Starfield Crimson Fleet faction guide

The Starfield Crimson Fleet faction are essentially space pirates, so here’s everything we know about them including who they are and where they’re based.

Starfield Crimson Fleet faction: talking to a pirate from the Crimson Fleet, he is wearing a metal face mask

What is the Starfield Crimson Fleet? Bethesda based the Crimson Fleet faction on the concept of space pirates, so if you consider the Raiders from Fallout 3 with a little bit more organization and some spaceships, you’re halfway there. Factions in Starfield are a core component of the space game, and the Crimson Raiders are one of the main foes.

Starfield factions will be integral when the Starfield release date finally arrives because depending on which ones you work with or fight against, those decisions will affect the entire game and which of the Starfield endings you wind up at. We’ve scoured through all the information Bethesda has released so far to put together this comprehensive guide to the Starfield Crimson Fleet faction, including who they are, their relationship with your Starfield companions, where they’re based, and what their overall goal is.

Starfield Crimson Fleet faction: Looking at a Crimson Fleet "Ghost" ship on Kreet

Who are the Crimson Fleet in Starfield?

According to Bethesda’s Instagram, the Crimson Fleet “are pirates who will stop at nothing to take what’s ‘theirs’”. Space pirates. You heard that right. The Crimson Fleet joins the ranks of the several known Starfield factions that have also been revealed, including one of the main governments of the Settled Systems, Freestar Collective, the mega-corp members of Ryujin Industries.

Structurally, the group is made of a loose group of pirate captains organizing their crew under a single banner. While we don’t know of any individual members, the Starfield Twitter account described Vladimir Sall, a member of the Starfield Constellation faction, as “a former Crimson Fleet pirate, with experience piloting ships in the far reaches of the Settled Systems”. He apparently helped Sarah recover the Centaurus Proclamation and aims to redeem himself from a past that he’s not particularly proud of.

With this in mind, the Crimson Fleet are seemingly the ‘bad guys’, representing one of the game’s enemy factions – probably not the only ones. In Starfield, you can identify members of the Crimson Fleet by their Jolly Roger emblem, red-tinged armor, and ghoulish face masks.

One of the Starfield Crimson Fleet space pirates standing in front of a ruined UC logo with graffiti that turns the logo into the word "sucks".

Crimson Fleet location

In the official gameplay reveal, the player can be seen stumbling across what appears to be a Crimson Fleet base on Kreet, the moon for one of the Starfield planets. However, their headquarters seems to be The Key, which is in the Kyrx System and is a former UC space station. According to the trailer, this encounter with the Crimson Fleet marks just one dangerous interaction with the space pirates as they attack and show off Starfield’s combat mechanics while they’re at it.

During a developer video, Into the Starfield: The Journey Begins, eagle-eyed players spotted a screen that was not blurred that divulged some more information about the Crimson Fleet’s location.

The screen says, “Pirates of the Crimson Fleet have extended far beyond the Kryx system, and have established footholds in the Sagan, Cheyenne, Lunara, and Narion systems.” This potentially hints at their whereabouts, though it doesn’t provide a definitive answer to their homeworld or base of operations, if they even have one.

A Starfield Crimson Fleet pirate hard at work at the gym doing some push ups. Weights are behind him and graffiti saying "Work Hard" with a skull instead of the O is on the wall.

Can you join the Crimson Fleet?

The cool thing about the Crimson Fleet is that depending on your choices while interacting with this faction, your gameplay experience will be driven down a certain path. During episode two of the behind-the-scenes series Made for Wanderers, Bethesda’s Todd Howard says, “What we’re doing with the pirates, the Crimson Fleet, as well, they’re not just this foe. We let the player join them.”

So, you decide to join up with the Crimson Fleet. But your decision doesn’t end there. The interactions you have with the faction can be good or bad. Ally or sabotage. Design director Emil Pagliarulo adds, “The cool thing about Crimson Fleet, what if you’re a good person and you want to be a good player, and you don’t want to play as a bad guy? You can side with the pirates, or you can report back to your superiors and be like a space cop type of thing. So, [we] let you be a cool person and still play with the bad guys.”

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Ultimately, the player can then decide how they interact with the Crimson Fleet and other factions seen throughout Starfield. Unfortunately, though, according to the developers, once you’ve joined the Crimson Fleet, the only way out is death.

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A Constellation Questions video (see above) shows us gameplay of a non-hostile interaction with the Crimson Fleet, where we can see the player persuading the pirate to walk away from the encounter peacefully and not try to seize their ship.

That’s everything we know so far about the Crimson Fleet. If you’re looking for more Starfield content, make sure you read our guide to all the Starfield cities, including Starfield New Atlantis, Starfield Neon, and Starfield Akila City. If that’s not enough, our new Starfield Database goes further, offering you daily news, searchable databanks, and even interactive tools.