Game Theory

Starfield Could Steal the Most Controversial Mass Effect Mechanic

Long live the Mako.

Starfield ship landed on a planet

Bethesda’s next big-budget RPG Starfield is less than six months away from being released, but we still know relatively about what to expect. While several trailers and gameplay segments have been shown off for Starfield, the sci-fi adventure is still the subject of many fan theories seeking to explain the game's mechanics. The latest suggests Starfield could adopt one of the most derided mechanics from Mass Effect — a land vehicle.

Users on Reddit have focused on the presence of a land rover in several shots of the many Starfield trailers. With the knowledge that the game will involve plenty of traversal in space, it will also involve plenty of exploring terrestrial bodies. (There will be more than 1,000 planets to discover after all.) Presumably, Bethesda doesn’t want to make you walk around all these planets Déath Stranding style, so vehicles would be provided in some form.

Could these mysterious vehicles help speed up land traversal in Starfield?

Microsoft / Redditt user undead_meal

The first comparison that comes to mind is from the Mass Effect series, the de facto king of sci-fi games. The original Mass Effect included a land rover called the Mako that lets you drive around the galaxy’s many planets. The only problem is that it was terrible. The driving was messy and extremely hard to control which made even a short traversal between mission objectives turn into aggravating game time. This was later addressed with a series of tweaks to the Mako in the Mass Effect Legendary Edition.

Mass Effect: Andromeda, the black sheep of the bunch, doubled down on land rover exploration with massive open planets that you would need to spend way too much time traversing in your rover. While controls were better than the Mako, traveling around the game’s worlds still felt uninspired. Yet, Starfield could still follow suit.

The land rover-like vehicle seen in the many trailers would make sense for Starfield. After all, what other option do you have for making traversal around large planets easier? Ships won’t be able to fly from space to planetary surfaces so something has to fill the void of offering speedy exploration. Although another possibility is that this won’t be a player-controlled vehicle, but rather a sort of companion.

Robot companions have already been revealed for Starfield.


Bethesda RPGs having companions you can recruit who help you out in combat and throughout exploration is a mainstay. For Starfield, we know one type of companion you can have are robotic aids. We haven’t seen extensive footage of these but we know they exist. Hypothetically they can fill all sorts of roles from combat to exploration sherpa. Which is possibly what the land rover seen in trailers is. A walking buddy to carry your stuff.

The design of the rover does seem to back this idea up as it is not a traditional vehicle. There is no clear cockpit or place for a driver to sit. Rather it has a big box in the center. With survival, crafting, and collecting resources from planets all being major aspects of Starfield it would definitely be helpful to have a robot companion that you could unload the large amounts of resources you are likely to collect during your planetary travels.

Of course, it is also possible that both theories are true! In a game that promises to be as expansive as Starfield, it isn’t hard to imagine that land vehicles and storage robot companions both exist alongside each other and we just haven’t seen it all in action. Whatever the final purpose of this mysterious rover is, it will surely be important in your journey amongst the stars come September 6, 2023 when Starfield releases.

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