Bandai Namco needed not one, but two events to prove that the soul still burns for traditional Soul Calibur.
In celebration of its upcoming 20th Anniversary, Bandai Namco announced Soul Calibur VI for consoles and PC. The sixth numbered installment is the first new Soul Calibur game in three years, following the free-to-play Sony-exclusive Soul Calibur Lost Swords, and 2012’s Soul Calibur V. Developed under in-house team Project Soul, the “tale of souls and swords, eternally retold” made its debut in 1995 (arcade) under Soul Edge. The Fighter was preceded by SNK’s Samurai Showdown as one of the first weapon-focused fighting games, but Soul Edge was one of the first to master the strategic combat of blades, spears and more in a 3D environment. Two years after the 1996 PlayStation version of Soul Edge, Bandai Namco unveiled its ambitious successor, Soul Calibur (or “Soulcalibur”) in 1998 for arcades; Soul Calibur improved the formula of its predecessor with the implementation of 8-way movement and an improved “Guard Impact” offensive block mechanic.
19 years and 10 installments later, Project Soul and Bandai Namco are bringing the Soul Calibur saga back to its roots with Soul Calibur VI. The debut trailer was shown during the 2017 edition of The Game Awards, with an additional 10 minutes of gameplay shown during Sony’s PlayStation Experience 2017 this weekend. Only two characters- Mitsurugi and Sophitia- are present in both sets of footage, but more favorites are expected to return in the franchise’s first current-gen chapter; Soul Calibur VI is set within the same timeline as the original Soul Calibur, but with an expanded story from the perspective of each individual character. The original Soul Calibur was also used as a reference point for art direction; according to Producer Motohiro Okubo, the title’s new look was obtained through Unreal Engine 4 and Project Soul’s own “Luxor” engine to emulate the overall brightness and lighting effects of the original game channeled through current-gen hardware.
Though Okubo remained tight-lipped on future characters and additional gameplay mechanics, the Soul Calibur VI Producer shed light on a new “Reversal Edge” technique; the Reversal Edge will bring gameplay down to a cinematic crawl when triggered, allowing the player to counter-attack after dodging or performing a successful parry. It’s more prominent with Mitsurugi due to the layering of his samurai armor, but costumes can potentially be destroyed over the course of a match, resulting in a minor decrease in defense.
Soul Calibur VI will release for PC, Xbox One and PS4 sometime in 2018.