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Stray Blade looks, on the surface, to be a pretty standard action adventure, with responsive sound effects and impactful parries carrying a fairly slow and thoughtful combat system. It has its fair share of ancient ruins and monster-filled woodlands, so it’s nothing too outside of the box as far as games in the genre go. But after speaking with game director Nicholas Zamo, it’s clear that not all of the influences are typical Western RPG fare – some of it comes from anime.

“I’m a big anime fan, so character development has always been a big thing for me. I’ve always loved playing games or watching anime with this component because it’s always one of the core points of anime,” Zamo explains to GLHF. While the stoic adventurer Farren is the game’s protagonist, Zamo clearly has a lot of love for the sidekick Boji, a small wolf with a case of immortality.

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“So we have one character that is just egoistic but goodhearted, searching for freedom,” Zamo continues. “And we have one that is very altruistic, and looking to help others. They come together and have a super interesting dynamic, because you cannot really convince someone who is raised selfishly to do something solely for the sake of others.

“Throughout the course of the story they change and learn from on another. Farren is very brave, and Boji is a coward. Boji learns to be braver, Farren learns to think, and becomes wiser.”

As for which anime influenced Zamo, apparently the net was cast pretty wide. “I’ve watched too many of them,” he says. “I think the general storytelling in anime is what inspired me. My favorite anime is Naruto, but I don’t know if I draw a lot of inspiration from that.”

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But the characters go further than that. The game world is reflected in those characters, as long as you’re willing to think about it hard enough. “If you are a person that likes meta thinking, then the idea behind Stray Blade itself is very cool, because it’s a game that teaches those who have always wanted to fight, how to fight, and that is reflected in Boji,” Zamo explains.

“The mechanics nicely relay the message behind the product itself. It teaches you that mastering stuff is a way to progress personally. What you do in your life and how you improve as a person is mastery and dedication, and that’s the core message here. That’s basically why I think it’s such a cool game.”