’t the end. For some, it’s only the beginning.

In a shocking twist, Bethesda added a New Game+ mode to Starfield. However, this isn’t exactly the New Game+ you know from other titles. Some aspects are similar, but others might take New Game+ completionist veterans by surprise. 

So while much of this information may be a spoiler at the outset of the game, anyone who is thinking of diving into Starfield’s New Game+ mode needs to know what they’re signing up for.

Starfield: How to Unlock New Game+

Most titles lock New Game+ behind the not-insignificant roadblock of completing the main campaign. This is true for Starfield, but since it’s Bethesda’s first go at a New Game+, the process is a little different from what you might be used to.

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As with most games, you can’t unlock Starfield’s New Game+ until after the final main story mission. Once the last quest is complete, the game lets you build something special for your ship (we won’t say what). After the addition is complete and added to your vessel, fire up the Grav Drive and Jump to any system.

However, you won’t arrive at your intended destination but instead a completely new one: The Unity. There you will find a unique NPC who will tell you about the consequences, both good and bad, of your actions throughout the game. In other words, they provide the ending montage exposition. While you are inside the Unity, you will probably notice a giant orb floating behind the NPC. After you’re done talking, enter this orb, and the end credits will play.

After they’re done, your character will wake up in a new ship, a new outfit, and a new iteration of Starfield’s universe. Yep, turns out Bethesda went the quantum physics route, which means Starfield’s New Game+ mode isn’t a game mode so much as it is a canonical delve into a multiverse.

So where do you go from there? Anywhere you want. You can revisit the Lodge in New Atlantis and either relive or skip the main quests. You can reacquire side missions and complete them all over again. However, not everything will be exactly as it was…

Starfield: What Do You Lose and Gain In New Game+?

As previously stated, Starfield’s New Game+ drops players off in a new ship, the Starborn Guardian, and gives them a new uniform, the Starborn Spacesuit Astra. However, that’s only the beginning of what you’ll find in this expanded mode.

As is video game tradition, Starfield’s New Game+ mode essentially resets the game world while letting players keep some of their character progress. All unlocked traits, skills, and powers are preserved, and gamers can continue to acquire even higher skill ranks and stronger powers by leveling up and revisiting temples, respectively. Moreover, gamers can make new choices in missions to forge new alliances and acquire new endings. This makes sense since the Unity turns the main character into an interdimensional tourist, and they get to visit and sculpt universes they never left an impact in.

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But what of the Starborn Guardian and the Starborn Spacesuit Astra, you ask? Well, they are some of the most powerful items you can acquire in Starfield, but what if I told you things can get even crazier? Every time you complete a New Game+ run and revisit the Unity, you get to enter another new universe and acquire even stronger ship and suit variants, at least up to a certain point. The starship caps at Starborn Guardian VI (i.e., six New Game+ resets), while the armor only goes up to Starborn Spacesuit Venator (which requires 10 New Game+ reboots). Still, once you acquire these rewards, you won’t want for another ship or suit again.

There is a considerable catch to all of those perks, though. While you will retain most of the things that make you…well, you in New Game+, you will lose almost all of your worldly possessions and other ties to the universe. Specifically, you start New Game+ without your previously earned inventory, resources, ships, credits, weapons, armor, relationships, outposts, and quest completion progress. New Game+ essentially resets the universe, so all of those things will be gone. Depending on where you’re at when you start New Game+, that can mean losing hours of progress (at least in terms of stuff).

Starfield: When Should You Start New Game+?

There are ultimately many benefits to Starfield’s New Game+ mode. You get powerful new armor and spaceships, as well as upgraded powers. Many players may choose to experience it at some point. The more pertinent question is whether you should rush into Starfield’s New Game+ mode.

To be blunt, there are pros and cons to the speedrun approach. The most obvious reason to enter New Game+ as quickly as possible is the rewards you get for doing so. The spacesuits, ships, and powers you acquire are downright broken, and the more New Game+ reruns you go through, the more Starfield becomes a power fantasy. Reset the game via Unity enough times, and your character’s abilities will come within spitting distance of godhood. However, depending on who you ask, though, that’s the wrong way to play.

Like Bethesda’s other titles, Starfield is a sandbox game. The main story is only part of the experience. The meat of the adventure lies in mining planets of resources, helping random strangers (or mugging them), and eavesdropping on countless world-building conversations. Starfield is the kind of game where the journey is more important than the destination. Blazing through the campaign just to play the way someone really wants to play isn’t going to be everyone’s idea of a good time.

Besides, what fun is entering a fresh new universe that lets you make new decisions if you didn’t even stop long enough in your initial universe to make decisions in the first place? The differences your choices make won’t mean squat if you don’t have anything to compare them to. And that’s to say nothing of all the random encounters you miss out by speeding through the narrative, because there’s no way to tell when, or even if, they will pop up in your New Game+ alternate universe. 

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However, that argument is tempered by all of the things you will lose. If you’ve invested quite a bit of time into Starfield, you may be understandably hesitant to reset all of that progress just for a new ship, a new suit, and a few power upgrades. There will be players who hop into New Game+ without understanding that considerable drawback is part of the process, and they will almost certainly be quite confused and very angry.

If you just want to bounce around Starfield‘s universe and do whatever you want as soon as you can, you should probably do that and enjoy yourself. If all of that New Game+ content sounds appealing to you, though, then you may want to hold off on acquiring anything you don’t want to lose once you start a New Game+ run and treat the campaign like an expanded tutorial. Ultimately, it’s about knowing what you’re getting yourself into.