The game is something of a celebration of the history of science fiction, using a number of plot elements that were the bread and butter of pulp scifi but are recognizably archaic today. It also features a number of in-jokes and references to other works: for instance, the Novus Mirabel hero unit uses a mecha of distinctly eastern design and attacks using anime tropes; their jet fighter's ability Death Bloom is the superweapon from The Last Starfighter; their hackers announce themselves to be "the ghost in their machine" and ask "Would you like to play a game?" There are also more recent sci-fi references and inspirations in the game. For example, the walkers used by the Hierarchy, especially the Defiler, seem to be inspired by the fighting machines of Steven Spielberg's 2005 adaptation of War of the Worlds and their saucer units use foo fighters to attack and repair. The aliens' weapons turn their victims into skeletons, just like the Martians' weapons in Mars Attacks!. Additionally, the human heroes carry subtle references to Vietnam War films.