Should You Side With UC SysDef or the Crimson Fleet in Starfield?

Freedom to pillage or tranquility and safety for the galaxy, it's your choice!

by J.R. Waugh
Starfield UC SysDef or Crimson Fleet
Image: Attack of the Fanboy

Some side quests are destined to shine greater than the main quest itself. Much like the Blood Baron’s “Family Matters” quest in The Witcher 3, Starfield has some truly fantastic stories in its universe that deserve exposure. They’re more than enough proof that you should enjoy the game’s many features before powering through the main story, even with knowing there’s a New Game+. In one of the longest questlines in the game, you’re given a pretty significant choice: Should You side with UC SysDef or the Crimson Fleet in Starfield?

Should You Side With UC SysDef at The Vigilant or the Crimson Fleet at The Key in Starfield?

Neither the Crimson Fleet nor UC SysDef offers unique items as rewards for completing their questline in Starfield, and it’s up to a matter of preference. While each side requires you to basically gun down almost the entire enemy faction, unless you can persuade 1 or 2 members to come peacefully, you get the exact same rewards.

Related: A Legacy Forged: Should You Lie or Tell the Cabinet About [SPOILERS] in Starfield?

For completing this questline, you get 250,000 credits and a modified epilogue when you beat the main quest.

When Do You Have to Choose Between UC SysDef and the Crimson Fleet?

You can complete the quest line where you largely infiltrate the Crimson Fleet while appeasing SysDef and feeding them evidence, but the true choice occurs in the “Eye of the Storm” mission. You must choose to fly to either faction’s hub to choose their side (UC Vigilance for SysDef, or The Key for Crimson Fleet) and give them Kryx’s Legacy. Doing so sends you on a series of space battles culminating with you capturing your enemy’s base in a pretty epic battle in “Legacy’s End”!

Be warned: we’re about to discuss massive spoilers of the game’s ending next!

[SPOILERS] What Do The Endings Look Like if You Choose UC SysDef or Crimson Fleet in Starfield?

The endings are similar and brief but have long-lasting implications for the galaxy. If you choose UC SysDef, it represents a triumph of order over greed, while suggesting the UC’s presence might become more prominent in the galaxy, for better or for worse. Choosing the Crimson Fleet makes them a bona fide threat to other factions in the galaxy, but persistently threatened by their own infighting and internal distrust.

  • Starfield-UC-SysDef-or-Crimson-Fleet-Ikande-Ending
  • Starfield-UC-SysDef-or-Crimson-Fleet-Delgado-Ending

Either way, each choice requires you to gun down a lot of named characters, some of whom you’ll grow close to. While I originally chose SysDef, I noticed that I grew close to a lot of Crimson Fleet characters, and taking them down was rough, so talking down Shinya and Delgado was at least some modest comfort. You can do the same for Commander Ikande too, so keep your persuasion skill handy!

- This article was updated on September 11th, 2023

About The Author

J.R. is a content creator with AOTF and has been covering gaming and entertainment in the industry since 2022. Along with a B.A. in History from the University of Cincinnati, he has studied at the University of Birmingham, UK, and part of his M.A. at the University of Waterloo. You'll find J.R. particularly at home writing about the hottest manga and anime. He is highly passionate about horror, strategy, and RPGs, and anything about Star Trek or LOTR. When not ranting about fan theories or writing guides, J.R. also manages his local movie theater.