Starfield isn’t just a Christmas game, it’s the ultimate festive nightmare

I can’t wait to see the looks on their goofy little faces.

As my red and white interstellar sleigh streaks across the starry sky towards Jemison, I stare out at the train of alien reindeer – headed up by an Aceles with a red nose – stretching out in front of my modded ship’s cockpit. My face is covered in bushy white hair and my portly form is draped in a red dress, because Starfield has surprisingly few non-piratey crimson outfits.

I’ve got a cargo hold chock full of presents and I’m ready to spread some festive cheer among the inhabitants of The Settled Systems. By God do they need it.

Getting to this point hasn’t been easy. First, I had to blow a lot of my ditzy space bandit’s hard earned credits on two things. The kind of plastic surgery required to turn a grizzled dogfighting and dungeon crawling veteran into a pudgy, playful-looking old geezer and the creation of a suitably merry supertanker with enough cargo space to carry all of the loot required to give every resident of each city a gift they could cherish.

With these done – the latter thanks to a bit of help from DerekM17X’s ‘Derretech’ mod – I was ready to commence phase two of Operation Festive Spaceprise. Knowing I needed an army of elves to help me accomplish the daunting tasks ahead, I decided to try cloning the Adoring Fan as many times as I could get away with, giving the original a gaggle of underlings to command from his new position of Elf-in-Chief. Sadly, I found that each clone I summoned refused to function like a standard follower. Instead, they behaved a bit like cats, perching atop the furniture of my ship’s cargo hold in weird poses and refusing to talk to me no matter how much attention I gave them.

Starborn Santa Claus is coming to town. | Image credit: VG247/Bethesda

So, plan B moved into force. The game’s very un-rowdy band of vanilla followers would have to be pressed into service. I chose the available members of Constellation to be the Fan’s lieutenants, and set off to find a suitable place to construct the outpost that would serve as my north pole among the nebulae – my lunar Lapland. Having ensured I had the right perks to build a habitable residence-come-sweatshop on the icy surface of Bardeen VI – in the far-flung Bardeen system – and brought enough resources, I got to work.

When I was done, I’d erected a white base on my chosen ridge, accompanied by a watchtower and ringed by machines to mine copper and water – the planet’s sole two native resources. Since solar and wind power weren’t options due to the world’s extreme enivroment, the joice for my mining and maufacturing equipment had to be provided by a number of helium-3 generators, each of which emitted a festive hum that drifted across the the planet’s frigid and desolate surface. Inside the main complex, I placed a litany of workbenches and bedding, accompnying these areas with a break room full of sofas, coffee machines and other amenties to help keep my defintely not slave labour happy.

Soon, we were up and running, gradually amassing a treasure trove of weapon and spacesuit mods, food and drugs, and a healthy stock of raw minerals. These would serve as our gifts to the joyless and beaten-down cosmic populace. I made the executive decision to improve this horde by raiding the nearby pirate and spacer gangs, looting their gear, and attaching the valuable modifications we’d made to each rife, helmet, and everything in between. I was redistributing the goodies from the kids on the naughty list, to those on the nice list, like a slightly fascist Robin Hood.

Starborn Santa running through some chunks.
Running up that hill (of Chunks). | Image credit: VG247/Bethesda

Once we’d built up a plentiful supply of toys, I stuffed as much as I could into the hold of my sleigh and took off for New Atlantis, my first destination, bringing along my top assitants as crew to help distribute the prezzies. I don’t know what the people of the United Colonies capital thought as they watched our bizarre craft touch down in the spaceport. I only hope it was merry. As soon as we’d arrived, I set about my deliveries. Since there were no chimneys to come down (steady, you), my original plan was to dispense the gift I though suited each NPC from my bulging inventory into theirs via a tried-and-tested Bethesda game staple – the sneaky reverse pickpocket.

Sadly, I’d forgotten that this feature is one of the things that doesn’t seem to have quite made it into Starfield, so I’d need to resort to other means. Given none of my subjects would accept a gift through dialogue, I resolved to follow them back to their place of residence or work station, and simply drop the gift off there. This was easier in some cases than others, with high-ranking military personnel for example proving difficult to cater to. Nevertheless, I persevered, making sure to sell some gifts to shopkeepers and deposit some in piles in places around the city where folks might congregate.

When I was done with New Atlantis, I headed back to Bardeen to restock, then went on present distribution runs to the likes of Akila City, Cydonia, and Neon, before stopping for a bit of R and R in the latter’s Astral Lounge. It was here, surrounded by a sea of bodies awkwardly swaying to the pounding techno, that I took a second to bask in the glory of a job well done.

Starborn Santa giving out free beer in Akila City.
How to become the galaxy’s most popular person, step one. | Image credit: VG247/Bethesda

I don’t know if the people of Starfield appreciated my gifts. Their faces remained stoic, unchanging, unmoving. Then again, I thought as I piloted by sleigh back to the galaxy’s frigid fringes, it doesn’t really matter. The game’s universe was already full of junk before I started my little quest, junk which other people had probably had plenty of fun distributing.

Maybe it’s that joy, the warm feeling you get from knowing that you’ve played a part in helping make something nice happen, that really matters.

Maybe that’s the true meaning of Christmas, I thought – as my wildly impractical craft exploded into a million pieces amid a barrage of House Varuun laser fire.

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