Soul Calibur V is the fighting game fans have been crying out for.
It’s been almost four years since the previous console game, and followers of the weapon-based brawler series have been begging Namco Bandai to do another.
IV was going to be the last game in the series, but Soul’s passionate fanbase sent an online petition to Tekken producer and internal Namco developer Katsuhiro Harada, and the team responded with Soul Calibur V.
This game is the continuation of a successful 15-year-old franchise which has racked up around 12m worldwide sales to date. The new game boasts more fluid gameplay, ‘Critical Edge’ special moves, several new fighters and a reworked character creation mode.
“Soul Calibur V is a very popular franchise with a huge fanbase that has a lot of love for its weapon wielding gameplay,” Namco Bandai’s UK marketing director Lee Kirton tells MCV. “Its visual style and characters also separate it from the rest of the genre.”
Souls and swords
Previous games in the series have featured guest characters such as Link from The Legend of Zelda and Star Wars icons Darth Vader and Yoda.
In keeping with this formula, Namco Bandai has got Ezio Auditore from Assassin’s Creed on board as a playable fighter in Soul Calibur V. This is something the publisher says will open up the fighting genre to a much wider audience (see ‘Assassin Appeal’).
Set 17 years after Soul Calibur IV, V tells the story of Patroklos and Pyrrha, the son and daughter of series mainstay Sophitia Alexandra. Other new characters include Taki’s apprentice Natsu and staff-wielding Xiba, who replaces series icon Kilik. There are returning fighters, of course, such as Ivy, Mitsurugi and Siegfried who have all aged considerably.
Even Namco’s popular Tekken developer Harada himself is in the game, in the form of a bonus challenge character.
Soul Calibur V kicks off an exciting year for games, and leads a wave of big February titles that will help boost the increasingly challenging retail market. It’s a must buy for fighting game fans.
A special Soul Calibur V retail SKU will include an art book, CD soundtrack, making-of videos, a letter from development team Project Soul and a code to download the in-game Black Knight and White Knight armour sets.
Hori and Mad Catz are launching their own branded arcade-style fight stick controllers to accompany the release of Soul Calibur V. These feature adjustable turbo speeds.
Beating the competition
Soul Calibur has a reputation for excellence, from 1996’s Soul Blade to IV. Soul Calibur on Dreamcast was released in 1998 and is the console’s highest rated game on Metacritic with a score of 98.
Namco Bandai’s senior product manager Lauren Bradley explains how Ezio from Assassin’s Creed can open Soul Calibur V up to a wider customer base.
“Ezio Auditore is the perfect addition to the licence,” she tells MCV.“The studio has worked very closely with Ubisoft to keep him true to the original character, including his vast array of weapons. Graphically he doesn’t look out of place, he fits in with the Soul Calibur world and is well balanced against other characters making him tournament-viable.
“And as Assassin’s Creed is such a popular franchise we have a huge opportunity to broaden Soul Calibur out to fans of other genres.
“Whilst the basics of any fighting game needs to be in the community, the ones that succeed have to appeal to both the hardcore but remain very accessible. And whilst Soul Calibur V has an incredible amount of depth, it is also really fun for any new players.
“No matter what kind of gamer you are and no matter how you approach Soul Calibur – as a tournament player, as a Friday night social gamer, as an Assassin’s Creed fan that may never have touched a fighter before – Soul Calibur V has been developed to welcome you.
”SoulCalibur V will definitely bring new players into the genre, and this new fanbase will certainly benefit all fighting games in the coming years.”