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Still burning: Hisaharu Tago on Soul Calibur’s epic return

Tuesday, 17 May 2011 08:18 GMT By Keza Macdonald

Following the announcement of Soul Calibur V in Dubai last week, producer Hisaharu Tago speaks to Keza MacDonald about the series’s grand return, the general state of the genre and more.

Soul Calibur V

Revered 3D fantasy fighter. Part of the Soul series, which initially launched with Soul Edge in 1996.

Announced at Namco’s Level Up event in Dubai earlier this month.

A continuation of the SCIV storyline and features Patroklos, Sophitia’s son, as lead.

Releasing in 2012.

The Soul Calibur 5 announcement was the biggest thing to come out of Namco Bandai’s Level-Up event in Dubai last week. Strangely, though, we weren’t given so much as a glimpse of the game itself – just that trailer, with its brief Siegfried cameo and loving pans of new boy Patroklus. It’s perhaps not surprising that Namco Bandai was reluctant to give away too many details so close to E3, but even thirty seconds of gameplay footage would have been more than enough to whet fans’ appetites.

What we did get in Dubai was twenty minutes with the game’s amiable and animated producer, Hisaharu Tago, who proved an entertaining and enthusiastic spokesperson for Team Soul, even if he couldn’t tell us much. His thoughts on the continuing evolution of the fighting genre, and on Soul Calibur 5′s place within it, are impressively on the money. He also looks pretty good with an oversized sword. What follows is everything we could squeeze out of him on multiplayer, guest characters, the plot, character customisation and much else – look out for more details around E3.

VG247: The star of the trailer, Patroklus, is the son of Sophita – will we see expansions of other characters’ families?

Hisaharu Tago: I can’t really give any details just yet, but please do speculate all you like.

Can you name any other old characters who will make a return, apart from Siegfried?

And again, as for which characters from 4 will come to 5, I can’t give any more names yet. Just Siegfried is concerned.

What about stages? Are we going to see a mix of classic and new, or will they all be new?

Of course we are going to have some new stages, because this is a new setting and a new story. But we will probably have some of the most popular stages from the other Soul Caliburs make a return. But since the story is happening 17 years after the last game, we are going to adapt those stages, and have new ones that match that new era. I will let you imagine what that might be.

You can’t tell me anything about the plot, can you?

[Laughs] No. But I think you’re thinking along the right lines, based on your previous questions. Of course we can’t say anything concrete right now, so you’ll have to use your imagination.

Are long juggles going to be preserved, or is the balance and nature of the battle system going to be changed?

Considering air combos, of course this is one of the features of the games – there are moves that launch people into the air and allow you to strike them a few times before they come down – and this is a feature that is standard for fighting games now, but it is not the only thing in the tactics of Soul Calibur gameplay. There are many other aspects to the tactics of the fight.

How is the flow of battle going to change, if at all?

It’s getting faster and lighter. But this is not the core of Soul Calibur, it’s more like an adjustment that corresponds to the new standard in fighting games. We have to be at the kind of speed that players expect from us. The core of the system, though, is tactics, moving not only from left to right but also front and behind, circle strafing, ducking behind other characters for a backstab – this is the Soul Calibur gameplay core, these tactical elements, including the air combos that I was just talking about.

An off-screen vid of the Soul Calibur V trailer
from Dubai.

What is important, when it comes to new features, is having lighter gameplay, something that would be more accessible. For example, you want to be able to push a button and dash behind an enemy almost instantly, to make it more accessible and fluid and fun to play. That’s the most important update to the gameplay system.

Would you like to include guest characters? Who would you like to see?

I would like to. Along with character creation, I think these are two features that are very important to the identity of Soul Calibur, so of course we are deeply thinking of having that sort of feature in Soul Calibur 5. What was important for us in previous games was to be able to surprise the players with the kind of guest characters we brought in. We are really looking forward to surprising them again.

The fighting genre has had a bit of a rebirth lately, with the Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat reboots contributing strongly to a sense of regeneration. What do you think of those?

We are very happy to see that happening, because the fighting game genre had been in decline – there were less and less games and less and less fans playing them. But over the past few years it’s boomed again, thanks to things like Street Fighter 4, and Mortal Kombat, and all these games are breathing new life into the fighting game genre.

It’s thanks to the fans as well, because they are asking for it, and there’s a lot of excitement around it, and we’re grateful for that. It’s not only Soul Calibur that benefits – some other old franchises are coming back, and there all this excitement really benefits everyone.

After Broken Destiny the Soul Calibur team was disbanded to work on different projects, but thanks to this new excitement and the fans that were asking for a new Soul Calibur, we were able to reform the team. So thankyou, we are really grateful!

Do you consider the fighting game developers and players to be one big community, or many smaller ones?

Of course I think it’s like a big family, because all of the fighting games have their place within the genre. We are not really competitors, it’s more like we complement each other, because every franchise like Street Fighter has its perks, Tekken has its perks, Soul Calibur has its perks, and people will like one franchise for one reason and another for other reasons. It’s more like different franchises that together build what is the fighting game genre.

2D fighting has had at least two high-profile rebirths. What about 3D fighters? Are they experiencing the same regeneration?

2D games have been evolving for a long time, it’s a very old fighting style. It’s like a legend in the fighting genre, and it’s always improved, and it’s coming back stronger. But with 3D fighters, Soul Calibur is almost unique in this kind of fighting style, with three-dimensional movement. So if Soul Calibur is not evolving, the 3D fighter is not evolving either. So having Soul Calibur 5 coming out, with all these new features, is the first step towards further evolution of the 3D fighting genre. And there’s plenty to be done with it.

Have you got any plans for online that you can tell me about?

Online features in fighting games are standard right now. We have to have online features, so of course SC5 will have them. Of course there’s versus – playing against a real human rather than a machine – but it’s far more than that nowadays, because you have communities of fighters. Having to just randomly fight someone is not enough, because if you fight against someone who’s a lot stronger than you, you just lose and are frustrated. And the guy who won, he won too easily, so he’s frustrated too.

That is not a good thing. Of course everybody wants to win, and everyone wants a challenge. What is important in the genre right now is to be able to identify the players, and choose who to play with. But there are people who just want to fight all the time and win as much as they can, and people who want to show off the cool character they’ve made, show off their outfit. So even inside the big community there are smaller communities – the character creation fans, the tournament fans, whatever else. So the challenge for online features today, and for Soul Calibur today, is to be able to take this community into account and make it easy for them to interact how they want.

Soul Calibur V releases in 2012.

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5 Comments

  1. cheesy

    i remember soul caliber, sold to me as a kid when i was back in school i still play it now!

    #1 4 years ago
  2. xino

    i hope the stupid casual dress up feature gets toned down. People should be playing SC4 online and fighting not by creating countless characters.

    if 4 to 5 characters are returning, it will obviously be the most used characters such as Mitsurigi, Ivy, Taki and other characters.

    its good that SC5 will retain the SC2 speed.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Freek

    Since this game almost only exists as fan service, I woulden’t be surprised to see all characters returning, with one or two new ones thrown in.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. LOLshock94

    i cant wait but the only thing which bothers me is the story mode. SC4 story mode was awful, but i am glad they went back to SC2s roots for SC2 was by ar the best SC

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Gheritt White

    SC5 needs to bring back SC2′s team versus (or versus ladder, whatever) mode.

    #5 4 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    SoulCalibur developers are probably working on a new game, because they’re asking fans to vote on their favourite characters. Project Soul, the longtime developer of the SoulCalibur series is soliciting feedback on fans’ favourite characters. The developer said as much in a post on its Facebook page. “Calling all SoulCalibur Fans! Project Soul would like […]

  • Jason Voorhees doesn’t look out of place in new Mortal Kombat X trailer

    Jason Voorhees comes to Mortal Kombat X starting tomorrow and it’s time to celebrate his arrival. Jason Voorhees, the first DLC character for Mortal Kombat X has been given the trailer treatment. Jason is part of the game’s Kombat Pack, owners of which can start using him tomorrow, May 5. Being an iconic horror character, […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition – Dragonslayer DLC announced, free to all this week

    Dragon Age: Inquisition is getting a multiplayer expansion this week. BioWare has announced that all owners of Dragon Age: Inquisition will receive a new multiplayer expansion, for free. The expansion is called Dragonslayer and it’s centred around fighting dragons, hence the name. Three new playable characters will join the roster as you explore an all-new […]

  • Sonder is still happening, and this is the best news of the week

    Sonder is a really interesting-looking new indie adventure, which I am quite excited to remember exists. We first heard about Sonder in late 2013, when its debut trailer introduced us to a Kamai Media’s ambitious vision. In the intervening months Kamai has been hard at work on its space station management sim slash non-linear narrative […]

  • Twitter axes playable Internet Archive embeds

    The dream has died: Twitter has disabled Internet Archive game embeds. Remember how for a few days you could tweet a link to an a game on the Internet Archive and it was playable direct from that tweet? Well, Twitter has cancelled that. All those tweets now just show links. GamesIndustry suspects it has something […]

  • Lords of the Fallen, Divinity: Original Sin developers will reveal new games at E3 2015

    Lords of the Fallen developer Deck13 and Divinity: Original Sin developer Larian Studios have new projects in the works which will be revealed at E3 2015. Publisher Focus Home Interactive is behind both new games. In a French press release [PDF] spotted by RPG Codex, Focus said it will show off the two unrevealed titles […]

  • Rare game announce expected at E3 2015

    Rare’s new game will be shown off at E3 2015, apparently. Rare hasn’t announced a reveal, and neither has Microsoft, but it looks like the news has slipped out anyway. IGN cites a tweet from Rare creative director Simon Woodroffe in which he says that a new project from Rare designer Gregg Mayles will be […]

  • Batgirl expansion included in $40 Batman: Arkham Knight season pass

    Here’s what you get in the $40 Batman: Arkham Knight season pass. Batman: Arkham Knight’s season pass was announced last week, but apart from the news that it would cost a whopping $40/£33, we didn’t get many details of what it would include. Thankfully, Warner Bros. has since acknowledged the clamour this caused, as players […]

  • Star Wars Day Xbox sale discounts Force Unleashed, Lego games

    Star Wars Day is upon us, and here’s an Xbox sale to mark it. Microsoft is offering discounts on Xbox 360 games to celebrate May 4. From my desk here in Australia the sale is a bit light on content – two Lego games, plus The Force Unleashed and its DLC packs. Your mileage may […]

  • Here’s hoping this tease means we see Mass Effect at E3 2015

    Mass Effect boss Mike Gamble has shared a teaser image, which we’re more than happy to draw speculative conclusions from. The new Mass Effect game in the works at BioWare Edmonton is a mysterious beast. Judging by how long it’s been in development, it feels like we’re about due for a proper reveal, to clear […]

  • Watch almost a whole hour of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is almost here. Are you ready for old-school shooter action? Wolfenstein: The Old Blood publisher Bethesda livestreamed almost an hour of the Machine Games shooter recently, and has now uploaded the archive to YouTube. Check it out below: Wolfenstein: The Old Blood launches digitally on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on […]

  • Splatoon lacks voice chat to promote a positive online experience

    Nintendo’s multiplayer game Splatoon will not contain a voice chat option in order to “focus on the positive aspects” of online gaming. Speaking in the latest issue of Edge magazine (thanks, GamesRadar), Splatoon co-director Yusuke Amano said personal experience with negativity in online voice chat was one of the main reasons for excluding the feature. […]

  • D4 on PC: differences from Xbox One version, system specs announced

    D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die – Season 1 is coming to PC, and Access Games has provided a list of features different from the Xbox One version. We’ve pulled most of the changes off the game’s website and posted them below, along with the PC specs. D4 on PC Kinect gesture input controls replaced with […]

  • The Megalodon returns to Battlefield 4 with the latest CTE patch

    The Megalodon Easter Egg in Battlefield 4 may have been removed earlier this year from Naval Strike, but it has since resurfaced on the CTE with the latest patch. I’d make a Jaws reference, but it’s been done to death. The shark is shown in the video on the Paracel Storm map which was where […]

  • Survival horror game Kodoku has a new work-in-progress trailer

    Kodoku, the survival horror title from Carnivore Studio, has a new work-in-progress video available, showing you how the game is coming along. Announced for PlayStation 4 and Vita back in 2013, the game is slated for release sometime this year, and tasks the player with avoiding mythical Japanese ghosts using only magic and stealth. Thanks, […]

  • Current HoloLens prototype has noticeably “tighter” FoV compared to January build

    Microsoft’s augmented reality headset HoloLens is still very much in the prototype stage, according to various reports out of the Build Conference. Microsoft hasn’t discussed technical specs with the press yet as nothing is set in stone, but during a hands-on at Build, Ars Technica noticed the prototypes had a “x86 processor, 2GB RAM, 802.11ac […]

  • Silent Hills petition asking Konami to continue development has over 50,000 signatures

    A petition to save the Silent Hills game has been formed by fans in the hopes Konami will change its mind and bring the collaboration with Guillermo del Toro back from the dead. Konami confirmed on Monday the Silent Hill remake from film director Del Toro and Metal Gear’s Hideo Kojima had been cancelled, but […]

  • Attack on Titan has a US release date, title changed in EU over copyright claim

    Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains will be released under a different title in Europe, according to the publisher, and while a release date has been set for North America, the same cannot be said for fans across the pond. According to Atlus, a copyright claim in Europe has forced the company to publish the […]

  • Yooka-Laylee meets final Kickstarter Stretch Goal in less than 24 hours

    The Kickstarter for Playtonic’s Yooka-Laylee sailed beyond its final £1 million ($1.5 million) Stretch Goal overnight, which will allow for a simultaneous release on all announced platforms. Once funded, Yooka-Laylee was slated for release on Linux, Mac, PC, PlayStation 4, Wii U, and Xbox One; however, a simultaneous release on all platforms wasn’t guaranteed unless […]

  • Not a Hero will miss its May 7 release date, but not by much

    Not a Hero will miss its May 7 release date, according to an announcement from Roll7. Not to worry though, it’s only by a week. According to the developer, the delay is due to “having undergone super-secret upgrades to crank shit up to 60fps.” The extra week will provide the additional time needed for tweaking […]

  • Assassin’s Creed, The Crew, Far Cry 4, other Ubisoft titles on sale through the Humble Store

    Ubisoft has put a number of its games on sale through the Humble Store. Franchises Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry are on discount as are single release titles. The list of games on sale are below. For pricing in your region, head over to the Humble Store. Anno 2070 Complete Edition Assassin’s Creed 3 Assassin’s […]

  • Payday 2: Repeater rifle, Peacemaker pistol introduced with The Butcher’s Western Pack

    Overkill Software released the 21st DLC pack for Payday 2 yesterday, titled The Butcher’s Western Pack. The pack will run you $4.99/€4.99 and other digital distribution channels. “For our 21st DLC we go back in time to visit the Wild West and the arsenal it was known for,” said the developers. “With it we’re introducing […]

  • The Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter just launched and has already met its funding goal

    Playtonic Games launched the Kickstarter campaign for Yooka-Laylee at 5pm UK, and in just over 30 minutes it already hit its $270,000 funding goal. You can watch the funding counter continue to roll over through the link. Yooka-Laylee is a 3D platformer where the characters use special moves such as Yooka’s tongue grapple and Laylee’s […]

  • Batch of hi-res Persona 5 screenshots released by PlayStation Japan

    A set of screenshots have been released for Persona 5, and while you’ve seen these before in magazines and on the official website, these are high-res versions. Some will even look familiar to those who watched the first gameplay trailer back in February. The shots were posted over on the PlayStation Japan Persona 5 game […]

  • Is Alien: Isolation getting HTC Vive support?

    Placeholder images for SteamVR icons have been found and it looks like there may be support for Alien: Isolation, so if you enjoy soiling yourself, get psyched! NeoGAF members found a thread on Reddit, where a little rooting around in a Steam directory unearthed the images. The list includes both games and apps, and as […]

  • Xbox Live multiplayer is free this weekend on Xbox 360

    Xbox 360 players in all Xbox Live regions can play multiplayer online for free this weekend. If you are a Silver member, this means you are Golden from May 1-3 and can play multiple games online with your buddies. All you have to do is log-in to Xbox Live.

  • Assassin’s Creed actor Michael Fassbender confirms film production starts September

    The Assassin’s Creed movie will start production this fall, actor Michael Fassbender (Prometheus, 300, X-Men:First Class) as confirmed. Speaking with ComingSoon.net, Fassbender said filming will start in September, which is inline with Ubisoft’s announcement in February. The actor will star in the film alongside Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard, both reuniting with their MacBeth director Justin […]

  • Eve Online boss states VR won’t be as big as we think next year

    I don’t think I’m the only one who wants VR to hurry up and manifest into a Sword Art Online-esque reality. Unfortunately, the chief executive officer at the studio behind Eve Online doesn’t think that will be happening any time soon. Talking to Venture Beat, Hilmar Veigar Pétursson touched on his excitement at the prospects […]

  • The Last of Us: Left Behind goes standalone in May on PS3, PS4

    Naughty Dog has announced that The Last of US DLC Left Behind will be released as a standalone experience next month. It can be purchased for both PlayStation 3 and PS4 through the PS Store and a two-hour demo of the Factions multiplayer will also be made available. “The Left Behind standalone game will have […]