While many classic and beloved fighting game franchises have seen new iterations or major sequels hit in recent years, one name that’s sat quiet for a while is Soulcalibur. After Soulcalibur V‘s launch on last-get consoles back in 2012, fans wondered if Bandai Namco would be giving the world another proper tale of souls and swords, or if the series had fought its final match. Well, Soulcalibur VI is now indeed coming—and here’s everything we know about it so far.
What we know we know
What are the basic of the gameplay? Everything that’s been seen or talked about has pointed to a game that will play very similar at a core level to past chapters of the series. Characters will once again be able to fully move around a 3D environment, ring outs will still occur if a player moves their character off the edge of the arena (or is knocked out by their opponent), and those fighters will retain their trademark weapons as their main source of damage-dealing. In terms of deeper gameplay options, Critical Edges will be returning, but the team wanted them to be easier to perform than in Soulcalibur V, so now they’ll be unleashed with a single button. Soul Charges will also return, where you can increase the power on your attacks and unleash special moves in expense for meter charge, as will Guard Impacts, though they’ll now be change to no longer spend meter.
Do we know about any new gameplay details yet? As of now, one new mechanic has been revealed for Soulcalibur VI: Reverse Edge, a counter-attack ability that will repel your opponent’s swing in flashy fashion. According to a recent hands-on preview with the game, by pushing and holding a specific button on the controller, you can trigger a “mini-cutscene” where you will then need to release that button at the same time as your opponent’s attack in order to successfully pull off the counter.
Will there be armor breakage in the game? Soulcalibur VI will feature some level of armor destruction, with at least one method of accomplishing that being executing Lethal Hits (special moves that also set up opponents for combo opportunities). Two examples of the changes that can occur are that Mitsurugi’s lower armor can be destroyed until he’s in nothing but a loincloth, and breaking Sophitia’s hair accessories will actually change her hair style.
When is the game set in relation to other chapters in the series? While the exacts of its setting and how that will fully play out are not yet fully clear, Bandai Namco has revealed that Soulcalibur VI will take place around the time of the original Soul Calibur. In the official press release for the game’s announcement, the narrative is said to “[take] place in the 16th century, [revisiting] the events of the original Soulcalibur to uncover hidden truths.”
What characters will be in the game? So far, only two roster members have been revealed for Soulcalibur VI, and they’re names that fans would instantly expect: Heishiro Mitsurugi and Sophitia Alexandra. We also see a third mysterious person wielding a dual-bladed weapon and wearing a purple-themed outfit in the game’s reveal trailer, but there’s no solid clues at this point as to who they might be. We do know, however, that they won’t be the only new character to join the game.
What modes are known so far? Reading into the press release for Soulcalibur VI‘s announcement, we know that the game will offer players the chance to “challenge the computer AI, compete against friends, or challenge fighters from around the world.” As a side note, some of those options—such as a proper Versus mode and online multiplayer–were missing from the free-to-play PlayStation 3 release Soulcalibur: Lost Swords, which was a more single player-focused reworking of Soulcalibur V.
What platforms will it be on, and when is it coming out? Soulcalibur VI is currently announced for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam, all of which will be released sometime this year. (As of December 2017, the game was said to be 70% complete by Bandai Namco.)
What we think we know
Is this a “soft reboot” of the Soulcalibur series? The decision to go back to the time of the original Soulcalibur is definitely an interesting one, and could give Bandai Namco the chance to wipe the slate clean and come at past storylines and characters from a new angle. (Think J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek.) The developer added fuel to the reboot fire when, in an interview with Japanese magazine Famitsu, it revealed that the keyword for the game is in fact “reboot.” Along with that, the team noted that they want players to be able to once again experience the world of the original Soulcalibur by taking another look at its story. Still, those statements can lean one of two ways: either having events play out as they originally did, just with a fresh look at that classic story and character roster, or a retelling of that original story in a new way with differences in who or what’s involved. Also, will Soulcalibur VI be a singular project in that “reboot” idea, or is it intended to kick off a whole new series of games that re-write how things played out in later games? (And if it’s the second option, why not just call it Soulcalibur instead of Soulcalibur VI?) So, while we know that it’s a reboot of some sort, what that’ll exactly mean in the end remains to be seen.
What other characters might we expect to see? While we don’t know any solid roster additions beyond Mitsurugi and Sophitia, given the timeframe in which Soulcalibur VI is set and the popularity of the original cast among fans, it’s easy to at least make a few assumptions. We’d be really shocked if names such as Taki, Volvo, Siegfried, Seong Mi-na, Ivy, or Kilik weren’t around, with others such as Rock, Hwang, Xianghua, Maxi, and Lizardman being strong possibilities.
What about guest characters? One tradition that fans have come to love about the Soulcalibur games has been its guest characters, which saw cameos such as Spawn, Heihachi, Link, and even Darth Vader and Yoda show up to do battle with the usual cast. In the same Famitsu interview, the team hinted that we’d be seeing at least one guest character, telling fans to “please look forward” to future details on the question.
Will character creation be making a return? While we have no solid details on what players can expect in terms of crafting their own fighters, the team noted that they realize that character creation is an option that now cannot be removed from the series, basically admitting that it’ll exist in some form.
What we still want to know
Will characters beyond the original Soulcalibur (and its predecessor Soul Edge) be part of the cast? That’s one of the biggest questions for now. Given that Soulcalibur VI is meant to return to “the events of the original Soulcalibur to uncover hidden truths,” that could mean that no characters introduced past that point will be showing up. Also, some later characters may be considered too young storyline-wise to include in the game, such as Sophitia’s younger sister Cassandra. Still, with the whole “reboot” conversation hanging over everything, it’s always possible that the team could decide that it’d be better to reintroduce “future” characters sooner rather than later.
Who will be the end boss in the game? Depending on when exactly Soulcalibur VI is set, we could be facing off against the brutal pirate Cervantes de León, Siegfried’s corrupted form, known as Nightmare, or a whole new villain we’ve yet to meet—perhaps that mysterious person clad in purple?
Will there be a Nintendo Switch version of the game? In a recent interview, Soulcalibur VI product Motohiro Okubo revealed that the game’s development started over three years ago—and, at that time, the Switch was something the team had no knowledge of. So, for the game’s current development, no Switch version in the works. However, in that same interview, Okubo admitted that he is personally interested in the platform, and that it’s possible the game will show up on Nintendo’s system if porting the Unreal Engine project would be feasible.