So Close That I Can Smell It

We are now less than 2 weeks from Soulcalibur 5’s official release. I feel like doing some gloating. So I’m going to go over a few predictions I made and see what has come to pass. And like Nastradamus, this is going to get really iffy, really fast.

This first one is easy: No arcade release. It was obvious from the start.

Week Two – 01/01/11 – 07/01/11

I’m getting a lot of request for the arcade version from North America, Europe etc. I never knew there is a market for that overseas.

Thanks! I’m excited there are players from so many different countries! RT @merdenomss: There are thousands of players around the globe.

No matter where you are from, if you like SC, I want to include your ideas in the game.

Every country is important. It might be hard to include every single request, but I’ll try my best.

I have to think about the business side of things as well… but as a creator I don’t want to base my decisions solely on business.”

After all, Daishi is working for Namco, a company that reported losses for the last 2 years. Their last profitable year was 2008, when Soulcalibur 4 was released. Coincidence?

But I digress. The point is that Namco needs money, and they know that the foreign market loves Soulcalibur. They also know that the foreign market doesn’t buy many arcade machines. A cynic would say that the revival of Soulcalibur comes down to pleasing shareholders, but a cynic would also have to say that no shareholder would be pleased with an arcade release.

Continue to cross your fingers and hope for an arcade release, but my nearest arcade is too far away for me to indulge in wishful thinking.

Easy, right? I give it 4 Nastradamus heads out of a possible whatever.

Next, meters. Would there be a new type of meter in Soulcalibur 5? Daishi was already hinting at it before we’d even had concept art.

Week 4 – 15/01/11 – 21/01/11

I like the gauge system. Super/Ultra Combo, Rage, Tension, Kiai, Weapon, Skill, Power, Heat. RT @Wael3rd: What is your favorite gameplay…

There are many different gauge systems. I like managing gauges while I fight.

Gauges, like the Soul Gauge? Or maybe a weapon gauge? Or maybe a combination of the two, since weapons and souls seem intertwined in Soulcalibur anyway.

There is precedence for gauge management in the Soul series: Witness the Critical Edge.

For anyone out of the loop, the Critical Edge was the Soul Blade equivalent of Tekken’s 10-hit combos, though a well placed Critical Edge was actually useful, since it was guaranteed on a normal hit, leading to easy half bar punishment on whiffed moves. The downside of a Critical Edge is that it used up 1/3rd of a character’s weapon gauge to just start it, and it could be blocked. When a character’s weapon gauge was empty, blocking weapon attacks would disarm them, and they’d be forced to finish the round without a weapon — an unarmed character took block damage, had very little reach with their attacks, and couldn’t hurt their opponent’s weapon gauge.

In fact, Soulcalibur 4’s Soul Gauge functions similar to the old weapon gauge. Both are drained by blocking, partially refill between rounds, and would probably cost a player the match if drained completely. It’s easy to imagine a synthesis of the Soul Gauge, weapon gauge, Critical Finishers, and Soul Charges, and all the gauge management options it would represent.

As predictions are like hand grenades, I feel this deserves a solid 7 Nastradamus heads out of a possible 5.

Week 5 – 22/01/11 – 28/01/11

I like Random moveset characters (Mokujin) too. @BladeHero1: return of random moveset users like Edgemaster or Olcadan

Yes, please.

Hooboy. This wasn’t even a prediction. But it’s still a thing that happened.

Pure coincidence takes precedence over actual predictions when we’re dealing with the likes of Nastradamus. Ten out of ten.

Week 6 – 29/01/11 – 04/02/11

@tetubusi I put my soul in balancing Rock but he was changed again on the PSP version… Like I said I don’t favor characters, just in case.

Speaking as a Rock player, if Daishi was doing his best to balance Rock, he was doing it for a different game. Rock suffers from nothing more than Soulcalibur 4’s basic systems not favouring his playstyle. At all. But at least he was unique and fun to play. Given the chance, would Daishi just balance the rest of the game around such a unique style?

Funnily enough, Rock is much stronger in Broken Destiny, mostly through simple damage buffs and improved options. He’s still completely out of place, though.

Another non-prediction, but something I do have a followup to. I spoke to Daishi and Utoh (his translator, and a member of Project Soul who works an the game’s AI) at NEC–which means that, yes, I’ve played Soulcalibur 5–and the topic of Rock came up, though in a roundabout way since nobody actually cares about Rock except for me.

It was more about Amy and last-minute work done on Soulcalibur 4. See, neither Rock, Amy, nor Mina were completely planned additions to the cast. Each was a gameplay experiment, and each proved a point about gimmicks. That is, if your gimmick is compounded guessing in a game where everyone else gets consistent guaranteed damage then guessing right had better pay off really well for you, and if your gimmick is crushing your opponents guard then you’d better have some good ways to keep them from just killing you. But if your gimmick is just having ridiculously strong and safe mixups then you’re going to do fine.

This is a topic I plan on elaborating on soon enough.

Five Nastradamus heads because I’m really serious about this rating system.

Week 7 – 05/02/11 – 11/02/11

“Learn from the past and create something new.” No deep meaning 🙂 RT @broccoman: have you considered a retcon for the Soul series?

I think the title “Soul Edge” suits the game more than “Soulcalibur”. Other than SC1, the story always revolves around Soul Edge.

@zeonizm SE (SB) was about Soul Edge. SC1 was about Soul Calibur. SC2 was about Evil Calibur. The rest is all about Soul Edge.

Plus everyone seems to like Soul Edge better than Soul Calibur. It’s something I was thinking from a while back.

@satoda_eida I didn’t think Soulcalibur would become a numbering sequel. Thought it would change from Soul Edge > Soulcalibur > Soulxxx etc

@koo_j Yeah, I like Soul Edge better too. It looks stronger and the design’s cooler. Especially the eye.

@Harada_TEKKEN I know the real reason why the title had to be changed. I’m just talking from a setting, story point of view.

For anyone who doesn’t know, the chief reason for Namco switching from the name Soul Edge to Soul Blade for their international releases was the infamous EDGE Games trademark. With that out of the way Namco would be free to make a new Soul Edge game.

Daisha hints at a more intriguing direction for the series, though: a new sword, which would allow a new title, a new character, and fresh motives for all the rest.

Soul Edge was about Soul Edge, the sword, Soulcalibur 1 was about Soulcalibur, the sword. They’ve been playing off each other since then, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be more ancient and powerful weapons.

Imagine: Nightmare is again rampaging through Europe, with Siegfried on his heels. However, when they battle, a stranger shows up, holding a sword neither of them have seen before. The stranger states that his goal is to not only destroy Soul Edge, but Soulcalibur as well, and he attacks them both. Siegfried and Nightmare are too busy fighting each other to deal with this new threat, and the swords know it: with their mutual destruction at hand they combine to form Night Terror, leaving Siegfried and Nightmare drained and helpless. The stranger chases after the fleeing Night Terror, leaving Siegfried and Nightmare for dead. They each recover, but now have new goals, and a new, mutual enemy.

Any variation on those themes would work. The important thing is that a new threat would break the repetitive cycle of Soul Edge being broken up, recovered, broken up, and recovered again. It’s time to end the Cold War. If Siegfried is always chasing Nightmare, why can’t someone be chasing Siegfried? If Soulcalibur wants to destroy the evil Soul Edge, why can’t another sword, or owner of the sword, want to destroy them both? It would be a more neutral position, to balance out the good and evil we already have. And how would the rest of the cast treat a new sword? How would it treat them?

Technically I could have been more wrong if I’d tried, but who’s counting?

Certainly not me, so this critical miss is getting a solid 4 Nastradamus heads out of 5. Which is 2, plus 2 for effort.

Week 10 – 26/02/11 – 04/03/11

Good idea. Not sure who’s in charge at the company but we’ll have to organize it! RT @lifeasadesigner: Namco SPONSORING Nationals in JP/US

Take a hint from Blizzard, and put some money down. It attracts the players, it makes things exciting, and it pushes the boundaries of competition.

And guess what? Maybe someone at Namco is paying attention for once. Although, this being Namco, nothing good comes without a price being payed somewhere else.

Since this is less of a prediction than it is a God-like use of my powers, I only award myself 1 Nastradamus head.

Week 15 – 02/04/11 – 08/04/11

The story of a fighting game, of the new Soulcalibur, is 100% build-up. It’s about defining the setting, and about how the setting will define the gameplay. That’s also the reason behind Street Fighter 4 and Mortal Kombat 9. The developers appeal to nostalgia by reverting all the characters, and the story, back to early days. For Street Fighter, that means Street Fighter 2, and for Mortal Kombat that means Mortal Kombats 1-3. The setting then influences the gameplay — it could be argued that the reverse is more true, but that’s chicken and egg territory.

It still seems like a relatively safe bet that Daishi will hit some sort of reset button for the new game, if only for the sake of gameplay. He wants to go back to Soulcalibur 1 and 2, and he’ll use the plot to get him there.

The only thing to debate is whether the “joke” ideas are ones that he’s throwing out, or ones that show what he’s actually considering. Those are his 2 paths.

Gaze deeply into my crystal ball. A reset button for the game’s story and setting! Who could possibly have seen that one coming, other than me? Nobody, that’s who. Which is why I get these 6 Nastradamus heads as a reward.

Week 16 – 09/04/11 – 15/04/11

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?

Well, I think we dodged as much of this rocket as we could. Minor splash damage, mostly absorbed by armour. And with CPMA-like precision we even air-controlled away from any follow-ups.

Which is pretty much the nerdiest way possible of saying that while Soulcalibur 5 did get a comeback mechanic, it’s also very mild.

Whenever a player is in their last round they get an extra Critical Gauge bar. Incentive to use some extra meter in round 2 or 3, and a little bit of help when against the ropes. There is no Ultra, no x-ray. Meter is still built primarily from being proactive or taking risks.

Let’s celebrate with this trio of Nastradamus heads.

Weeks 17 and 18 – 16/04/11 – 29/04/11

Difficult commands only limits the moves players can use but changing them suddenly may make things feel strange. The balance is hard.

This time we plan on reducing commands like A+K so moves are easier to pull off on pad.

Which pad players will identify with readily. Moves with a+k commands are very difficult to pull off using the face buttons on the default setup, so most everyone binds them to a shoulder button or uses a shoulder button in combination with a face button. And a+k moves are mostly distinct, niche moves within a character’s total moveset, making them often the rarest and least used. But at the same time, they’re often that way because the other inputs they could be using are being taken up by more common moves, so if their plan is to make things less awkward for people using the same character across multiple games, they may still run into problems.

If they really want to work on difficult commands, they need to redo all the just frames. Not because they’re all difficult, but because many of them are arbitrary, and that obfuscates important parts of the game. Ditto for guard crushes.

However, some things are a given, like Ivy getting new commands for half of her moves. You know it’s going to happen.

Yeah, I admit it, I was on fire that week. Reposting that there would be less a+k moves–turns out there’s none at all–and also smoothly segueing into that knowledge bomb about Ivy getting all of her commands changed again. Too good.

A full 5 Nastradamus heads. The perfect score.

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.

I admit that this is not as spectacular as it seems now, without the evidence on hand. I guess I should have saved some of these pics since the sites in question don’t exist anymore. I’m sure someone else did, maybe they’d share them?

Bottom line: I was right and everyone else was wrong.

Four Nastradamus heads.

Week 19 – 30/04/11 – 06/05/11

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.

Yeah, getting everything right isn’t enough sometimes. That’s when I have to make bold and decisive predictions that turn out to be uncannily accurate.

Of course, I also missed the point by inches, and this time I put myself out in the open while trying for that pixel rail. It didn’t connect, so it doesn’t even count.

Three Nastradamus heads and a “better luck next time”.

I still think their names are stupid.

Week 20 – 7/05/11 – 13/05/11

そうだね。中に入ってるんじゃ… Maybe it’s Rock inside…RT @jodace0710: that rock has the same techniques of SC2 berserker.

Make that official and Rock has squeezed his way into every Soulcalibur game (just like Mina). That’s more than Siegfried.

They’re still not going to be in Soulcalibur 5. :/

Sometimes hitting a shot is so easy that you just feel empty inside, like you didn’t even want to hit it if things were going to be that simple.

And sometimes it sucks to be right.

A perfect 10!

Week 20 – 7/05/11 – 13/05/11

木人?…なるほどね~。Mokujin? I’ll think about it. @Furzy1290: We need a “Mokujin” character! 🙂 I liked charade best but any character would be cool!

Like the custom characters and their altered move properties, the eventual problem a Charade-like character could have is that it would potentially limit how character-specific some moves could be. Olcadan would, at least, without him sprouting extra body parts when needed.

Not to say it couldn’t be done. It could; but it may end up being way more work than the developers bargained for. I’d still love to have Olcadan back, but if that means sacrificing the overall uniqueness of characters then I’d live without him.

And sometimes you miss by so much that all you can do is cut your losses, roll your eyes, and type something sarcastic in chat.

O rly?

Another perfect 10!

Week 21 – 14/05/11 – 20/05/11

ありがとー! Thanks! RT @Furzy1290: The new swords design is incredible! o_O Very nice work!

Of course the big question now is who will be using the new swords? It ain’t Siegfried, and it doesn’t have to be Nightmare — he’s been without Soul Edge ever since his remake.

While the idea of Sophitia (or maybe Tira) being the new Nightmare may have a weird sort of fan appeal, and give them a way to stick her in the game without really worrying about her age, keep in mind that it’s as I said: Nightmare has been running around without the full Soul Edge for 2 games now. He doesn’t need it to be in the game, and if you give it to someone else then he’s got a reason to go after them. You can have your Devil Sophie all you want without having to throw out 2 perfectly good (and iconic) movesets in the process.

Close enough to a prediction that I can count it as a draw. At least I get Nightmare back.

Six out of seven.

And that’s it for now. I’d give out some lottery numbers as well, but I’m keeping them to myself. When you’re as good as I am you deserve to benefit first.

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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.

Daishi’s Twitter – Round 9

Week 10 – 26/02/11 – 04/03/11

Thanks. There’s always room for improvements tho, even if the change can be risky RT @JackOfMyLife: I personally believe that SC is perfect.

Risky changes? That’s too easy. Daishi’s got something up his sleeve.

Daishi continued to discuss some of the gameplay and balance topics from last week:

Forcing players to study is bad but being able to make players learn as they have fun is good. RT @TreSanBan: What’s wrong with studying?

To elaborate a bit, there are break-points in most fighting games, at an input level especially, that eventually demand that a player hit the books, and then hit up training mode, if they want to proceed. What they are is different for each game, and when and why they matter is key.

That a player will need to learn and practice if they want to improve is a fact. But if they have to spend 6 hours in training mode, with a laptop, a movelist printout, and a music stand, before they can do bread and butter punishers, well, that’s a problem. That’s an entry barrier that most players will not bother to pass.

Of all the modern fighters, Soulcalibur can at least claim a simple enough input barrier, at low levels, for most characters. As well, there are no 1-frame links, dash cancels, very little in the way of fuzzy guard or option selects, and most of the game’s systems are transparent enough. The biggest demand on a player’s time is interaction with the other characters, so they can recognize moves and setups, and know the optimal responses, and most of that can be puzzled out during actual play.

Yes, there are Just Frames, and yes some of them are both difficult and crucial, but given the option to choose between Just Frames and 1-frame links, I’d choose Just Frames 9 times out of 10. That’s not to say Just Frames are perfect, or even particularly well done; as they are now, they’re too often arbitrary in their placement and random in their effect. Some are must haves, some are superfluous, and there’s no rhyme or reason for the distinction.

Being able to refine and distinguish play is what these complicated subsystems should be for, not as basic hurdles to throw new players off.

As an aside, who else has somewhat fond memories of bringing printed movelists to arcades?

I totally agree. RT @briancgiles: SC1 had the best 8WR. SC2 was too strong with avoid. SC3 all stepping weak. SC4 too slow, stuck in mud.

Every game has its suited speed and pace. Generally I like fast games. RT @BladeHero7: I really don’t like really fast paced games.

I personally like the gameplay and pacing of Virtual-On OT but SC is definetly closer to Virtual-On Force RT @tetubusi:

That last comment is lost on me; I haven’t played Virtual On since it was in arcades, and that was just one of them, so I’ve no basis for comparison.

What’s clear is that Daishi still prefers Soulcalibur 1 in a lot of ways. That’s the game he started with, so it makes sense. It’s been a long time since I’ve played Soulcalibur 1, but I can safely say that all forms of movement — from 8 way run to backstep — were orders of magnitude faster than they are in Soulcalibur 4, and safer.

Daishi has been repeating 2 points: that he prefers faster games, and that he prefers faster, if not safer, movement. Which is a complete reversal of the direction the series has been moving in since Soulcalibur 2.

All I dream about is work. I just want to get the game done and release it! RT @Trace_afj: Today I dreamed that I play with Setsuka in SCV..

What do you like about Talim? RT @JakajanTiamu: The things I want most from Soul 5. Talim please

I like Cervantes from SC1 the best. RT @astrofaes: SSF4- but SC is already the perfect pace. P.S. plz bring back cervantes from SC2, not the davy jones ripoff in SC4!

I understand but the same thing can be said for other characters as well. Both Yun Seong and Hwang have their fans so it’s a hard pick. RT @Zephyrus21: what I want the most for SC5 is Hwang and Li Long. Please bring them back

Shura might be a bit hard for many reasons.. RT @Dentenshi: Bring Shura back please ;D

More requests for returning characters. Of the lot, Cervantes seems like the safest bet; he’s been in every other Soulcalibur game, and is both an original member of the cast, and without any clone characters.

Except for Shura, of course. But as Daishi says, she’s unlikely to return. She’s not really an official Soulcalibur character, but instead a bonus character designed by Hiroya Oku, the artist behind the popular Gantz manga and anime. Who owns the license? Would Namco pay Oku a second time to use a character who is a 1:1 clone with no connection to the Soulcalibur story?

Talim is also a unique character, and seems popular enough. No reason to remove her from the game. Setsuka as well, and Daishi has said that both Cervantes and Setsuka are amongst his favourite characters in the series.

As for Hwang, Yun, and Li Long. On the surface, there’s no reason that Hwang and Yun couldn’t co-exist, and Hwang is always around, as far as Soulcalibur’s story is concerned. Li Long? He was neat in Arcade Edition, but didn’t cross over like Amy did. Maybe bald dudes who swing pointy sticks aren’t compelling enough anymore.

Logic is necessary but logic alone can be boring. FUG joined the team from SC3 and his my work mate now. Sits near me. RT @crna_ruka:

This is interesting. This ruka guy makes a long series of posts about game speed and balance and the like, but all in Japanese, so I’m not going to post it here. However, at one point he name drops FUG, and if I’m reading everything right, that means that one of the best Nightmare players in Japan is working under Daishi now. There are vids of him in action, playing Arcade Edition.

That’s another tourny player on the team.

I played both X-Men and X vs SF. I also played Tokidensho Angel Eyes 😛 RT @tetubusi:

I still prefer XvsSF to any other VS game — its only flaw being Captain America’s absence — so Daishi demonstrates good taste, as far as I’m concerned.

Touki Denshou: Angel Eyes is one of those mid-90s Japanese fighting games that never made the jump overseas. A 2d, all-girl fighting game that was basically Arcana Heart before Arcana Heart, and most notable for crudely mixing pure 2d sprite characters with 3d, prerendered abominations, at least for the arcade release. It was fast, though.

What a rare opinion. RT @igorpelego: The thing I love the most about SC4 how difficult and challenging ToS was. I hope you can bring us something like that!

There’s a basic problem with these extra modes. Well, 2 problems.

First, they’re a means to an end. People play them because they’re either the best, or the only, way to unlock stuff they actually want.

Second, and this dovetails into the first, the player has to fight the game’s AI. Which means that the best strategy, and the way most people will play, is to find the easiest or fastest way of exploiting the AI’s weaknesses so they can get the next unlockable item.

So in a perverse, obtuse way, there is strategy involved, just not the kind the developers intend, or the players want. It’s probably too difficult to separate the problems and not worthwhile in the end.

Not to say that such a mode wouldn’t be, or shouldn’t be, included in the new game, just that it should be divorced entirely from unlockables. Give the players an interactive story and arcade mode. Or better yet, a download-based conquest mode modelled on Soulcalibur 2 arcade and Arcade Edition, where the enemies are generated from ghosts the game updates from leaderboards and friends lists. There are enough options, just from backtracking through the series, to negate any need for a terrible Tower of Souls of Chronicles of the Sword.

Not being able to pull them off often was the main problem. RT @Lasership84: Please improve the presentation of the finishing moves from sc4

This is an interesting sentiment, considering the way Critical Finishers progressed through the history of Soulcalibur 4. Before the game was released people were sure they’d be a game-breaking gimmick, after the game was released it was obvious that they weren’t, then the game was patched and Soul Gauge damage was lowered across the board, making Critical Finishers even rarer, and in Broken Destiny they were both harder to land, and easier to defend against. The trend has been toward making them the equivalent of an i900 unblockable, or Guilty Gear’s Instant Kills; something that exists in the game, but almost never happens in a real match.

Which again leads me to believe that Daishi has something up his sleeve.

Sorry, I don’t know Ninja Turtles very well. RT @PhotonRez: Do you like the Ninja Turtles? They’d be great for a new Soul game.

Is Berserk popular in the west? RT @altrodesi: and Guts from the manga berserk would be great guest characters.

Didn’t know Guts from Berserk was popular overseas.

Need to ask the boss, Higuchi-san. RT @aeconklin: Have you considered adding “Tales Of” characters from the RPG as bonus characters for SC5?

Ninja Turtles! The best guest character suggestion yet. Someone mail Daishi a Ninja Turtles trade.

As for Berserk, while the manga and anime are well loved by a fair number, Guts is far from a household name. He’s not even up to Spawn’s level. His video game presence is even lower, with the last Berserk game released outside of Japan more than 12 years ago, and on the Dreamcast. For whatever reason (sales?) the game’s sequel was never localized, which isn’t a good sign. Not to say he wouldn’t be a neat character, but if you dressed Nightmare or Siegfried up you could accomplish the same thing.

Now, Tales characters. That would be something. Namco already owns them, Namco wants Tales games to sell outside of Japan — regardless of how bad they actually market and distribute them — and there are Tales games  both in development and scheduled for release. Back when Soulcalibur 4 had been announced, and Project Soul had said that there was a big guest character reveal in the works — ended up being the Star Wars characters — the Tales series was high on the list of candidates. In fact, Lloyd from Tales of Symphonia did make a guest appearance in Soulcalibur Legends.

Would have to work with a company. Offcourse I will ask for the highest quality 😉 RT@msasbaly: have you ever thought about making SC Anime?

And why not? Every other fighting game series gets some shitty anime adaptation.

If anyone’s curious, Virtua Fighter English Dub > King of Fighters Another Day = Street Fighter 2 The Animated Movie >>> Tekken The Motion Picture. That’s as far down that rabbit hole as I go.

I can’t be the only person who bought the Street Fighter Anniversary Collection because they included the movie on the dvd.

Good idea. Not sure who’s in charge at the company but we’ll have to organize it! RT @lifeasadesigner: Namco SPONSORING Nationals in JP/US

Take a hint from Blizzard, and put some money down. It attracts the players, it makes things exciting, and it pushes the boundaries of competition.

I want to but I can’t 😦 Think positive! It’s a surprise waiting for you! RT @Trace_afj: can we know when are you going to show something?

The earlier the better… is all I can say. RT @jaeseongoppa: When do you think you can release Soul Calibur 5?

Whatever he’s got right now is just concept art and napkin notes anyway. I have to believe that when there’s some real news to announce, we’ll get it.

Finally:

Advertisement! Siegfried and Mitsurugi will appear in Family Stadium 2011! http://twitpic.com/44yd0o http://twitpic.com/44yd0q

Pro Baseball Family Stadium 2011 is a 3ds launch title. There’s not much info about it anyway, just a few screenshots that make it look like they’re going for an oldschool style, which is fine with me. I haven’t enjoyed a baseball video game since the NES.

It would be a neat, if not very timely, cross-promotion if the new Soulcalibur game included the baseball uniforms as alternate costumes.

Daishi’s Twitter – Round 8

Weeks 8 and 9 – 12/02/11 – 25/02/11

Went home early today. I was busy this week and couldn’t check twitter. Sorry 😛

Which is the reason this update is late. Daishi got snowed out, went to a dinner party, and didn’t post much of anything else for the third week of February. Thankfully, he started posting again this last week.

@Daishi_CALIBUR When making the new SC, remember the international players please! ソウルの新作成を作る時、日本プレーヤーだけではなく海外プレーヤーも考えてね!

@itsumobasho Off course I’ll be considering everyone fairly. The Japanese players often say the same thing about them.

This is not simply a trade-off between guest characters and arcades.

Exact numbers are hard to come by, but a few things are clear: Soulcalibur sells better overseas, and whether that’s from the size of the overseas market or not is probably irrelevant. Namco is, along with Sega, at the top of the Japanese arcade market, as a manufacturer, and as an owner, and while Japanese arcades are still big enough business — pulling down numbers in the $3-6b USD range — Japan itself has been in an economic slump for years.

Namco has included guest characters that are distinctly Western, while still giving Japanese fans something, with bonus characters designed by manga artists.

Tekken does well in Japanese arcades, Virtua Fighter does well in Japanese arcades; in fact, Japanese arcades appear to love 3d fighters. But do Japanese fans want a new Soulcalibur game in their arcades, and do Western fans want to wait 6-18 months for a console port. And there are many other factors to consider, from the gain or loss of marketing momentum, to the distance we may be from the next console generation.

It’s not as simplistic as Japanese fans want an arcade release, foreign fans want a console release and guest characters. When the discussion takes that form, everyone loses. Right now, Namco is on the tail end of a major restructuring, and their absolute priority is to turn a profit as soon as possible, and while they may still be a major manufacturer and distributor of arcade games, and while they may be continually disappointed by how their console releases perform in foreign markets, the choice to have an arcade release is still unclear.

I’d love it, though. ❤ arcades.

LOL too much ! marks @Hennisythedon PLEASE KEEP CHARATER CREATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There’s no reason to think that character creation and customization wouldn’t be in the next game. It’s standard — at least the customization — for modern 3d fighters, even in the arcades.

We’re working on it! @JasonAxelrod me too…better balance for the next game please!

@nomusher I see, there’s nothing wrong with having a hardcore opinion.

Daishi will be swamped with balance requests right up till the game is released, and then patch requests right after. It’s important to keep in mind that whatever balance decisions are made will revolve around the new game, not the old ones. Until we’ve got any idea of what the new game will be, anything more than general requests for balance are pointless.

Daishi is still fielding general fighting game discussions. First up, pacing:

So when you say Soulcalibur is fun, is it because it’s fast paced? Slow paced? Or just right?

Fast paced fighting games are popular but not so if it’s too fast paced. Maintaining the the balance is difficult.

There are small differences in pacing in SC2, 3 and 4. Not attack speeds but damages done and tuning of the 8WR RT @broccoman @Daishi_CALIBUR I don’t think you need to change much on game speed in SC. It’s just right where it is to me from SC2-SC4.

Pacing isn’t as simple as game speed, as Daishi rightly points out. It has a lot more to do with options and damage output.

We will now examine sample high level matches from various 3d fighting games. Objectively.

First up, Virtua Fighter 5:FS. Source: Tournament matches found on Sega’s official youtube channel. Match 1. Match 2.

Things to note: Virtua Fighter has a 45 second round timer, the lowest of all modern fighting games, both 3d and 2d. Both matches went all 5 rounds, and rough math puts the average round length at 37 seconds, including post-match replays, pre-match character and stage intros, and post-match winning poses. The matches themselves averaged out to 3 minutes, 5 seconds each.

Next, Tekken 6. Source: Tekken Crash Season 5 Royal Rumble Tournament. Match.

Things to note: The 2 sets played took about 8.5 minutes, all inclusive, and only 1 of them went to 5 rounds, making the average round over 60 seconds, and the average match length over 4 minutes. Granted, they went back to the character select menu, and Koreans supposedly use a slightly larger health bar, but even if you lop off time for extra character intros and loading times, that’s still well above Final Showdown’s times.

Last, Soulcalibur 4. Source: 8wayrun.com’s match of the year for 2010, Belial vs Rufus.

Things to note: The 3 sets took 8 minutes, 40 seconds, though intros were skipped. That’s 2 minutes, 50 seconds per set, and 40 seconds per round.

What does any of that mean? Nothing, really, except that expectations don’t equal reality, and pace is more than numbers. Is Virtua Fighter a faster paced game than Tekken? Is Soulcalibur? Is pace about speed, or is the more deliberate action of Virtua Fighter what gives the series its reputation? In a general sense, Soulcalibur seems to be aiming for a middle ground between the huge stages and combos of Tekken, and the intimate stages and action of Virtua Fighter.

As for pace within the series itself, the same things apply. Soulcalibur 2 may have been a fast game, but it was also a very safe, very poke-heavy game — and that was partly because of the bugs, while Soulcalibur 3 was a huge damage and ring out game — and that was mostly because of the bugs. Soulcalibur 4 has a slower feel from more unsafe movement and harsher damage scaling. As Daishi said, there’s more to the feel of speed than just putting game speed up to 11; step, safety, and damage are important factors.

You can rely on me! RT @TreSanBan: Well, we’re trusting that as a former tourney player yourself, you’ll do what’s best for the Soul series.

At the time I thought SC1 was balanced but is it still so today? SC2 I thought had too much freedom and also had bugs. RT @YoshiCookie: Soul Calibur I and II were very well balanced.

Here Daishi is likely talking about Soulcalibur 2’s g2 bug, which allowed a player to cancel the recovery of GIs and certain moves, and the easily abused steg-g, which allowed players to sidestep vertical attacks while being safe from horizontals, and gave them huge openings for punishment, which was the best way around Soulcalibur 2’s very safe movelists. Of course, all that was much worse in Soulcalibur 3, but we don’t talk about Soulcalibur 3.

At least Daishi has the balls to acknowledge the bugs, even if he’s only doing it for a game he didn’t work on.

The best thing that can be said for Soulcalibur 5’s hopes in the balance department is that every other fighting game is getting updates with bug fixes now, and Daishi is the first chance Soulcalibur players have had in a long time to demonstrate bugs and problems with a definite chance that someone who can affect things will actually see them.

That’s right, accessibility is impotant too. RT @TriforceBlade:I imagine so. Another difficulty is making the game accessible to newcomers

Just like chess, unless you learn the rules it’s no fun. But I don’t want players to have to “study” the system to enjoy a game. RT @BYS777: I want to understand the system elements while enjoying the story rather than a tutorial

The all important accessibility vs depth debate rears its head.

It’s difficult for a person who knows how to play the game, who has put effort into learning it, to understand exactly what someone who has no interest in learning the game wants from the gameplay, and at the same time, it’s difficult for someone who is more interested in the frills and fluff to know what someone else would want from the game.

Soulcalibur has been attempting to bridge that gap for a while now. As far back as Soul Blade’s console release, Namco has been including more and more fluff options to keep people interested in the game, and fortunately, that seems to be what people want. If the next Soulcalibur ships with a Create-A-Soul, an Edge Master or Mission Mode, and plenty of unlockable concept art, weapons, theatre and gallery options, and a well-implemented Story mode, that will be enough to sell it to people who want those things.

When a player decide to dig a little deeper, that’s where the real problems begin. Easy to learn, difficult to master is a watchword for the genre — for any genre, yet the games that enjoy the most popularity are seldom that: they’re more about what players can aspire to, and the steps they can take to get there, and — this is the most important thing — keeping players interested along the way. There are clearly defined, and expected, plateaus for players to reach, and the balance is in keeping each step vibrant while still making the next step appealing and reachable. That’s what Soulcalibur should be aiming for.

What can be said in Soulcalibur’s favour is that it’s able to give most players the flash and instant gratification they want. Big, showy moves are all over the place, and easy enough to execute. The problem is that as you progress, you realize that big, showy moves are rarely ideal; that small, safe moves are what you need. That is what hurts, because who wants to get better only to have their options reduced?

Tekken has combated this by putting the show into the juggles, something that everyone gets to do, even though the general options and pokes atrophy as skill increases. Virtua Fighter prefers to level everything out, giving the player a large variety of viable moves, but with fewer that stand out. If Soulcalibur wants to keep aiming for the middle ground, it will need something new to shake things up. And that would lead us back to Daishi talking about meters, and how he enjoys managing them.

http://twitpic.com/40pj3o To my left is producer Mr. Tago. Its not a very good angle but @Filthierich might upload a better photo.

This guy is a mystery to me. I can’t find him in the credits to any past Soulcalibur game. I guess he’s the new guy.

And finally, Daishi shared posts that included pictures of him alongside Namco community manager filthierich, a huge statue of Zasalamel, and a swanky replica set of Cassandra’s sword and shield from Soulcalibur 4.

As an aside, a while back Namco secured a controlling share in D3, a publisher linked with series such as OneChanbara, Earth Defence, and Puzzle Quest, and with connections to Tamsoft, the creators of the Battle Arena Toshinden series of 3d weapons fighting games. Shura may as well be an OneChanbara character anyway.

Of course, it doesn’t mean anything.

Daishi’s Twitter – Round 7

Week 7 – 05/02/11 – 11/02/11

I went to an event called Game Music Laboratory. They played Secret of Mana’s “Danger” and “Meridian Dance” live and it was awesome!

The violin and piano sounded great. Maybe we should add them to our music too?

I could tell the musicians were really enjoying themselves. Am I enjoying what I’m doing? All I think about is the schedule, the budget…

The event helped me to remember to enjoy my work! Also it reminded me, I’m just a kid who loves games.

It’s tough to be bogged down by administrative detail work when you want to be creative. Of course, Daishi’s team is still in the planning phase, which means they’re still trying to establish what they want to do and what they can do. Once they start to do some real work he should be happier.

@Daishi_CALIBUR How are chances you’ll consider this puppeteer (from SC1) as a new character? he’s very unique! http://tinyurl.com/4bopm99

@weshookhands I don’t think anyone from the team even remembers the puppeteer design. You’re hardcore. http://tinyurl.com/4bopm99

That dude is hardcore, and so is that design.

And also the type of character that (some) people would bitch about not fitting into the Soulcalibur universe if he’d been put in the newer games. Hohoho, Daishi.

@satoda_eida In SC1 you could exchange guard impacts one after the other. Not sure if it was designed that way, but it’s what makes it good.

The good thing about games are, the players have the freedom to play however they choose and bring out the best out of it.

@koo_j At the least, I want to make a game that I can enjoy personally. Off course I will make sure it’s fun for everyone too!

Exchanging Guard Impacts is a standard example of mid-level play, and of good times. It’s nice that Daishi recognizes that giving players more creative options is a good thing, because there was one area that Soulcalibur 4 came up really short on: cancels.

More cancels, please. Any Xianghua player would agree.

@Daishi_CALIBUR Good terms with Capcom? How about Dante from DMC in the new Soul Calibur? Fans have speculated this since SC3.

@TigerC10 We’re on good terms with Capcom with TK vs SF, SF vs TK coming. Doesn’t Akuma have a samurai ancestor?

Finally, an interesting idea for a guest character. Like Yoshimitsu, an alternate samurai version of Akuma could be more than a simple crossover character, and he’d fit in well enough.

And who doesn’t want to see a Raging Demon Critical Finisher? With a sword?

Quick announcement: as a collaboration, you can equip Soul Calibur and Soul Edge in God Eater Burst. Try it if you have it!

Gods Eater Burst is the English name of Namco’s Monster Hunter clone, and it’s getting released on the PSP mid March, 2011. I love me some Monster Hunter, and I’m looking forward to this game. Here are the in-game pics, showing that they’re the full Siegfried and Nightmare versions of Soul Calibur and Soul Edge.

@nomusher Do you like the tag system? What do you like about it? I’d like to know.

@nomusher I just wanted to know why people like tag. Is it because of it’s complexity? Or using multiple characters? etc.

See, here’s the thing about a tag system being shoved into the game: at best, it’ll be a novelty, like the special versus modes that Soulcalibur games already have. They’re there, and they’re very different from standard versus, and nobody plays them. Unless significant time and effort is put into a tag system, it’ll end up as a goofy mode that will delight people who make combo videos, and not much else.

Look at the Dead or Alive series, which has the most dynamic and robust tag system in 3d fighters, yet tourneys are all run in normal versus mode. Of course, that game has other problems, and the community may share them, but the same thing would happen with a tag mode in Soulcalibur. There would be a few funtimes side tourneys when it comes out, then it’ll disappear. Unless a game focuses on the tag, it’s probably not worth it.

Would it be fun, though? Probably. Could it be done? Sure. Should it be in the game? Why not.

“Learn from the past and create something new.” No deep meaning 🙂 RT @broccoman: have you considered a retcon for the Soul series?

I think the title “Soul Edge” suits the game more than “Soulcalibur”. Other than SC1, the story always revolves around Soul Edge.

@zeonizm SE (SB) was about Soul Edge. SC1 was about Soul Calibur. SC2 was about Evil Calibur. The rest is all about Soul Edge.

Plus everyone seems to like Soul Edge better than Soul Calibur. It’s something I was thinking from a while back.

@satoda_eida I didn’t think Soulcalibur would become a numbering sequel. Thought it would change from Soul Edge > Soulcalibur > Soulxxx etc

@koo_j Yeah, I like Soul Edge better too. It looks stronger and the design’s cooler. Especially the eye.

@Harada_TEKKEN I know the real reason why the title had to be changed. I’m just talking from a setting, story point of view.

For anyone who doesn’t know, the chief reason for Namco switching from the name Soul Edge to Soul Blade for their international releases was the infamous EDGE Games trademark. With that out of the way Namco would be free to make a new Soul Edge game.

Daisha hints at a more intriguing direction for the series, though: a new sword, which would allow a new title, a new character, and fresh motives for all the rest.

Soul Edge was about Soul Edge, the sword, Soulcalibur 1 was about Soulcalibur, the sword. They’ve been playing off each other since then, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be more ancient and powerful weapons.

Imagine: Nightmare is again rampaging through Europe, with Siegfried on his heels. However, when they battle, a stranger shows up, holding a sword neither of them have seen before. The stranger states that his goal is to not only destroy Soul Edge, but Soulcalibur as well, and he attacks them both. Siegfried and Nightmare are too busy fighting each other to deal with this new threat, and the swords know it: with their mutual destruction at hand they combine to form Night Terror, leaving Siegfried and Nightmare drained and helpless. The stranger chases after the fleeing Night Terror, leaving Siegfried and Nightmare for dead. They each recover, but now have new goals, and a new, mutual enemy.

Any variation on those themes would work. The important thing is that a new threat would break the repetitive cycle of Soul Edge being broken up, recovered, broken up, and recovered again. It’s time to end the Cold War. If Siegfried is always chasing Nightmare, why can’t someone be chasing Siegfried? If Soulcalibur wants to destroy the evil Soul Edge, why can’t another sword, or owner of the sword, want to destroy them both? It would be a more neutral position, to balance out the good and evil we already have. And how would the rest of the cast treat a new sword? How would it treat them?

And finally:

@Daishi_Calibur Could we get a song for opening theme like “The Edge Of Soul” was for Soul Edge ? For me, it was the best opening.

@SetsunaYuki Maybe. Yeah, the opening for Soul Edge “THE EDGE OF SOUL (KHAN_SUPER_SESSION)” is good.

A lot of people still love that Soul Blade intro, and all its cheesy glory. Too bad Cervantes didn’t get a Scorpion Critical Finisher.

And is that a naked Sophitia? When did the Soul series become all about the boobs.