Starfield vs. Star Citizen: What Are the Differences? – Explained

One space to rule them all!

Starfield vs Star Citizen

From the various pieces of Starfield gameplay footage revealed, alongside the fact that the game is set in a massive universe, some have started comparing it to Star Citizen. While both are set in space, the two games vary wildly. For starters, Starfield is a Space RPG. Star Citizen is a Space Sim. Let’s dive in further to see how Starfield vs. Star Citizen compares!

How Do Starfield and Star Citizen Compare?

The upcoming Starfield promises to be one of the most expansive space-faring role-playing games on the market today. But it’s not without its detractors. Many sit idly by comparing the game to others, like Star Citizen and No Man’s Sky. The most significant comparison is Starfield vs. Star Citizen, both space-centric titles with science-fiction flare, but that’s where the comparisons end.


Starfield Exploring Barren Planets
Image via Bethesda Game Studios

As the first brand-new universe from Bethesda Game Studios in more than 25 years, everyone is rightfully excited for Starfield. It’s a next-generation role-playing game set in a bustling universe with over 1,000 planets for us to explore, mine, and build outposts on.

But at its core, this is a Bethesda RPG. Even the developers have compared it more akin to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion than more modern entries in the genre.

Players will carefully handcraft a character with unique traits, skills, and appearances, then delve into an ever-evolving and expansive story that features numerous factions, NPCs, cities, barren planets, hospitable planets, base-building, ship-building, robot companions, a romance system, and everything else that makes a captivating role-playing game.

Star Citizen

Star Citizen Spaceship Flight
Image via Cloud Imperium Games

On the other hand, we have Star Citizen. It is one of the most grandiose space sim games today. But it’s also marred in controversy. Development is ongoing, even after over a decade, and the game has become one of the most funded titles in history. But it’s popular because of its promise.

Star Citizen aims to create a living and growing universe with explorable planets, exciting characters, and factions to interact with. Can you see the similarities already?

At its core, Star Citizen remains a simulation. While players can navigate space, including planets, moons, and space stations, with their ship and crew, the gameplay loop revolves around deep and often complex mechanics, like asteroid mining and ship salvaging, instead of building a character and playing a part in stories.

Related: Starfield Marika Boros Companion Guide – How to Recruit & Skills

The Important Differences Between Starfield and Star Citizen

While the overall gameplay mechanics and style differ the most, there are plenty of other significant differences between Starfield and Star Citizen.

Starfield Planet Exploration
Image via Bethesda Game Studios


The most significant difference between the two space-based games is arguably the most important: the gameplay. Star Citizen is the go-to space flight simulator, with deep and occasionally confusing systems designed to make flying a virtual spaceship feel realistic.

On the other hand, Starfield remains an adventure role-playing game, like all other Bethesda Game Studios titles, with a deep narrative and complex characters to interact with. It’s an open world filled with carefully curated quests and events, unlike Star Citizen, which requires player input for stories and objectives.


The second most prominent difference between Starfield and Star Citizen is how their players enjoy the two.

Star Citizen is a multiplayer game that dreams of becoming a full-blown MMO focusing on player interaction. Those crew must be other players if you want a large spaceship with multiple crew slots. When you interact with another person deep in the mines of a lone moon, it’s another player and not an NPC.

Conversely, Starfield is an entirely single-player experience. Everyone you meet is an NPC; no cooperative or PvP gameplay can be found in this space version.


Lastly, let’s talk loot!

As a role-playing game, Starfield has a strong focus on loot mechanics. You’ll find everything in the world, from sandwiches hoarded by developers to firearms hidden by space pirates. You can pick up most items, sell them, interact with them, or keep them yourself.

In Star Citizen, however, you can only loot what you mine, trade, or salvage. The loot system involves earning credits by taking on jobs and player-driven objectives.

While there are a few similarities between Starfield and Star Citizen, there are enough differences to satiate fans of either genre. They both have their place in space and our game libraries!

If you enjoyed this look at Starfield from Prima Games, check out Is Starfield Coming to Game Pass? – Answered.

About the Author

Brandon Morgan

From Company of Heroes to DayZ, Brandon immerses himself wholly in video game worlds, then sits down to write about them. Since 2012, Brandon has focused on providing top-tier video game guides of his favorite games and the hottest releases. The more lore and immersion in the game, the better!