Each Starfield background explained

Here are details about every Starfield background we’ve spotted so far, from bio entries to all of the starting skills you get when you begin your adventure

Starfield backgrounds: a male character with shoulder-length black hair, wearing a waistcoat with a yellow sash.

Want to know which Starfield background to choose? As you create your character in this massive space game, your origin story is one of the many options you have to pick. Each background has a short bio detailing what kind of person you are and three starting Starfield skills to set you on your way.

Your Starfield background also affects how NPCs see you, from your Starfield companions to each of the many Starfield factions across the star system in this massive open-world game. Some may act friendly towards you or be reassured that a mission will be successful because of your past, while others may be more hostile if they learn about the company you used to keep.

According to game director Todd Howard, there are 20 backgrounds in total. Currently, we know about 16 of them and have details for five. So while we continue the agonising wait for the Starfield release date, and our chance to play Starfield on Xbox Game Pass, let’s dive into all of the currently revealed Starfield backgrounds and bio entries, as well as which starting skills each of them have.

Here is every Starfield background we’ve seen so far:

  • Beast Hunter
  • Bouncer
  • Bounty Hunter
  • Chef
  • Combat Medic
  • Cyber Runner
  • Cyberneticist
  • Diplomat
  • Explorer
  • Gangster
  • Homesteader
  • Industrialist
  • Long Hauler
  • Pilgrim
  • Professor
  • Ronin

Out of the 16 Starfield backgrounds shown by Bethesda, the trailer only shows details for about five of them.

Starfield backgrounds: the character creation screen showing the Cyber Runner background, including all three starting skills and a female astronaut.

Chef

Bio entry

While the unrefined masses scarfed down Chunks by the shipload, you catered to those with a more… discerning palate. In your kitchen, countless alien species became true culinary masterpieces.

Starting skills

  • Gastronomy – you can craft speciality food and drinks, and research additional recipes at a Research Lab
  • Dueling – you do 10% more damage with melee weapons
  • Wellness – gain 30 points in maximum health

Combat Medic

Bio entry

Leave it to human beings to fight over something as infinite as outer space. That’s where you come in. You’ve never been afraid to take on the enemy… but you’d much rather take care of your friends.

Starting skills

  • Pistol Certification – you do 10% more damage with pistols
  • Medicine – Med Packs heal 10% more
  • Weight Lifting – increase your total carrying capacity by 10 kilograms

Cyber Runner

Bio entry

From Neon to New Atlantis, the megacorps stand as monuments to power, prestige and profit. You’ve worked both for and against them, on the inside and out, often sacrificing conscience for credits.

Starting skills

  • Pistol Certification – you do 10% more damage with pistols
  • Security – you can attempt to hack Advanced locks, and bank two auto attempts
  • Persuasion – gain an increased chance of success in speech challenges

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Cyberneticist

Bio entry

Robots? Mere toys. Neuroamps? Good for parlor tricks. The Colony War may have made implants and upgrades available to veterans, but you once saw a greater future. Humans and machines, as one.

Starting skills

  • Medicine – Med Packs heal 10% more
  • Robotics – you deal 10% more damage to Robots and Turrets
  • Lasers – you deal 10% more damage with laser weapons

Diplomat

Bio entry

The wars are over. Peace now reigns the Settled Systems. But only because there are those quietly fighting to keep it. Because of you, agreements were signed, words were heeded… lives were spared.

Starting skills

  • Persuasion – gain an increased chance of success on speech challenges
  • Diplomacy – you can force a target NPC at or below your level to stop fighting for a while
  • Bargaining – buy items for 5% less and sell them for 10% more

How Starfield backgrounds work

Once you choose your Starfield background, there is no way to change it. It’s a part of your character’s origin story and a good indicator of the person you were before the start of the game. In addition to giving you three skills, there are times when your background affects how a character will interact with you, although it’s not yet known how universal this will be.

During the Starfield gameplay reveal at Summer Game Fest, we see an example where a character with the Diplomat background talks with an NPC, who comments that “having a way with words could be useful.” But, of course, characters can act negatively as well; perhaps an NPC irrationally hates your culinary skills because you selected the Chef background, or someone accuses you of stealing their life savings because they discover you’re a Cyber Runner.

And there you have it, everything we know about each Starfield background revealed so far. They’re not the only way you can customise your character, though. You can also pick up to three Starfield traits to give your adventurer unique abilities that may have crucial drawbacks. One thing we hope is that Starfield mods will allow creators to add even more backgrounds, traits, and maybe even Starfield guns, taking inspiration from the very best Skyrim mods and Fallout 4 mods the community has to offer.

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