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Starfield outposts may be simpler than Fallout 4 bases and that’s okay

Bethesda's Starfield may not offer deep management systems when it comes to outposts, like Fallout 4's settlements, but that's not a bad thing for Xbox players.

Starfield outposts systems Fallout 4 settlements: an image of Preston Garvey from the RPG in front of a base from the space Xbox game.

With the Starfield Direct date looming and Starfield fans eagerly awaiting more information on what could be one of the best Xbox RPG games out there – if not one of the best Xbox games ever – to arrive, there’s understandably quite a lot of chatter about what to expect from some of this game’s features. One such feature that’s coming under fire from a faction of fans online is Starfield’s base-building. This has been something teased briefly before, and disecting screencaps has convinced some players that we’re going to be getting a trimmed-down experience compared to Fallout 4’s settlement-building and management systems. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

If you look at Bethesda’s Starfield gameplay reveal footage from June 2022, specifically at the UI when executive producer Todd Howard is discussing outpost-building, you can see that there are four metrics being tracked: Cargo, Crew, Power, and Production – in a ‘per minute’ figure.

If you want to know what we’re talking about, you can see a screenshot below:

Starfield outposts systems Fallout 4 settlements: an image of an outpost being built in the Xbox RPG

You’ll also find this, and a few more images of outpost-building, in the Starfield gameplay reveal at around the 09:30 mark.

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Watching that section of the above video, we learn that these outposts – according to Howard – are something of a “home away from home” for Starfield players, that will help when it comes to “survival and resource generation” on whichever one of the Starfield planets you decide to set up shop.

When you compare this UI and the metrics mentioned above to what you see when you’re building, managing, and maintaining a settlement in Fallout 4, though, you’re met with something that seems a little streamlined in Starfield. As highlighted by ‘SpiritualBacon‘ on the Starfield subreddit, there’s no mention of things like “food”, or “water” – and nothing to do with other Fallout 4 settlement metrics like “happiness, beds, and defense”. We know that “defense” indicator didn’t really help much when it came to preparing for oncoming attacks, but it was still a reminder that you needed to keep an eye on your settlement’s ability to defend itself.

You can check out this Fallout 4 settlement building video from content creator ‘Beau Gaming‘ if you want to see what we’re talking about. The metrics are across the top of the screen when building.

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With these sorts of things missing from the Starfield oupost UI we’ve been shown, quite a few fans are concerned that the base-building we’re going to get is going to be even more lacklustre than what we were given in Fallout 4 – and not the evolution they had hoped for. But, when you think about it, that really isn’t going to be a bad thing.

Throughout Bethesda’s introduction to Starfield gameplay and some of the systems we’re going to engage with, Howard has expressed that players will be able to hire NPCs to help them out – be that on their customizable starship or in their self-constructed outpost. So, while Fallout 4 NPCs could do things on their own, it sounds like the NPCs in Starfield are going to be much more independent and able to perform tasks and fulfill roles as instructed. As one Redditor summarized, it could all mean that “we don’t need to micro-manage such details…” – as water, food, and beds – “[the crew] will take care of the rest”. Howard also states that players can “hire characters [they] meet, to keep [outposts] up and running”.

However, this does also suggest that the more exciting side of Fallout 4’s settlement management – defending oncoming attacks and protecting your settlers – might be absent from the RPG when the Starfield release date rolls around.

But, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With so many planets to explore, and some interesting Starfield factions to contend with, we really don’t think an advanced base-management system would improve the game – especially when there’s so much detail in things like the weapons you can construct and customize, and all the skills you can unlock.

In fact, those of you who have spent time exploring Fallout 4’s settlement management systems will know that it can quite-quickly become an overwhelming experience – and there’s only thirty locations to choose from there.

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We don’t know how many outposts you’ll be able to build in Starfield, but – if we assume it’s more than one – they could very-easily become quite the task to manage – especially if they’re located on planets a few systems apart from one another.

We know you might find yourself concerned that some areas of Starfield are slimmer than what we’re expecting due to the sheer scale of the space game, but you should rest-assured knowing that – even if they are – that isn’t a bad thing. Although, just looking at the Starfield ship customization options we’ve been shown so far tells us that there’s going to be more than enough to deal with when it comes to in-game systems and features. If a few outpost crew members want to sort out their own water supply, that’s not a bad thing.