Why we’re worried about Soul Calibur V
While Namco Bandai and Team Soul boast that the new Soul Calibur will be "faster, lighter, and more elegant," early details of the game has GamePro worried about the direction of the series.
- July 25, 2011 14:00 PM PT
To some of us at GamePro, there’s no better fighting series than Soul Calibur. Exceptionally well-balanced, chalk full of memorable characters, and a finely-tuned combat mechanic have endeared the series to thousands of fans, including several of staff. Soul Calibur IV is also one of the only games we consistently compete against each other in, with hotly-contested battles raging between Kat’s Sophitia, McKinley’s Taki, and Chris’s Kilik.
And yet, after seeing the pre-Alpha build of Soul Calibur V, we can’t help but be worried about the direction of the series.
We never got to play it
We recognize that a pre-Alpha build is rough. We recognize that at E3, only four characters were playable and two maps. We understand that the gameplay is still being tweaked and the game will likely look much better when it’s actually released. But to show us a developer playing against a computer doesn’t make for much of a demo -- might as well just show us the trailer. There’s also a certain degree of salesmanship with it as the developer twists and shouts as he looks like he’s having a good time.
We’d excuse this if Team Soul didn’t pull the same thing when they brought the game to our offices. The phrase we kept hearing in the two demonstrations we attended was: "Soul Calibur V will be faster, lighter, and more elegant." But because we couldn't play it, we have no way to verify that.
In the second demonstration, we saw more characters (which have now been leaked), but we still haven’t been able to play it. We’re always leery of any developer that won’t let us actually see how the game handles, as it begs questions about how confident the developers are in their product.
Again, we’re fans of the series. You couldn’t find a more sympathetic audience to show us what you’re thinking of doing. Why not get our thoughts, and then let us play the game?
The graphics just aren’t there
We should cut Team Soul some slack because it’s a pre-Alpha build. But shouldn’t the new Soul Calibur V engine look like a step forward for the series? You can notice the differences between Tekken 4, 5, and 6. But we’ll be honest, seeing the difference between Soul Calibur 3, 4, and 5 may be far more difficult. If Soul Calibur V is supposed to be a huge leap forward for the series, we’d hope the visuals would reflect that.
Which characters get cut?
Soul Calibur V will have “20-30 characters... half will be new,” according to a Team Soul rep. That statement is going to likely frustrate a lot of fans, because it means that only 15 of their favorite characters will be returning from Soul Calibur IV. We already know Siegried, Ivy, and Mistirugi are back. So the odds of your character returning just got reduced.
But the bigger issue here is that Team Soul is negotiating a tightrope walk here. On the one hand, they need to inject some new blood into the franchise and give the game some new players that will really resonate with fans. On the other hand, if you cut a player’s favorite character, you may also have lost their business (of course, as Street Fighter IV has proven, you can always just make the character downloadable later on... that just means they won’t be part of the greater story, which is a shame).
Three of the new characters that have already been revealed are essentially stand-ins for previous series regulars. It’s doubtful you’ll see Sophitia, Taki, and Cassandra in this latest game, as there are new characters that have similar moves (Sophitia’s kids and Taki’s apprentice, respectively).
With the exception of the character Zwei, we’re essentially looking at a remixed version of the series. The only thing worse than eliminating fan-favorite characters to focus the series on innovative new characters, would be deciding to have these new characters be simply stand-ins for the old.