Starfield, the highly anticipated RPG from Bethesda Games Studio is officially set to blast off on September 6, 2023, bringing its unique space exploration and roleplaying gameplay to PC and Xbox Series X|S. If you don’t plan on purchasing the premium editions of Starfield, which unlock early access to the RPG, here are five out-of-this-world sci-fi and space-oriented gaming appetizers to play instead, helping you prepare for the upcoming release of Starfield.
The Fallout Series
Before Starfield, Fallout was Bethesda Softworks’ main science fiction IP, with the developer stringing together a successful run of sequels to the long-running post-apocalyptic series starting with Fallout 3, followed by Fallout: New Vegas (developed by Obsidian Entertainment) and Fallout 4.
Although they may lack Starfield’s space exploration, these unique Fallout experiences allow players to build their own characters and forge destinies in vast, post-nuclear war America, chock full of irradiated monsters, bandits, and factions with varying agendas. For Xbox Game Pass subscribers, each of these Fallout experiences are included in the service.
Mass Effect Series
Mass Effect, the highly touted RPG series from BioWare, debuted in 2007 and has since released four total entries, including Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3, and Mass Effect: Andromeda. The game puts its players in the role of their own customizable “Commander Shepard,” who is sent on intergalactic missions replete with story-driven decision-making, roleplaying, and third-person shooting combat. The Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, which collects the first three entries in the series, is also available for Xbox Game Pass subscribers just as Starfield will be when it launches on September 6.
The Outer Worlds
To provide an example of a shorter game you could more easily complete before playing Starfield, The Outer Worlds is a “game of the year” nominated sci-fi RPG from Obsidian Entertainment that released back in 2019. While many viewed The Outer Worlds as a spiritual successor to the Fallout series, Obsidian’s first-person RPG forged its own identity and built a fascinating, unique world. According to its description, “As you explore a space colony, the character you decide to become will determine how this player-driven story unfolds. In the colony’s corporate equation, you are the unplanned variable.” The Outer Worlds is a perfect Starfield companion piece with a sequel in the works. You can download The Outer Worlds on Xbox Game Pass today.
To shift from The Outer Worlds to Outer Wilds, Mobius Digital’s indie hit from 2019 is already considered among the greatest games ever made, consistently finding its way into all-time top 100 lists despite its short existence. Unlike many other entries on this list, Outer Wilds is not an RPG but a puzzle game with some rogue-lite gameplay elements. The story involves players exploring and solving the mystery of a solar system trapped in a 22-minute loop that always ends in a destructive supernova. Unfortunately, of all the games on this list, Outer Wilds is the only one not currently included with Xbox Game Pass but it is still a steal at its price of $24.99.
No Man’s Sky
Last but not least, although No Man’s Sky got off to a rocky start with a tumultuous launch back in 2016, in the seven years since its release, the game has become an acclaimed, fan-favorite space exploration and survival game, thanks to a robust community and tireless support by the developers. With an astounding 18 quintillion planets to explore, No Man’s Sky has truly taken the term “open world” to new extremes.
Leading up to its release, Starfield has frequently been compared and contrasted with its Hello Games’ sci-fi counterpart, so you should give No Man’s Sky a “No Man’s try” on Xbox Game Pass in order to see how Starfield stacks up against it.
To recap, the Fallout and Mass Effect franchises, as well as The Outer Worlds, Outer Wilds, and No Man’s Sky are all perfect pairings to help you get in the sci-fi state of mind for Starfield’s launch and won’t break the bank, since most can be enjoyed for free, with the help of a subscription to Xbox Game Pass.
For more on Starfield from Prima Games, check out the guide on how to get early access to Bethesda’s newest RPG.