Daishi’s Twitter – Round 16

Week 19 – 30/04/11 – 06/05/11

It does look something like that. RT @Dizzy1080: is that what namcobandai’s new countdown clock is about i mean theres a sword above the book that looks like raphaels rapier

Let’s deal with this one first. I know it’s getting late for this, but I’ll do it anyway.

The sword pictured may have a hilt unlike Cassandra or Sophitia’s but it is still shares their origins. As I said in my last post, Soulcalibur exists in a historical vacuum that allows distinct cultures to interact with each other in ways that fly in the face of both history and geography. The sisters come from an idealized Greek nation (nominally the Ottoman Empire) and draw their weapons straight from popular depictions of gladiators and ancient Greek or Roman soldiers (filtered through the artist’s imaginations).

The swords they use have the very distinct leaf-blade that is basic visual short-form for ancient Greek or Roman. What they use is a artistic exaggeration of a gladius, and the most popular design for one of the most recognizable swords in history. The blade in teaser site is clearly the same sort of leaf-blade used by Cassandra and Sophitia.

Hilde is not Greek or Roman, she’s from a made-up Germanic country called Wolfkrone. Her sword is a generic European straight-edged deal with an elaborate hilt, which is only faintly like the one seen on the teaser site (and it’s her 2p sword anyway). The blades are nothing alike.

This sword is not Hilde’s.

Guess what? RT @Trace_afj: Daishi WHAT IS THIS??!! http://www.bandainamcogames.co.jp/cs/list/beginning_of_the_new_chapter/ I´m totally Hype!! ♪

If you had any doubt left about whether this countdown had to do with Soulcalibur, well, it ain’t a Tales announcement.

So you love how Tekken is. RT @NYUHardy: @Voldominic Yes, yes, yes. Please have characters speak in their own language!!!

I see. Didn’t realize much. RT @Voldominic: yes most of the people want it..that would be a great feature 🙂

I still don’t get it, but maybe Daishi does.

Interesting, knowing that there are people who are opposed to it. Any particular reasons for the suggestion? RT @KazeKyabetsu: I think it’d be neat if SCV had a time skip forward, from the last three games.

What do you like about those 2? What makes them cool? RT @Seeker1187: Please bring Hwang and Li-Long back… they were main characters… they deserve to have their story told.

Daishi does this a lot, especially when people ask for old characters to come back. People make a request and he asks for a reason. Realize that decisions about the game are not made arbitrarily, and, especially if he’s got some sort of retooling planned for the series, everything must be justified (to someone).

Li-Long doesn’t get a free pass for being a guy with nunchucks. And you can’t justify Hwang on the strength of 3aab alone. The roles of both characters have long since been taken over by others. If they can’t stand on their own feet as distinct then the only reason to include them is because a few people asked, and even if that were enough they’d still have to give them unique identities.

Yes, Li-Long had a full movelist in Soulcalibur 3: Arcade Edition, but how many people played that? For most the last time Li-Long was playable was Soul Blade, and Maxi does everything he did and has better hair. If neither character can exist outside of being clones (or originals), then neither character deserves prime development time.

Of course, there are scenarios where they could come back regardless. Time skips, prequels, reboots, any of those would do. But it would still help to have a reason for Hwang other than him having the best back throw in the series and one really annoying string.

Now Daishi goes back to a post he made a while back:

I dont like increasing the number of moves just for the sake of it but some do. What do you mean by ”moves that make characters attractive?”
And deals with the replies:

A gameplay with a stylish move in the center and other moves to support that… It sounds right. RT @Wael3rd: 2 sides of a same coin: stylish moves and moves with unique properties / mixed properties creating a specific gameplay.

It is out of question to make moves just to fil up the move list. It’s also a waste of cost. RT @Trace_afj: Each move of each character has to have a “why”, add moves just for enlarge the command lists can damage the balance though

That’s why Ivy’s moves are difficult to create and it gives the motion designers a hard time. RT @Grothos: Maybe Ivy Valentine, all moves of her are attractive.Once, in one tournament, I was called “Showmen” because of her moves.

I understand that flashy moves are more tempting to execute. RT @khparedes: I guess very flashy and very practical? I like my moves to look good and have a purpose.

She is a “Dominatrix” after all. RT @BioGenx2b: I think that means iconic moves that really represent how unique the character is. For Ivy, that would be lots of whips?

That’s a “must have” move, lol. RT @salarta: They probably mean moves special to each character, but I support moves that make women more sexually appealing. 😉

That’s right. RT @NovyxKrael: @Daishi_CALIBUR a move with no purpose is just wasted work.

So for Mishima, it would be Wind God Fist. RT @TheLoneGamer: ‘Attractive Moves’ for me represent the character’s skill or school. Like Mitsurugi’s Mist stance.

I’ll do my best. RT @Furzy1290: Every move should have a purpose, don’t add a move if it doesn’t. But most important, please balance the characters! 🙂

I agree. Sophitia’s 66B destroyed Soul Edge and it’s cool. RT @124f431: Fluid movements make characters more attractive, I love to play with Sophitia to do [4]B,6B,[6]A+B just because looks cool.

Really? I like it. RT @hotnikkelz: less absolutely useless moves like Raph’s back+B+K

In fact, Soulcalibur has had a special section in each move list for each characters signature moves. This was necessary when a lot of them were clones, but still serves a purpose as they grow more distinct. Each of them has moves and combos that set them apart, many are even iconic, like Mitsurugi’s stances or Sophitia’s 236b. Finding what moves make each character unique or attractive isn’t really the problem, it’s how to apply these moves.

From a standpoint of pure design, you’d think the movelists would be centred around making these unique moves prominent parts of each character’s gameplay, but it’s not always the case. This is a subtle thing, but it carries through into how people see the game. A character like Sophitia has their 236b, and also gets to use their 236b. It’s one of the very core moves most Sophitia players build their strategy on, and that people who play against Sophitia worry about.

Further down the list, you have characters like Raphael, Mina, and Rock. Not only are these characters bad in terms of balance, they also either lack for unique moves, or have unique moves that are terrible and hard to use.

Raphael has his stances (the ones Amy left him), but they’re not very good, and so Raphael players have to use other, less interesting moves. The guy even has a teleport he never gets to use.

Mina? Most of her unique moves (6ak, 4kb, 4a+b), the ones she’s been carrying around since Soul Blade, are either too simple, have no range, or are plain bad. Instead of having things like Kilik’s stances or Asura Dance, she gets a close-range mid-high move that doesn’t hit crouching opponents, and a few auto-GIs that are painfully unreliable. Her range gimmick is nice, but it doesn’t slap you in the face with personality the way most other characters do, and her most unique moves don’t even fit into the way the developers want her to be played. It hurts her entire design.

And Rock? That guy has it so bad right now. All of his most useful tools have been appropriated by Astaroth, and while what he’s got left is unique, it’s also very bad and ends up limiting the way he can play, ultimately making him a less interesting character simply because the player doesn’t get to use his most interesting moves.

There are other characters that hurt for that as well, like Tira and Talim, who have to make do with unique gameplay, but their most unique moves make them bad characters.

This isn’t a matter of more moves or less moves, more clones or less clones. It’s basic design flaws. If you’re going to have Kilik and Mina in the same game, then allow Mina to keep her unique moves and their unique properties. A character shouldn’t be forced to artificially pare down their own move list because all the more interesting moves are terrible or don’t even fit their play style.

If you’re going to have attractive, signature moves, then you have to be able to use them. When you watch a good Mitsurugi player you see his stances, when you watch a good Sophitia player you see 236b:4s, when you watch a good Mina or Rock player you see a jumble of samey moves that make you wonder why they’re not playing Kilik or Astaroth. There are flashes of interesting setups and combos now and then, but they’re too few and far between.

You hate ring outs? BTW, I prefer it. RT @TheMirrorcle: Can we get interactive environments and take out the ring outs?

Soulcalibur 1, Daishi’s game, didn’t even have walls. If ring outs are all he needs to keep comebacks out of the game then I’m sure many would be happy to keep them unchanged. Besides, compared to Virtua Fighter, Soulcalibur has very sticky floors.

I heard a lot of people hate Algol? RT @Legendere: and don´t remove algol

A lot of people do hate him, but that doesn’t stop him from being one of the most unique characters in 3d fighting games. There’s no reason that he couldn’t be tweaked in ways that would make him playable, and less annoying to play against.

I agree, it’s too much of a bother. @Bizuett: Make playable all the characters this time, in SC4 i had to play zasalamel a million times just to play as Renevant

This is good news. All the characters unlocked from the start, make everything else unlockable through vs. play. As many paths to the same goal as possible.

Yes I have. @LonelyOgre: Have you thought about creating a story mode that follows one set of chars. in addition to a regular story mode?

Which sounds suspiciously like a new Chronicles of the Sword. But if that’s what it takes to sell the game, maybe that’s what needs to be done. As long as I can unlock everything I need through other methods I’d be happy to buy a game with Chronicles of the Sword and never play it.

Thanks. Be even better if there were more voters. RT @Adnan199X: Here’s a small poll I setup, http://www.misterpoll.com/polls/518203

There are some interesting results from that poll, but Daishi is right: not enough of a sample to indicate anything.

I’ll be honest with you. Sorry to say but she won’t be back. RT @TheWolfkeeper: Shura back yet?

I believe I’ve covered this before. Shura was designed by manga artist Hiroya Oku and likely not owned by Namco. They’d have to pay royalties to use her in the game. But it would be simple enough to recreate a character like her in a decent create-a-soul mode. In the end she’s a more powerful version of Cervantes that would have supplanted him if she’d not been banned from tournaments. Not a good thing when a single-shot character is looking to take the place of one of Soulcalibur’s most iconic characters.

Unlikely. We have to follow a strict regulation when it comes to sizes :-/ @Flamzeron: Are Ivy’s boobies going to be extra big in SCV?

So, this is both weird, creepy, and amusing, all on a number of different levels. I’m sure people have bitched enough about her breasts in Soulcalibur 4 that something will be done about it. And maybe they’ll give her back a swanky 2p outfit for all the haters to use.

What do you mean, fight like Heihachi? @SGTDororo: it be awesome if you can make a new character that fought like heihachi

Valeria‘s kicking style was one of the best generic styles in Soulcalibur 3 (and to my mind, the second most fun after sword and shield — gotta love those tackles). I would be happy to have a character using a similar style in the new game.

Seen this before. Very well made. RT @skytoast: How about SC fan made film? http://youtu.be/jGmsVIhP8z8

It’s amazing how not-terrible these videos are. Worth watching for the editing alone.

きびすぃー。 Will be hard to pull off x-D RT @BrioCyrain: SC5 in 1080p!

Honestly, step 1 should be to make sure that every stage in the game will play lag-free on each system. This has been a problem since at least Soulcalibur 2.

The Announcement

As of this writing we are less than 72 hours from the countdown’s end and Namco’s reveal. There’s still a long road ahead for the game; don’t expect a release date (and certainly not one in 2011).

What I’m expecting is modest enough. The logo Harada teased a month ago, a general idea of the premise or setting for the new game, and possibly a new character’s concept art. If we’re lucky we might get a bunch of concept art, which, for once, I wouldn’t mind since the concept artist is a good one.

The next step will be e3, and whether or not the new Soulcalibur will be a presence. There will be a bunch of other fighting games, so without any gameplay or a demo it may not stand out, but Namco does need something big to show, and it ain’t going to be one of the new Tales games.

I’m prepared to make further, and wilder, predictions, because why not?

Going back to the beginning of this post, where I explained why the countdown sword isn’t Hilde’s, I also have to admit that it doesn’t look like it belongs to the sister’s either, even if it shares the same features. Which means that it could belong to someone related to them, either a child or a sibling (less likely, a parent). There are plenty of options there: Sophitia has 2 kids, a living mother and father, a husband who at least knows how to make swords (he made both hers and Cassandra’s), and a younger brother. Any of them has the potential to be a new character, but I’d put her brother Lucius ahead of her kids, if only because he has a name with a proper mix between consonants and vowels and could be inserted into the narrative with relative ease, much like Cassandra was.

The Alexandra family and their relationship with Soul Edge and Soul Calibur has the potential to blossom into something as melodramatic and circular as the Mishima family conflict that drives Tekken forward. If Namco was choosing a new direction for the series to move in that seems as likely an avenue as any.

There are other things I could talk about, but I’m going to end with a mention of Nintendo’s new console, currently the worst kept almost-secret in the industry. If it has the power, we could be looking at the next Soulcalibur being released on 3 consoles, just like Soulcalibur 2. And since people love that game so much, would Namco be anything but dumb to not attempt to recapture one of the things that made it such a hit? (Hint: I’m talking about the guest characters. And by guest characters, I mean Link).

At least now Microsoft and Sony could spring for characters to attempt to rival Link, instead of getting a hand-me-down from another Namco series and a 90s comic book character that nobody cares about.

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