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Stellar Blade 2 is on the cards, and I have a big wishlist for ShiftUp

ShiftUp has confirmed it’s exploring a possible Stellar Blade sequel, so here’s my two cents on what I’d love to see improved and added in Stellar Blade 2.

Stellar Blade 2 wishlist: Eve wearing a gold outfit and glasses next to Tachy

A Stellar Blade sequel has all but been confirmed by developer ShiftUp, after the Korean studio revealed it was “exploring the possibility” of a follow-up for Eve and Co. After having a fabulous time with the hit PS5 exclusive in the lead-up to its launch and beyond, I’ve been thinking intently about not only the direction ShiftUp can take Stellar Blade 2 in but also how it can iterate on its systems to elevate its gameplay offering. Warning, major spoilers ahead.

Narratively, Stellar Blade left me with several rather large questions heading into a potential sequel, perhaps the most pressing of which being ‘how will ShiftUp ensure Eve isn’t totally overpowered now she has become human?’ After her merger with Adam in two of the RPG game’s endings – including the ‘true’ ending I expect Stellar Blade 2 to follow on from – we get to see just how ridiculously juiced she becomes in its finale: a merciless beatdown of an Andro-Eidos legion in true hack ‘n’ slash fashion.

This closing montage is easily the closest Stellar Blade comes to its Devil May Cry influences, but that power fantasy could prove problematic if ShiftUp wants to stick with its current, rhythm-based combat system. As such, it’ll either have to nerf Eve in some way – be it through limiting her power via some sort of plot-related fuckery or otherwise – or make it abundantly clear that the Mother Sphere’s armies are so powerful she’ll need all of the Elder Naytiba oomph she can get.

Stellar Blade 2 wishlist: Eve and the Adam bot

This neatly leads to my next line of inquiry: what role are the Naytiba going to play now their progenitor is (sort of) no more? Will they instinctually rally to Eve as their new leader, resulting in the continuation of this never-ending war? Did they all die off when Adam was absorbed? One of the great ironies of Stellar Blade is that Earth technically already belonged to humanity, considering what the Naytiba actually are. If the conflict is to continue, then I can imagine Eve opening the eyes of her fellow angels to the reality of their plight will become a central driver, alongside the demise of Mother Sphere – if you can’t kill God, I don’t wanna know about it.

Speaking of the death of God, Stellar Blade 2 represents an opportunity to deepen the studio’s application of philosophical concepts in the PS5 exclusive – something it didn’t execute nearly as convincingly as NieR Automata. It’s no secret that ShiftUp CEO Kim Hyung-tae is a huge Yoko Taro enjoyer (as are we all), and as with much of the character writing, the overarching themes driving its narrative can use some work. Should Mother Sphere fall and the veneer of legitimacy vanish, then the Andro-Eidos’ belief system will crumble, potentially leading them to nihilism as Nietzsche would predict. Would they be able to stand on their own feet and take control of their own destiny as Eve did? Or would they fall into chaos like Raven? This I need to know.

On that note, I am also dying to find out what will become of Raven. As far as we’re aware, she’s very much still alive despite currently falling into the ‘Spares and Repairs’ category on eBay. As someone who has already lost her guiding light in Adam, I hope she will make her return in Stellar Blade 2 – be it as an enemies-to-comrades sort of character or as an instrument of vengeance. Ideally, a Raven redemption arc would go hard, but the thought of her as a secondary antagonist is also rather enticing.

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Regardless of how the fates of Stellar Blade 2’s leading faces play out, I’m eager for ShiftUp to go back to the drawing board when it comes to character interplay and VA direction (at least with the English dub). The Stellar Blade characters had about as much synergy as an asteroid and the dinosaurs, with only a few Adam/Lily moments (Lily is great, more Lily please) somewhat salvaging otherwise uninspired writing across the board. With Eve now theoretically possessing real emotional capacity, this needs to be properly represented more than ever.

Moving onto what goes on in the newly rebuilt Xion and beyond, I’d love to see the denizens of the restored city venture out beyond its walls. Most of the game’s side questing was confined to the job board and NPCs within Xion, and now there’s (hopefully) an opportunity to make its surrounding areas feel a bit more lived-in. Yes, we’re still in a doomsday scenario, with Mother Sphere aiming its ire at Earth, but if anything the people should feel emboldened to explore the world while they still can.

A final area I want to lightly touch on is Stellar Blade’s combat. Now, before you get your pitchforks out, I’ve already written extensively about how much I enjoyed it, but there’s one major area I’d like to see revisited – multi-target encounters. Regardless of the AoE skills I progressively gained, getting ganked by multiple Naytiba of various types at once has been a pretty miserable experience. The throwables meant to afford you a bit of extra space are seldom potent enough to make much of a difference, while the camera work is dodgy at best (even with auto-lock off).

Stellar Blade 2 wishlist: Eve fighting a Naytiba

This is, as I’m sure you’re probably thinking, the influence of the best Soulslike games at play. But when each encounter is designed to be its own duel, having the Avengers assemble on me despite my desperate attempts to pull a single target from the pack is a pain point I hope to see iterated on.

Though I could sit here and write at even greater length about my hopes for Stellar Blade 2, I’ll cut the yapping for now. ShiftUp has smashed it out of the park with its first triple-A attempt, so I don’t doubt that the team will be looking to up the ante should it decide to proceed with Stellar Blade’s sequel. I’m eagerly anticipating the follow-up to one of 2024’s best games, and I can’t wait to see which direction the studio takes Eve’s story in.

For more of the latest on the new PS5 games that are set to take a leaf from Stellar Blade’s book, check out why Black Myth Wukong’s difficulty may be more like the space game’s than Elden Ring’s. For even more stories like this, be sure to drop our Google News feed a follow.