During the May 2023 PlayStation Showcase, Beijing-based studio S-Game revealed a brand-new action game, Phantom Blade Zero, in development for PlayStation 5 and PC. This team also developed a mobile 2D action game titled Phantom Blade: Executioners, and it is in the works for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC.
Outlet wccftech recently interviewed the studio’s founder and CEO, Soulframe Liang, about Phantom Blade Zero since details surrounding it have remained elusive.
Liang noted how the shift from mobile to PC and console development has been an immense relief since the former only allowed for roughly 20% creativity. Much effort was spent on ironing out several issues. He sounds pretty excited about this, noting how they can “immerse [themselves] in perfecting the story, art, and gameplay” without worrying about making their game run on low-end smartphones or dealing with payment failures.
Regarding the setting, Phantom Blade Zero will comprise an entirely fictional world based on Chinese Wuxia culture. However, there is not solely Chinese inspiration here since Liang makes it a point to emphasize how he’s been inspired by various cultures, thanks to his education in the United States and his love for Japanese anime. This open-mindedness has resulted in a self-coined unique style called “KungfuPunk,” meant to target international audiences.
Several inspirations were revealed, notably “Chinese Wuxia novels, 70s~90s Hong Kong films, Japanese manga such as Vagabond, Berserk, and Claymore,” and in the realm of games, “Ninja Gaiden, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and Nioh.”
Throughout this action RPG experience, character progression is integrated with the storyline, and boss battles will be a highlight, with there even being secret ones residing within dungeons. Interestingly, Liang stated that they “adopt the most traditional game design approach, avoiding automated mass production.” As a result, players can look forward to “handcrafted” and “thoughtfully” designed combat segments that aim to be simultaneously challenging and rewarding.
Multiplayer has been confirmed for this game, too, but it won’t be possible during the storyline since there’s a focus on a pure and immersive narrative and adventure. There will be multiplayer functionality for endgame content, though.
Moving on, Lumen will be supported, creating a “gloomy and foggy atmosphere” without sacrificing player vision. Further, Nanite will also be supported to ensure high-quality assets are utilized without compensating the framerate.
And as if all that weren’t enough, raytracing will be implemented on both PlayStation 5 and PC thanks to support from NVIDIA and AMD. Plus, the PlayStation 5 is aimed to feature two playable modes: “2K at 60fps and 4K at 30fps.” However, the development team is trying to work in “4K at 60fps on PS5, or at least a stable 45~50fps.” Lastly, DualSense controller functionality is planned to also work on PC.
The recent ChinaJoy 2023 presentation revealed that the game will have a 30-minute demo release in 2024.
You can view official screenshots for Phantom Blade Zero from the official website via our gallery below:
In case you missed the announcement trailer for Phantom Blade Zero, you can check it out below:
Phantom Blade Zero is an Unreal Engine 5 title that will launch for PlayStation 5 and PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store, likely in a few years.
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