Get to know what inspired the Stellar Blade’s creation, a very profound story that questions humanity’s future—told by developers themselves!

Sony and PlayStation released a series about Stellar Blade's developer team, Shift Up, to tell the behind the scenes of their most recent game. The number of episodes is not public yet, but episode one gave us a brief idea of what's coming for the next one. In this opening episode called Stellar Blade - The Journey, the team talked briefly about the following topics:

  • The real life that event triggered the idea of making Stellar Blade
  • The story's resume and character description
  • The importance of costumes
  • Challenges Shift Up faced in South Korea
  • Monster creation: Working with Jang Hee-cheol

The seven-minute Stellar Blade - The Journey video does not do justice to these topics, but introduces the audience to them. For the next releases, it's very likely that some of them will have an episode of their own.

What's the story behind Stellar Blade's creation?

It all started during a taxi driver strike going on in South Korea. Kim Hyung Tae, Shift Up's CEO, said that this situation made him question the future. "It's a job that will be replaced by artificial intelligence", he says. This poses the question: Is his job also going to be replaced by AI? How many jobs and what's humanity's future?

Stellar Blade's developers didn't want to spoil too much of the game's story, but they said this is "a story about humanity". A game that tries to answer the question of "What is humanity?" during a post-apocalyptic era.

Kim Hyung Tae - Stellar Blade Game DirectorJiyeon Lee - Stellar Blade Level Designerimage 3image 4Hyung Min Lee - Systems Design Lead for Stellar Blade

From clay to slay: A monster creation tale

Monsters in Stellar Blade are Jang Hee-cheol's creations. He's the same designer that made the creature for the 2006 movie "The Host". For this movie, the creature was born from a marine animal that was infected by toxic chemicals.

Screenshot from the 2006 movie "The Host"image 2image 3image 4image 5

In "The Journey", Shift Up's developers share how Jang Hee-cheol's experience helped them evolve the game. The monster design avoids the human form, thus making them create "discomfort due to fundamental differences in appearance".

Jang Hee-cheol told the team that they had to make models in clay before shaping the 3D renders. This gave them a better idea on how proportions work, finally leading to a more artistic, yet disturbing result for the Naytiba (the monster's race in Stellar blade).

image 1image 2Stellar Blade monsters were first clay modelsimage 4Designs for Stellar Blade monstersimage 6

Before "The Journey", Shift Up's monster designer did a personal interview for the PlayStation blog. There, he said that "something that’s human but different, that’s more terrifying than just an ugly lump." Even though the origin of the Naytiba is still a mystery, we know they live on the Earth. This could mean not an invasion, but a mutation of the human race.

The challenges of making Stellar Blade in South Korea

As developers revealed, South Korea is a country that mostly plays mobile games. Since this trend dominates the market, a triple A game on Korean soil raises many eyebrows. There are not too many developers wanting to take the challenge, and the ones working at Shift Up had to adapt when "the console market was nearly non-existent".

This project started with one question, "What is humanity?" Is humanity something that can be lost? Or, can it be replaced? I'm excited to see how players feel about that.

Hyung Min Lee - System design lead

In the process of learning their own workflow, the team decided not to design characters first, but go straight for the costumes. As we know, these are one of Stellar Blade's developer's biggest selling point, with 30 different costumes already included in the game.

image 1image 2

In their own words, they said that "We don't start by drawing the characters first. We actually search and reference the costumes first. We buy them, have a model wear them, and then scan them in 3D." This shows how they ambitiously try to differentiate from other game developers.

The game will hit global shelves in Apr. 26 of this year. In the meantime, more episodes of "The Journey" will be released periodically on PlayStation's Youtube channel. Make sure to check for more Stellar Blade's in-depth analysis and news!

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