Similar to their previous games, Bethesda is planning a number of Starfield factions for players to join. Many of them have intertwined relationships that the colonial war 20 years earlier has either worsened or strengthened.
An important point about faction selection that we learned in a Starfield mission interview (opens in a new tab) is that you don’t necessarily become the new leader of whatever you choose, like in Oblivion or Skyrim. And unlike Fallout 4, you’ll still be able to experience the stories of each faction in some way, even if you’ve sided with their enemies. To help you make that choice, it all starts with the discovery group Constellation where you get a foothold in the fixed systems and meet all the main players.
From space pirates to cyberpunk hypercapitalists, we’ve got you covered with a rundown of every known Starfield faction with quirks and drama galore.
How many factions does Starfield have?
So far we know that at least some of Starfield’s factions will be able to merge, and like other Bethesda games, how those factions feel about each other (and who you choose to help) will also affect how each of them feels about you.
Starfield has five main factions that Bethesda has mentioned so far:
- United Colonies
- Freestar Collective
- Ryujin Industries
- Crimson Fleet
The first faction you join is the Constellation, the “last group of astronauts,” according to Bethesda. This is the default group, and will put players in a position to find other factions (or just chill with the Constellation crew).
Constellation takes the front seat to part of the gameplay reveal we saw in the summer of 2022, giving some background on a mysterious artifact that your character finds. “We are committed to the biggest question of all: What’s out there?” they say in that video, it’s not surprising to hear that kind of ambitious curiosity from the explorer faction.
This group is an idealized futuristic space republic that Bethesda has called the “most powerful, established military and political faction in the game.” During the Colonial War twenty years before Starfield takes place, they fought the Freestar Collective.
From the concept art we’ve seen, it possesses giant mech-like ships that hover on airbases. Many of the troops are strapped with blasters and tactical belts; a fashion style reminiscent of the original Star Wars. The united colonies find their home in New Atlantis, the largest of the Starfield cities that Bethesda says is also the largest in development history.
During the time Starfield takes place, the colonies seem to be particularly concerned with the Crimson Fleet pirate threat. The gameplay reveal included some dialogue from at least one mission where the United Colonies want to recruit the player to “take down these dastardly pirates” together.
Cowboys have found their home in space with the Freestar Collective, for “people out there on the frontier.” In the Colonial Wars, they fought against the United Colonies, and pushed for individualism. Now they focus on preserving their own well-being, calling themselves “peacekeepers” who protect their own people. They come from Akila City where they are surrounded by the local alien predators Ashtaen.
During character creation, you can select the “Freestar Collective Settler” trait which grants access to Freestar-specific dialogue and better faction rewards during missions, but also increases your bounty for crimes against other factions.
Yes, these guys are literally Starfield’s space pirate faction. In a March preview video, design director Emil Pagliarulo said “They’re not just this enemy, let the player join them. What does that mean?” From this conversation, it seems like the Crimson Fleet is full of bad guys. But you’ll have the option to completely join them, or work undercover as a room narc instead.
Ryujin Industries is the space prize of a mega-corporation, and according to the developers, has “one of the best starts of any of Starfield’s factions.” That’s most of what we know about the corporate faction so far aside from some very neon concept art.
Other Starfield factions and groups
The five main factions above are the ones we’ve heard the most about so far, but Bethesda has also mentioned a few other factions in their marketing videos. Here are some other names we expect to see in the fixed systems:
- House of Va’ruun – A cult of rum zealots
- Enlightened – A religious organization
- Sanctum Universe – Another religion, the universal church
- Great serpent worshippers – Also a religious space sect
- Ecliptic mercenaries – A group of mercenaries
- Spacers – Dangerous robbers
Which Starfield factions can be merged?
Right now, the Starfield factions you can join are the United Colonies, Freestar Collective, Constellation, Ryujin Industries, and the Crimson Fleet pirates. Bethesda has not shared whether the other factions will be NPC exclusive. We know from another recent interview video that you’ll be able to play through all the faction questlines regardless of which one you decide to join, unlike some of the mutually exclusive factions in Fallout 4.