SoulCalibur V launch: Namco on the genre fighting back

By Johnny Cullen
2 February 2012 19:41 GMT

Ahead of tomorrow’s launch of SoulCalibur V, Namco Bandai has said the resurgence of the fighting genre spurred by the return of Street Fighter will continue to improve over a “period of time.”

“We see community events being very important moving forward to help grow the genre.

Namco Bandai UK marketing director Lee Kirton told VG247 earlier this week that events such as December’s Fight Club, where the UK games industry and fans of both Street Fighter and Tekken turned up to raise money for UK games charity GamesAid and meet producers Yoshi Ono and Katsuhiro Harada, have shown there’s never been a better time to be a fan of the genre.

“The fighting genre has had a much needed boost since the launch of Street Fighter IV and Tekken 6,” said Kirton. “Both of these fighters and even the more ‘violent’ offering Mortal Kombat have managed to shift a fair amount of units.”

He continued: “Personally I see it improving over a period of time. It’s where it all started. It’s proper social gaming where players can interact properly and share in their success. Obviously the online element is there as well, but the fighting genre has always been about social and community.

“Fight Club was brilliant, and exactly the sort of thing our industry should be engaging in. We were happy to have most competitor publishers share in it with Namco and Capcom [with Street Fighter x Tekken], and we see community events being very important moving forward to help grow the genre. I remember playing SF in a video store near where I lived with a mate and that was an amazing experience. We need to remember that this genre is still important.”

Reviews have been good for the fighter so far, with added scores including an 89 from X360A and an eight from IncGamers. Kirton said he’s pleased outlets have “taken on board the great amount of work that Project Soul has put into the title.”

But while those who’ve hung onto the series since it began in 1999 – maybe even longer with 1996 predcursor Soul Blade – are sure to be interested in SoulCalibur V, Namco has done everything in its power to drag in new fans.

“We have worked hard in the UK to focus on community first and involve SoulCalibur V in all the events we are doing with Capcom and Ubisoft. We believe that the existing fanbase will love this new Soul title and fans of other fighters and weapon weiding action games will be equally enjoy it. Obviously, Assassin’s Creed fans also have Ezio at their hands.”

The release of SCV – announced last year in Dubai after development was revealed in Christmas 2010 – is an exciting one for Namco UK.

“This is the first SoulCalibur title we in the UK office have worked on,” said Kirton. “We’ve done a lot to try and make it stand out in the crowd. We may have an easier time with Tekken as the community is more active, but we know that people are loving this title.”

Watch on YouTube

Ezio in Soul Calibur V.
A far cry from Assassin’s Creed.

“We’ve tried some clever marketing with the outdoor Graffiti stunt with End of the Line, and also the weekly Soul Calibur workout at Westfield Gymbox.

“We have some other activities to unleash as well as the tournaments throughout the year.”

It’s not the only big title out this week, however. Square Enix comes calling with Final Fantasy XIII-2 tomorrow, too.

“Going head to head at retail with a mega-title like FF will always worry us in the current climate, but both games are very different. Soul has it’s place in the market and those that played Soul Calibur IV should look at this as something new.”

Namco Bandai has already announced the first pieces of DLC for SoulCalibur V, which consist of customisation options. In regards to new levels, characters and and more from DLC, Kirton wouldn’t comment other than to say, “Watch this space.”

Soul Calibur V launches tomorrow in the UK for PS3 and 360.

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