Week 16 – 09/04/11 – 15/04/11
Hmm, we do get a lot of requests for those two. @Lawrence_Lowery Are you finally going to return Li Long and Hwang.
Keep it up and we might actually get them back, even if it’s as Assassin and a custom character moveset. Hwang, at least, had a spot in Soulcalibur, Daishi’s favourite game in the series.
What controller does everyone use to play Soulcalibur? Pad or stick?
Thanks everyone for their feedback. Around 30% say stick and 70% say pad.
Are there any features you want for the pad or stick or both, to make the controls precise, easier etc?
While Soulcalibur began in the arcades, it is a very pad friendly game, to the point where easily half or more of all competitive Soulcalibur players use pads. Locally, if I don’t bring my own stick I know there won’t be one at a gathering or tournament. It’s beyond me how some people do what they do with pads (or why; it’s painful), but they like it.
Controls and options — options especially — could still be improved for both input methods. At the top of the list of needed features is an easier method of configuring controls between matches. Implementing something as basic as press and hold button binding, where you hold down the button you want to rebind and then select the bind from a list, instead of using the list to sort through available buttons, is way more intuitive than what most fighting games use these days. What Soulcalibur does not need are the endless rounds of Street Fighter 4-style button checks between each match, and giving the players a quick and precise way of rebinding will help stave that off.
For the inputs themselves, Soulcalibur 4 had one wonderful thing going for it. Because of Hilde, and the need to charge her moves without giving everything away, it’s possible to guard while pressing attack buttons, making it much easier to buffer throw escapes while defending. I hope we can keep that, even if Hilde changes.
It makes the most sense for the next Soulcalibur game to continue focusing on controls that translate just as well for to pads as they do for sticks, because their market is not people who own arcade sticks. I would ask for less circular inputs, but since I don’t primarily play with pads it’s my own fault that I can’t do them reliably without a stick. Trying to play Rock is bad enough without having access to his command throw.
And because any discussion about pads and sticks is incomplete without the number one advantage sticks have: customization.
And because we still don’t have even concept art, more fan art.
For the first: what? For the second: why?
It was inevitable that the slippery slope of fan art would plunge us into the murky pits of fanfics, so here’s the first that made it onto Daishi’s twitter.
Unfortunately, English is not the writer’s first language, which makes for awkward reading. The gist of the document is a new mode that crosses the character creation and “strategic” elements of Chronicles of the Sword with the character building of Soulcalibur 2 and 3’s Conquest modes and the canon-lite storytelling of Mission or Edge Master mode, and eventually the ultimate goal of most fanfics: self insertion into the game’s canon via a worldwide tournament for custom character supremacy. It’s a sticky hodgepodge of disparate elements, and it should by obvious enough that the last parts are pure fantasy. Honestly, there’s no reason a mode somewhat like the one in the document wouldn’t work — it’s nearly been done more than once in Soulcalibur — but there are better things to pour creative energy into. However, it would align well with Daishi’s throw-away idea of making every player the main character.
For anyone who didn’t play it, Soulcalibur 2’s arcade release was centred around Conquest mode. When a player started Conquest mode they would pick a character and an army (every machine had 4 different armies to begin with), and then play a series of battles against CPU characters. After each battle they would get xp and eventually level up various attributes that would give them bonus skills a lot like the equipment skills in Soulcalibur 4. Auto-escaping throws, harder to ring out, random unblockable attacks, that sort of thing, along with more health and defence. By playing the Conquest mode with their character, the player could continue to level them up, and the CPU would start to pick up their tendencies to form a ghost of the player, so that when other people played Conquest mode they could fight the player’s character. When a character from one army beats a character from another army they win points for their army and shrink the power of the other, until eventually one army conquered all the others, and then the game would reset.
While this made for a terrible single-player mode, which is probably why it didn’t get ported into the console release of Soulcalibur 2, it would be a fun diversion for online play. I’m sure many people would love a mode where they could create a character and level them up and see their ghost (or themselves; ghosts were needed in the arcade because it was a single-player mode on a single machine) take down enemy heroes. Every time you logged on you could get a battle report of all the people your character fought when you were away, then you could see who beat you (maybe even watch the replays) and mark them down as targets for revenge. The best part is that it doesn’t have anything to do with Soulcalibur’s story, so everyone is safe.
One More Thing
As this was another slow week, I’m going to write about something the new Soulcalibur game will have to deal with, something that I’ve not seen anyone talk about yet.
When Soulcalibur 4 was released Street Fighter 4 was still a pipe dream, Tekken 6 was flitting about in Japanese arcades, and Marvel vs Capcom 3 wasn’t a thought on anyone’s mind. Capcom may have brought 2d fighters back into prominence, and Tekken is as popular as ever, but if we’re going to play spot the influence — which I’m doing right now — it’s what these games have in common, and what legacy they’ll be leaving for new fighting games. That legacy is the comeback mechanic.
When Soulcalibur 4 was released this was not a standard across the genre. It’s not quite that now, but it’s moving in that direction. Mortal Kombat 9 has x-ray attacks and combo breakers and the meter used for them is built primarily by getting pummelled — you gain no meter for landing clean attacks and combos. Tatsunoko vs Capcom has Baroque Combos, Marvel vs Capcom 3 has x-factor, Street Fighter 4 has ultras, Tekken 6 has rage, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 will have rage as well, Street Fighter x Tekken will probably reveal a comeback mechanic at E3. Of course, there are fighting games without comeback mechanic built in, but they’re becoming fewer and further between, and more importantly Namco (and Harada, Daishi’s boss), and the company they’re working with right now — and the acknowledged leader of the genre — Capcom have been incorporating them more fully into each game they release.
The Critical Finish system in Soulcalibur 4 almost always favoured the aggressor in a match, and when it didn’t it favoured a specific character in a match-up. It certainly wasn’t meant for comebacks.
Whatever ideas Daishi has for new systems in the next Soulcalibur game, will they lean heavily toward the losing player? If there were a single factor that would keep a definitive comeback mechanic out of the game it would be ring outs, but those are also very character, and stage, dependant, and while many losing players will start fishing for ring outs, it’s even more common for the winning player to have forced their opponent to the edge, prime position for landing their own ring outs. Is that one-hit kill mechanic enough, though?
More importantly, do Soulcalibur players want a comeback mechanic built into the next game. And what does Daishi think about them?