Starfield: Constellation Meaning Explained

The word "constellation" jumps out from the latest Starfield trailer, but what does it actually mean for the game's story?

Photo: Microsoft/Xbox

If you watched Starfield‘s E3 2021 trailer (and we know you did), the one word that probably jumped out at you was “constellation.”

Granted, that’s probably because the Starfield trailer didn’t give us much to work with in terms of story, gameplay, or anything else, but there’s no denying that the word “constellation” was featured prominently enough in the preview to make it clear that the game will revolve around it in some way.

So what does “constellation” actually mean in relation to Starfield? Surprisingly, we already know the answer to that question despite still not knowing much about the rest of the game.

In a behind-the-scenes video released on The Washington Post’s website, Todd Howard explains that Constellation is the name of a faction that he describes as “the last group of space explorers.” In an interview with Telegraph, he offers an expanded explanation of the group’s purpose both in this universe and in terms of game mechanics.

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“Well, the game is set about 300 plus years in our own future. And Constellation is this kind of last group of space explorers,” Howard says. “It’s like NASA meets Indiana Jones meets the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a group of people that are still searching for answers. There are a lot of factions in the game but that’s the main one that you’ll become a part of. It’s kind of like Skyrim in terms of the structure of the game, where you’re going to be who you want to be, and then there’s different factions that you can join, and really carve your own path.”

Well, that’s pretty interesting. Not only does Howard reveal that Constellation is a group of explorers, but he uses the word “last” in two separate descriptions of the faction. Why is that the case? Humanity seemingly has the ability to explore the furthest reaches of space, so why wouldn’t more groups be doing just that?

While the game will obviously answer that question eventually, or best guess for the moment is that there was either some event that prevented more humans from being able to continue to explore space (despite apparently being able to do so) or that Constellation is the last group of people willing to explore areas of space considered to be uncharted, dangerous, and inhospitable. The latter explanation feels more likely at the moment, but again, the word “last” feels very telling when trying to understand what Constellation is and what its purpose tells us about the larger Starfield universe.

More importantly, Howard tells us that there are “many factions in the game” and that Constellation is the “main one.” His choice of wording would seem to suggest that Starfield‘s faction system may be less like the one in Fallout: New Vegas (where you would sometimes be forced to choose between the interests of factions that often battled each other) and more like Skyrim‘s where there is a “campaign” faction and several optional factions to join along the way.

Whatever the case, it certainly seems like Constellation will play a major role in Starfield and that our own adventure in the game will in some way revolve around our decision to join them. Like the rest of you, we’re eager to get our hands on the game on November 11, 2022, to see what happens from there.

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