It's not all Nier Automata and sci-fi manga, what really shaped Stellar Blade was a real-life taxi driver strike that left an impression on the RPG's director

A Stellar Blade looks towards the camera
(Image credit: ShiftUp)

Arguably the biggest inspiration behind the upcoming PS5 action RPG Stellar Blade isn't the gameplay of Nier Automata or the '90s vibes of classic sci-fi manga Gunnm, but an event that left director Kim Hyung Tae lingering in thought. 

Speaking to PlayStation.Blog, Kim says witnessing taxi drivers on strike inspired him to delve into what defines us as humans for Stellar Blade's core theme. 

"The strike erupted when technologies for self-driving cars began advancing, almost hinting at the implementation of autonomous cars in the near future," he says. "This instilled fear among taxi drivers that these technologies would eventually take over and replace their jobs. 

"As I watched them on strike, I asked myself what I would do if this were to happen to me, if one day humans were entirely replaced by something non-human. This is where the theme for Stellar Blade originates. Having said that, the game's focus should not be on that; we tried to create an action-adventure game that players can enjoy as they follow Eve's story."

Stellar Blade demo

(Image credit: Shift Up)

Elsewhere in the interview, Kim delves into Stellar Blade's '80s and '90s sci-fi aesthetic, mentioning that Yukito Kishiro's manga Gunnm stands taller than others regarding inspiration, which you may recognize if you've seen its movie adaptation Alita: Battle Angel.

Gameplay is another topic that rears its head. Kim has previously mentioned Sekiro, Bayonetta, and especially Nier Automata as inspirations, though here he adds that the goal is to create something accessible that still requires thought – not just button mashing. 

"We designed the game so everyone can enjoy the action in Steller Blade," Kim says. "But we don't want it to be a game where players simply attack the enemies aggressively and perform combos against them. It's important that players observe the enemies' movements closely and grasp the combat flow to respond appropriately."

Also, Stellar Blade is launching with three performance modes to help you get the most out of the PS5 hack and slasher, with the most eye-catching option ensuring the game runs at 1440p and 60fps. For Kim, "frame rate is one of the most important factors for action games." As such, you're getting three modes to support just that – Performance, Balanced, and Resolution Mode. If you're precious about framerate, performance mode supports gameplay at 1440p and 60fps, whereas balanced mode shoots for 50-to-60fps at 4K resolution. 

Technical director Lee Dong Gi adds that Resolution Mode is the way to go for "those who want to enjoy the beautiful graphics," as it performs at 30fps for 4K resolution. "We hope everyone will select the mode that best suits them to maximize their experience," he concludes. 

While Stellar Blade isn't due to release until later this month on April 26, the demo offers a promising glimpse regarding performance, drawing high praise in tech analysis for excellent 60 FPS performance and 4K resolution modes. 

Stellar Blade director recommends players make Eve wear actual clothes "as much as possible" in the action RPG, instead of the NSFW' Skin Suit.'

Deputy News Editor

Iain joins the GamesRadar team as Deputy News Editor following stints at PCGamesN and PocketGamer.Biz, with some freelance for Kotaku UK, RockPaperShotgun, and VG24/7 thrown in for good measure. When not helping Ali run the news team, he can be found digging into communities for stories – the sillier the better. When he isn’t pillaging the depths of Final Fantasy 14 for a swanky new hat, you’ll find him amassing an army of Pokemon plushies.