Monday, July 18, 2011

Soul Calibur V's New Characters

Namco unveiled not long ago that because of overwhelming fan reaction (read: a ton of whining) that there will, in fact be a Soul Calibur V, which will actually be the eighth title in the Soul Calibur/Soul Edge franchise. At first fans were ecstatic, even though many of them were disappointed with 2008's Soul Calibur IV for no real reason. Of course, shortly after the title was introduced, loyalists were bitching yet again. And, alright, maybe this time they have a bit of a reason.

Wait a minute. That girl with the panty shot. She looks like Cassandra, sounds like Talim, but she isn't either. What the hell is this nonsense? That nonsense was Pyrrha, and it's anyone's guess as to how that's pronounced. She's Sophitia's daughter, and that young cad she was dueling with was none other than her brother: Patroklos.

"Hang on," I hear you say. "They're putting in two more sword and shield characters? Isn't three enough?" Well, yes and no. See, Patroklos and Pyrrha (oh Pyrrha, you poor soul. Do you know of Soul Calibur's legacy in the hentai community?) are actually exact clones of their mother and aunt respectively. The idea is that Sophitia and Cassandra, by this time, have taken to the old saying and aged like milk, no longer taking up the sword to banish evil from the lands of Greece.

Some of you out there are raging, and most of you are going "Who gives a shit?" I'm in the camp that gives a shit but is not raging. See, there's two camps of ragers in this situation. One camp is pissed off that they won't get to play as their favorite bouncing breasts, the other camp is pissed that Namco is recycling weapon styles that have already been used by other characters.

I really don't see the problem here.
I'm in the camp that realizes that the leap forward in time was needed if they were going to continue telling stories set in the Soul Calibur universe, because we'd already had four or five games in a row about Siegfried and Nightmare, and that Yin Yang shit was getting really old. Even with Yoda around to spice things up a little bit (or Vader, if you had a PS3 or five bucks to just throw around.)

However, where fighting games are concerned, there is an enormous competitive market. The players who spend literal months of their lives mastering the combos and skills of a particular fighter would feel like deeply sodomized fools if their character of choice were to be removed from the sequels. That'd be like holding a martial arts tournament, but banning karate. The compromise was to introduce new characters that retain the fighting styles their ancestors had. This allows the creative team to build an entirely new plot and story arc, while avoiding the wrath of competitive gamers. A wrath that can be devestating to some developers (and Namco is basically sitting in a kettle as it is. Thanks a lot, economy. Stealing my Tales series from me.)

Some fans out there still won't be able to appreciate the changes going on in the series, and I'll admit, I was a little... unsure of what to make about the whole situation at first. Ultimately I came to the conclusion that introducing a new, yet related, roster is better than morphing the existing characters into new ones for the sake of continuing the brand. I commend Namco on the bold move of inventing a new generation of warrior.

Some companies still don't get it.
And since the programming for these characters is almost entirely there already, I highly doubt that we'll be missing out on new fighting styles. That is, after all, what makes up the genre, and Namco knows this. One of the reasons for advancing the plot so far forward was to allow for the invention of new weapons and weapons styles. Additionally, with DLC finally becoming a little more standard and a little more governed, it's a pretty good possibility that the old characters will return (non-canon, of course) for those who really do appreciate them. Younger costumes for all of the aged characters as well.

What I find equally as exciting as getting to know these new characters is the confirmed addition of guest characters, in true Soul Calibur fashion. While I doubt we'll see the return of Link due to a lack of Wii or Wii U release, Daishi Odashima has mentioned something about wanting to use characters from the Final Fantasy franchise. But before you start fantasizing about Cloud swapping blows with Siegfried, and Yuffie slamming Pyrrha into a puddle of mud, let me remind you that Square-Enix is a pain in the ass to work with, and even had a huge hand in delaying Super Smash Bros.: Brawl. So at this point, there's really no way of figuring out who we'll see throwing down with out favorite iron clad heroes.

There's still hope...

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