In the huge universe of Starfield, there are many Factions vying for control and influence over space and the worlds within it - or simply trying to fulfil the aims of their group, whatever they may be.
While Starfield has not released yet, we do have some information available about the factions that will be in the game.
Major Factions are the largest and most powerful factions in Starfield, and typically play a major role in the story, or at least have a considerable impact on the game's lore. The Major factions we currently know about are listed below.
Constellation is the faction that the player will belong to upon the start of a new Starfield game. They are a group of space explorers who strive to uncover the mysteries of the universe.
Constellation are currently spending a lot of their time and resources tracking down various alien artefacts as a part of their quest to learn more about the world.
They have their base in New Atlantis on the planet of Jemison.
The Unitied Colonies is the largest and most powerful governing faction in Starfield, and controls the area of space where we start the game. Their capital is New Atlantis on the planet of Jemison.
The United Colonies were recently at war with the Freestar Collective, another major governing faction in Starfield who are purported to champion the liberty and freedom of their citizens. While the war has ended, it is very likely that tensions still remain, which could be something that impacts the story in Starfield.
The Freestar Collective is the second major governing faction in Starfield, and could be considered the main rival to the United Colonies. They are united by their common belief in the individual rights, freedoms and liberties of their citizens. Their capital is Akila City.
The Crimson Fleet
Based in the Kryx System, the Crimson Fleet is a Pirate faction that has extended its reach far beyond the vicinity of their base.
While it certainly seems likely that the Crimson Fleet will cause headaches for the player, they are not simply an "enemy faction", as it is expected that you will have the option to join them and potentially even become their leader eventually.
The Crimson Fleet Pirates wear red armour, skull shaped masks and promise death to anyone who leaves or otherwise betrays the faction.
Ryujin Industries is a large corporation based in the city of Neon. We have less information on them than some of the other Starfield factions, but it is expected that you'll have the option to join their ranks by applying for a job with them.
The Xenofresh Corporation is another coporate faction based in the city of Neon. The coporation is primarily responsible from Neon's transformation from a fishing outpost to a huge pleasure city.
Xenofresh began manufacturing a drug called Aurora from some of the fish that they were catching in Neon. Aurora caused such problems that it was later banned everywhere except the city of Neon, where the influence of Xenofresh is at its strongest.
It seems likely that their close proximity will mean that Ryujin Industries and Xenofresh Corporation will be rivals of some nature.
Minor Factions are generally smaller and less powerful than the Major Factions listed above. Therefore we know less information about them right now, and it's entirely possible that there will be more minor factions in Starfield that we're not aware of yet. Below are the minor factions that we do know about.
The Ecliptic Mercenaries
We don't know much about the Ecliptic Mercenaries and their potential relationship with the player. It's possible that they will simply be an enemy faction that hinders our progress, or they might instead have a more nuanced role, sometimes getting in our way, and sometimes appearing as a hired fighting force for factions who do not have their own military, such as the coporate factions.
Regardless of their alignment, the Ecliptic Mercenaries appear to be very well armed, and may be a formidable foe for whoever does happen to be on their bad side.
The Spacers might not even be an organized faction at all, but a collective term for social outcasts who live a violent lifestyle to get by.
In gameplay footage we have seen, Spacers simply appeared to be a low level enemy, so this is probably just an enemy faction who will populate some locations in the game.
House of Va'ruun
The House of Va'ruun were described as "fanatical religous zealots" by Bethesda. They worship a deity known as the Great Serpent.
The House of Va'ruun is expected to generally be an enemy faction in Starfield. However if you choose the Great Serpent as your religion during character creation, you may sometimes get a dialogue option that allows you to avoid combat with them.