Bethesda based the Starfield Crimson Fleet faction on the concept of space pirates, so if you consider the Raiders from Fallout 3 with a little bit more organisation and some spaceships, you’re halfway there. Factions in Starfield are a core component of the space game, and the Crimson Raiders seem like they’ll be one of the main foes.
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. 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, where they’re based, and what their goal is.
Who are the Crimson Fleet?
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, and the main faction of Constellation.
When it comes to the Crimson Fleet though, they are seemingly the ‘bad guys’, representing one of the game’s enemy factions – probably not the only ones. In Starfield, members of the Crimson Fleet can be identified by their use of the Jolly Roger emblem, red-tinged armour, and ghoulish face masks.
Where are the Crimson Fleet based?
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. Whether this is the faction’s home remains unclear. 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 whilst 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 appears to say, “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.
Can you join the Crimson Fleet?
The cool thing about the Crimson Fleet appears to be that, depending on the choices you make 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.
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 to try and 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 New Atlantis, Neon, and Akila City.