A Starfield Q&A has dropped to celebrate the RPG's pre-launch gold status, first taking place in a Discord server, and later kindly transcribed by user ninjabell on the Starfield subreddit. While it has some juicy revelations, such as the fact there'll be no full pacifist runs, I'm far more fascinated by its brief look into the game's main three religions.
While all existing modern-day religions are part of Todd Howard's space boogaloo, design director Emil Pagliarulo highlighted three new additions to the game's canon. There's the Sanctum Universum, a group who think God is waiting to be found in the universe, and The Enlightened, atheists who do community outreach programs.
These pale in comparison, however, to House Va'ruun, the only one of Starfield's neo-religions I have any time for. They worship a deity called the Great Serpent, who they believe will one day encircle the universe.
"Ho boy," writes Pagliarulo, before getting into the cult's origins: "After [a grav jump on a ship], one of the passengers claims he spent that time communing with a celestial entity known as the Great Serpent … he brought back a mandate, which is basically, 'get onboard, or be devoured when the Great Serpent encircles the universe.'"
This isn't the first we've heard about the Great Serpent, either. About a year ago, Bethesda gave gamers a look at character customisation. One of the starting traits shown was the "Serpent's Embrace", which has one of the wildest descriptions for an RPG trait I've ever seen.
"You grew up worshipping the Great Serpent. Grav jumping provides a temporary boost to health and endurance, but health and endurance are lowered if you don't continue jumping regularly - like an addiction."
Granted, this is from a year ago, and it's not clear whether that'll be the actual description in the final game. But if my options in Starfield are 'we think there's a god', 'we don't think there's a god', and 'there's a serpent who will one day eat the universe, and we grow closer to it by doing sick backflips in low grav', I know which one I'm choosing. Mind, 'Grav jumping' could just refer to Starfield's FTL-equivalent, but I'm deciding to stay wilfully ignorant because the alternative is far cooler.
The best thing is, the idea of a snake encircling the universe has its roots in real-world Norse myth—Jörmungandr, known as the World Serpent, is a big worm that snakes around the whole of Midgard to bite his own tail. It's prophesied that, during Ragnarök, Jörmungandr will let go of his tail and mess everything up. Thor kills him, but not before he gets a good bite in, killing the god of thunder after he walks nine paces, and heralding the end-times.
So, to summarise: Starfield will have a jump-happy space viking death cult that worships their god by doing cool air tricks in low-grav. Sign me up, Todd. I'm ready to welcome the Great Serpent into my life.