Starfield lore & timeline explained

Stephanie Zucarelli
Starfield Artifact

Starfield has extensive lore that fully explains how humanity started conquering the universe and what happened between factions. Here’s everything you should know about Starfield’s lore and timeline.

Starfield has over 1000 planets to explore but also several mysteries that are hidden across its galaxy. From factions to colonies and organized societies, there’s plenty to discover while traveling from one space station to the other.

Bethesda’s galactic RPG comes with a rich backstory and lore that reveals what’s happening at the moment players are introduced to the universe. Here’s everything you need to know about Starfied’s lore and timeline.

Keep in mind that there are spoilers related to Starfield’s story ahead.

Does Starfield have a main story?

Yes, Starfield has a main story that branches out to different types of endings. However, all players start Starfield’s main story with their character being trained by a mining company called Argus Extractor.

Starfield’s first mission is called “One Small Step,” which will require players to take a strange object that has been found down a mine. When players try to interact with it, the object sends mysterious visions about the universe and then knocks them out.

After waking up, the Argus Extractor team will meet Barrett and will hand them over the strange object. This is the first time players interact with an NPC member of the Constellation faction, a division that studies the strange powers of Artifacts.

Starfield's Constellation with the Artifact
The Constellation group swore to keep exploring the mysteries of the universe.

While exploring the world of Starfield, players will have to investigate the mystery behind the different Artifacts found (which are created by unknown entities) and what is happening with the anomalies suddenly occurring across the universe.

There are five major factions in Starfield, and all of them have an invested interest in Artifacts. They are called Constellation, United Colonies, Freestar Collective, Ryujin Industries, and Crimson Fleet. Like most Bethesda games, there’s some type of political intrigue that connects all these factions, which are of course interested in gathering as much Artifacts as they can.

Starfield: What are the Settled Systems?

The Settled Systems are the main setting of Starfield, which consists of a couple of colonized star systems in the Milky Way galaxy.

These systems extend about fifty light years from Sol, the location of Earth in Starfield. The game proposes that Earth is the homeworld of humanity, which expanded to Mars in 2050 and then to the Alpha Centauri system in 2156.

Starfield: What is Constellation?

Constellation is a major space exploration organization in Starfield, founded in 2275 by Sebastian Banks. Starfield’s main campaign takes place in 2330, over 50 years after Constellation was created. The faction has become a shadow of its former glory, and just a few select people are still working for them.

Starfield's Constellation reunion
Constellation is a group of people that studies the mysteries of Artifacts.

Starfield: What is the Freestar Collective?

The Freestar Collective is one of two interstellar governments in Starfield. It was established in 2189, one year after Solomon Coe (founder of Akila City) invited the Volii system to form an alliance with the Cheyenne system.

This Collective became hostile towards the United Colonies after an altercation with the Narion system, which persisted until 2216 when both sides signed the Treaty of Narion and Narion was recognized as a Freestar member system.

A Freestar Collective city
You choose which faction you’d like to join in Starfield.

Starfield: What are the United Colonies?

The United Colonies (abbreviated as U.C.) is one of two interstellar governments in Starfield. Its republic was established in 2159, when humans first arrived in Alpha Centauri. The U.C. controls the star systems Alpha Centauri, Sol, and Wolf. The UC’s capital is the city of New Atlantis on planet Jemison in the Alpha Centauri system.

After signing the Treaty of Narion to end the war with the Freestar Collective, tensions resurfaced in 2308, almost 22 years before Starfield’s main campaign starts. The U.C. insisted that the Treaty of Narion should prohibit Freestar from claiming a fourth star system, but when diplomatic talks failed, the republic besieged Freestar’s colony on planet Vesta and started the Colony War, which lasted 19 years.

New Atlantis in Starfield
The capital of the United Colonies is New Atlantis.

Starfield: Who is behind Ryujin Industries?

Ryujin Industries is a major corporation in Starfield that players can work for. The company is led by CEO Masako Imada and its headquarters are in the Ryujin Tower on the planet Neon.

Ryujin Industries has a number of subsidiaries that produce products such as drones, weapons, and ship manufacturing.

There’s not much information about Ryujin Industries, although it is known that they hold a considerable amount of influence in both major galactic territories.

starfield character in future neon city
Ryujin Industries headquarters are on the planet Neon.

Starfield: What is the Crimson Fleet?

The Crimson Fleet is a confederation of individual pirate captains, organized under the same banner. They expanded beyond the Kryx system and established bases in Sagan, Cheyenne, Lunara, and Narion.

Its members are considered criminals to both the Freestar Collective and the United Colonies. They took over an abandoned U.C. maximum security prison, called The Lock, and a star station called The Key as a base of operations.

The Key in Starfield
The Key is the Crimson Fleet’s headquarters in Starfield.

Starfield official timeline

According to Bethesda, this is Starfield’s official timeline:

  • 2050: Humans first arrive on Mars. By 2100, humans are living in space.
  • 2156: Humans arrive at Alpha Centauri (4.37 light years away from Earth).
  • 2159: The United Colonies are established.
  • 2160: New Atlantis is found and becomes the official capital city of the United Colonies in 2161.
  • 2167: Cheyenne is settled by Solomon Coe, who founded its first settlement, Akila City.
  • 2188: Coe invites Volii to join Cheyenne in a new alliance – the Freestar Collective. The Freestar Collective is officially formed in 2189.
  • 2194: The United Colonies positions the star station called the Clinic in orbit around Deepala in the Narion system. The unaffiliated peoples of the Narion system see this as a UC attempt to expand their borders and demand the UC remove the Clinic. When the UC refused, the people of Narion voted to join the Freestar Collective, which mobilized to protect the system in 2195.
  • 2196: In response to Freestar mobilization, the UC moves a fleet into the Narion system and Freestar responds in kind. The Narion War begins.
Space exploration in Starfield
There were two major wars that affected diplomatic relationships between factions in Starfield.
  • 2216: The Narion War drags on as public sentiment sours. Finally, the Treaty of Narion was signed by the UC and Freestar Collective in 2216, ending the conflict. The term ‘Settled Systems’ is formalized in the treaty.
  • 2221: The Freestar Rangers are founded as an elite protective and investigative force dedicated to serving all citizens of the Freestar Collective.
  • 2275: Constellation is formed by Sebastian Banks. Original members include Chloe Bao, accomplished physicist; Aja Mamasa, the youngest member and Sebastian’s protégé; Darius Andris, botanist and specialist in xeno-flora; Bernadette Laurent, wealthy heiress and adventurer; Everado Gil, former smuggler; and Kadri Toma, biologist and physician. The Lodge is built in New Atlantis to serve the needs and people of Constellation for generations to come.
  • 2305: Barrett joins Constellation.
  • 2307: The Freestar Collective begins farming on the planet of Vesta in the Lunara system. By 2308 the United Colonies claims that by establishing a colony in a fourth star system, the Freestar Collective has violated the Treaty of Narion. Diplomatic talks break down and the UC lays siege to Vesta, killing anyone who stayed behind (or was brought in) to defend it. The Colony War officially begins.
  • 2310: Constellation comes into possession of their first Artifact and tucks it away in the Constellation archives.
  • 2311: After several years of conflict, the Colony War effectively comes to an end with the Battle of Cheyenne as a flotilla of civilian and military Freestar Collective ships takes down the major ships of the UC Navy using hit-and-run tactics.
  • 2315: The UC Vanguard is founded as part of a UC response to the Freestar Collective’s use of civilian ships during the Colony War. The Vanguard is the UC’s own civilian navy, relying on civilians using their own ships.
The Den in Starfield
There are several smaller factions that usually side either with the Freestar Collective or the U.C.
  • 2319: Sarah Morgan becomes the youngest head of the UC Navigator Corps, though it’s a short-lived position as the division is shut down in 2320. Cast adrift, but still eager to put her training to good use, Morgan joins Constellation.
  • 2321: Walter Stroud – co-owner of Stroud-Ecklund, one of the Settled Systems’ premier starship manufacturers – joins Constellation and becomes its primary financial backer.
  • 2322: Former Crimson Fleet pirate Vladimir Sall joins Constellation.
  • 2325: Sarah Morgan becomes acting Chair of Constellation.
  • 2325: Theologian Matteo Khatri joins Constellation.
  • 2326: Barrett finds the original Artifact in the Constellation archives and knows it must be special.
  • 2327: Freestar Ranger Sam Coe and his daughter Cora join Constellation.
  • 2328: Andreja joins Constellation.
  • 2328: Barrett convinces Constellation to purchase Starstation L-868 and modify it to become a deep space scanner, nicknamed ‘The Eye’.
  • 2330: Starfield’s main campaign starts.

That’s all you need to know about Starfield’s lore. If you want to know more about Bethesda’s latest RPG, you can check our guides and articles below:

Starfield: How to fix stuttering & low FPS issues on PCAll Starfield console commands: All cheat codes  | Does Starfield have New Game Plus? | Is Starfield on Steam Deck? | Will Starfield have DLC & story expansions? | Starfield Outposts explained: How to build bases | Every religion in Starfield explained | Starfield plants explained: All types & how to scan | Who is the Adoring Fan in Starfield? 

About The Author

Stephanie is a Games Writer at CharlieIntel. After graduating as a journalist, she started working as a tech writer for Infobae, Channel 9, and Rolling Stone. She's currently focused on covering Diablo 4, Baldur's Gate 3 and Fortnite, but can't resist anything related to The Sims 4 and Stardew Valley. You can contact her at [email protected].