Today’s Xbox Games Showcase was a nice, healthy dose of what’s on the horizon for Team Green (and maybe a few other platforms?). In the middle of it all starfieldBethesda’s enormous space RPG with over 1,000 planets, got a nice trailer for its upcoming expansion, Shattered Space and from the looks of it, it’s clear this is the kinda style starfield desperately needs.

Starfield: Shattered Space – Official Trailer – Xbox Games Showcase 2024

As I said in my review of starfield, Bethesda’s big ol’ space RPG was “a galaxy in search of an identity.” Impressive in its scope, and certainly capable of some very pretty space views, starfield really fails to overcome much of its vanilla, paint-by-numbers approach to forecasting humanity’s future among the stars. Sometimes a low-fantasy science fiction story works well, but as I said last year, starfield really could’ve stood to dazzle us a bit more:

[Starfield] draws more on the “grounded” sci-fi of material like Star Trek and The Expanse than it does the high space fantasy of Star Wars and Destiny, which isn’t inherently bad, of course. However, it does so in a way that emphasizes their utilitarian view of the future while largely overlooking the elements that make them compelling. Just a dash of space opera fun could have gone a long way in livening up the game’s tone.

One of the facts that didn’t get a whole lotta love in starfield was its very creepy, reclusive, and religiously zealous House Va’ruun faction. Although they’d appear here and there in the main story and side quests, it was rarely enough—especially as they were one of the only interesting factions in the game. Warping to a new star system and hearing Va’ruun ships openly broadcasting a prayer to the enigmatic “Great Serpent” was not only creepy, it offered up a mystery that, sadly, the base game doesn’t let you chase.

Screenshot: Bethesda/Kotaku

Fortunately, Shattered Space looks like it will let us chase that mystery, adding in some Dead Space or Event Horizon vibes to its otherwise very vanilla lore. The new trailer has way more color going for it first of all, with views that would look more at home in Destiny than what we saw in starfield. But even the voiceovers in the trailer deliver a satisfying amount of spookiness that makes me want to learn more about these people and what’s in store in this expansion:

Speaker 1: Hold very still and choose your words carefully. They will determine how long you live. You trespass in the home of House Va’ruun. Your fate will be decided by the Great Serpent.

Speaker 2: Can you feel its embrace encircling your heart? Constricting until there is no more you…Only us.

As anyone who’s played a Dark Brotherhood quest from The Elder Scrolls can tell you, Bethesda RPGs are often particularly compelling when they’re dipping into the creepy side of things. fallout‘s had its share of that as well with “The Family,” a group of people living as vampires beneath the surface of Fallout 3‘s map. As with the Dark Brotherhood, having some darkness to roleplay with and immerse yourself into proved to be a lot of fun. Hopefully that will be true of starfield as well.

Shattered Space launches later in 2024, so time will tell if this expansion gives starfield some serious character in its colossal, sometimes too empty and drab galaxy.