Crafting Immersive Character Design in Stellar Blade: A Director’s Perspective

The director of the highly anticipated action RPG, Stellar Blade, sheds light on one of the game’s standout features – the meticulous attention given to the reverse side of the lead character’s model. Through an interview with game director Hyung-Tae Kim, it becomes apparent that the character design of protagonist Eve, fashioned after the body scan of Korean model Shin Jae-eun, holds a significant place in Stellar Blade’s marketing strategy. This emphasis on Eve’s back has been evident in the game’s early trailers and, according to Kim, is a purposeful decision made by the development team. “When it comes to the design, we put special attention on the back of the character because the player is always facing the back of the character when they’re playing,” he reveals. This unique perspective justifies the importance of showcasing Eve’s appealing backside, making it a focal point for the game’s visual appeal.

Before the release of Stellar Blade, developer Shift Up gained recognition for its gacha game, Goddess of Victory: Nikke, renowned for bringing attention to the backs of its anime-inspired characters. This trend continued in their collaboration with Nier: Automata, which only further solidified their reputation in this regard. However, Kim maintains that the studio’s stylistic choices go beyond mere titillation. The deliberate glamour imbued in characters like Eve represents a bold decision to diverge from conventional character designs. Kim asserts, “has become somewhat of a brave thing to be going for or attempting.” By highlighting the attraction and allure of characters through intricate design, the team at Shift Up seeks to create a unique visual experience that transcends traditional gaming aesthetics.

The Cultural and Personal Context

Kim delves into the cultural significance of characters like Eve, both within the Korean gaming industry and on a global scale. He reflects on the critical lens through which games are often scrutinized, highlighting the disparity in how audiences perceive these unrealistically beautiful characters. Comparatively, movies, animations, and manga are not subjected to the same level of scrutiny as games when it comes to character design. This observation prompts Kim to express his personal preferences when engaging with games. “Honestly, when I play a game I would like to see someone who is better-looking than myself. That’s what I want,” he confesses. He values the allure of characters that surpass ordinary appearances, believing it to be a fundamental aspect of entertainment, particularly in adult-oriented mediums.

Discussing his own vision for the ideal character design, Kim advocates for individuals who possess distinctive charms and attractiveness without compromising the narrative or game setting. He strives to strike a delicate balance that ensures characters like Eve remain captivating without undermining the storytelling. Importantly, Kim draws parallels between Eve and Nier: Automata’s protagonist, 2B. Both characters embark on a transformative journey, gradually embracing their humanity while shouldering greater responsibilities. This comparison brings forth the intersections of character development and design, emphasizing the interconnected nature of narrative and visual elements in gaming.

Elaborating on Eve’s evolution as a character, Kim highlights her initial insignificance and gradual growth within the game world. At the beginning, Eve exhibits a more stoic and soldier-like demeanor, devoid of emotions or expressive qualities. However, as the game progresses, she experiences a multitude of challenges, engages with diverse characters, and ultimately becomes more human. This metamorphosis presents players with a captivating narrative arc, where Eve’s character transformation symbolizes her coming of age. Kim’s admiration for the character-driven mechanics of Nier: Automata becomes apparent as he expresses his honor at the comparisons drawn between Stellar Blade and Yoko Taro’s influential title.

The director’s insightful perspective sheds light on the design philosophy underpinning Stellar Blade’s character creation. By placing special attention on the visual aspects, Shift Up aims to provide players with an immersive gaming experience that is both aesthetically pleasing and narratively compelling. Through the character Eve, the game explores themes of transformation, identity, and the delicate balance between idealism and realism. With Stellar Blade’s release on the horizon, players eagerly await the opportunity to delve into this visually stunning world and witness firsthand the captivating journey of its charismatic lead character.


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