Some of the upcoming game reveals during the 2023 PlayStation Showcase were to be expected, like SpiderMan 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3 remake. However, others caught us completely by surprise. Take Phantom Blade 0, for example. While it’s a mysterious reveal that fans didn’t see coming, it’s a welcome surprise regardless. So much so that Phantom Blade 2 was all people talked about post-showcase. Mostly, questions revolve around the release date, gameplay, story, and more. We’ve scoured the internet and compiled what the developers have revealed so far. For now, here’s Phantom Blade 0: Everything We Know.
What is Phantom Blade 0?
Phantom Blade 0 is an upcoming hack-and-slash RPG by developer S-Game. Set in the Phantom World universe, players will interact with a kitchen-sink approach to Chinese Kungfu, steampunk machines, occult arts, and other interesting powers that don’t fit into a box. According to Soulframe Liang, the founder, and CEO of S-Game, Kungfu pop culture is ever-evolving. This time, S-Game adds a new twist to the formula, that includes a punk spirit, stylish visuals, and an overall art direction they’re calling “Kungfupunk.” If you enjoy games like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Ghost of Tsushima, and Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, then you’ll most likely have a blast here.
Players will take on the role of Soul, a skilled assassin whose main drive is to destroy the elusive yet dangerous organization called “The Order.” Unfortunately, Soul is framed for taking the life of the Order’s patriarch. Thereafter, a manhunt is issued, which renders Soul gravely injured. By sheer luck, a mystic healer saves his life. However, the healer’s cure is only effective for 66 days. After 66 days, Soul will die.
Consumed with anger, Soul ventures on a path of vengeance. His main goal is to find the perpetrators who framed him and bring them to justice. However, what starts as a singular goal grows roots into a treacherous journey fighting dangerous foes and attempting to uncover the darkest secrets of Wulin before his 66 days of life run out.
Phantom Blade 0 is a third-person, hack-and-slash RPG at heart. It features gameplay elements like strategy and action. Soulframe Liang, the founder of S-Game, confirms that the game will be a Soulslike, strategic, action game inspired by the Monster Hunter series. He says games like Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden offer intense, fast-paced action. However, the studio chose to tone it down a notch or two, by giving players more time to strategize their next move.
Phantom Blade 0 features a semi-open world that is a blend between Chinese martial arts and steampunk. It spans multiple handcrafted maps, with each one featuring a diverse list of activities.
Further, Phantom Blade 0 uses a dark visual style. You can catch a glimpse of its bleakness in the trailer. Liang claims that the dark/bleak visual style is a conscious decision to make the characters with hearts of gold stand out and the players ever cautious of their surroundings.
The Phantom World universe crawls with all kinds of monsters. Dangerous creatures want to kill you. Thankfully, you have an overflowing sea of armor, weapons, and artifacts to customize and develop your character’s skills.
According to Soulframe Liang, Phantom Blade 0 is inspired by Mr. Kenji Tanigaki, who curated many exhilarating fighting scenes in classic Kungfu movies. The combat moves in the game use handcrafted animation instead of motion capture. This allows Tanigaki to demonstrate each designed move, which is then captured with a camera matrix for the animation artists to use, thus creating an authentic kung fu experience.
And, of course, the simplification of action sequences. The developers want to move away from the lightning-fast pace of Devil May Cry to the more popular strategic action of today. Thanks to S-Game’s experience learning to simplify fighting sequences for touchscreens in the mobile gaming era, they’ve perfected the way to minimize button-mashing in favor of more elaborate chains of moves for controllers.
The history behind the making of Phantom Blade 0 is quite interesting. It turns out that Phantom Blade 0 originally spawned from an indie game Liang made for himself using RPG Maker in 2010. He called the game Rain Blood: Town of Death, which blossomed into a whole franchise under the wings of S-Game. Amid its success, Rainblood adopted the new name: Phantom Blade. And while Phantom Blade only made it to smartphones, and only within China, it still managed to rack up over 20 million fans. Now, S-Game wants to develop Phantom Blade for the masses and present it as a new PS5 console exclusive.
So, the original Rainblood rises again as Phantom Blade 0. It’s going to be a much bigger and busier version. Furthermore, it will transcend from the RPG Maker engine to the modern Unreal Engine 5, yet still maintain the very essence that has kept the Phantom Blade franchise alive all these years.
Phantom Blade Zero - Announce Trailer | PS5 Games
The announcement at the 2023 PlayStation Showcase event was in the form of the first Phantom Blade 0 reveal trailer. The trailer uses a dark, eerie art style to illustrate fast-paced combat and what looks like a fictitious feudal Japan. You can watch the announcement trailer above.
Release Date, Platforms & Editions
For now, developer S-Game has yet to confirm an actual release date. We speculate, though, that the game will likely release sometime in late 2023 or early 2024.
Additionally, Phantom Blade 0's announcement at the PlayStation Showcase event revealed that the game is going to be a PS5 console exclusive. However, the official website lists PS5, Steam, and Epic Games Store platforms, so although it’s a PS5 exclusive, it looks like the PC version will also launch via Steam and Epic Games Store.
At the moment, there are no updates on the editions available. However, you can keep track of new updates on the official Phantom Blade 0 website here or watch this space for any new information that comes to light.
So, what's your take? Will you be picking up a copy of Phantom Blade 0 when it drops? Let us know your thoughts on our socials here.