Tokyo Game Show 2018 marked the return of lavish and loud booths to the halls of the Makuhari Messe convention center, and GameSpot’s annual visit to Bandai Namco’s headquarters. While there, we got a fresh look at games like Ace Combat 7 and Jump Force, and a first look Katamari Damacy Reroll, the upcoming remaster of the PS2 classic.
We were also afforded a chance to chat with SoulCalibur VI producer Motohiro Okubo, and we used the opportunity to find out exactly what to expect from the new SoulCalibur’s two story modes, Libra of Souls and Chronicle of the Soul. In addition, we dove into character customization and how the process compares to previous games in the series.
(The following interview has been edited for flow and clarity.)
GameSpot: Can you summarize your approach to SoulCalibur VI’s story modes?
Okubo: When we started development on SoulCalibur VI, we revisited all the titles from the past. We had many discussions and did lots of analysis. As we expected, the important takeaway was that a lot of players enjoyed the single-player modes. That’s why we tried very hard to include two separate story modes [in SoulCalibur VI.]
The first mode is Chronicle of the Soul. This will go back to the timeline of SoulCalibur 1 and 2, and we also wanted to go back to Soul Edge, but with some new interpretations for players to experience. As you know, SoulCalibur and Soul Edge are the most iconic swords in the series, so you will see how they were created in the first place; the official history of the world of SoulCalibur. You may have already heard this, but in Chronicle of Soul, you will see the years shift along the series’ timeline as you progress.
The other story mode is called Libra of Souls, which has a world map that you explore to look for and collect new weapons, or reinforce your existing items in a role-playing fashion. The character that you create will be the protagonist. The Libra of Souls has a story as well. In relation to Chronicle of Souls, it takes place at the same time, and you will see some synchronization between the two.
So, Chronicle of Soul is going to present the official history of SoulCalibur, while Libra of Souls will show an alternate perspective. Libra of Souls will allow you to define your own fate, and uncover hidden stories behind the scenes.
Can you use the character you’ve created in Libra of Souls in other modes, or online?
No you can’t use them online…not even locally. There is a separate character creation mode, separate from Libra of Souls. In this mode, you can create and customize different item sets, but you cannot reinforce them.
How does the character customization in general compare to previous SoulCalibur games?
Actually, there will be fewer items compared to SoulCalibur V, but what’s new is the ability to choose the race of your character. First, you select your race, then define your look, and then you get into traditional SoulCalibur character creation.
Can you use standard characters as the basis for your custom character?
You can. First you will get to choose either a standard character, or start from scratch.
What are the plans for DLC related to character customization, or will everything be available from the start?
We are selling a season pass, and we have a plan to add two packs for customization. They are not finished yet, We are currently working hard on these and losing a lot of sleep! (laughs)
When you envision the competitive future for SoulCalibur VI, how important is the eSports scene?
Yeah, the esports community is very important and influential, these days. But from the beginning, we decided not to prioritize them alone, and we wanted to make sure that all types of players could enjoy the excitement of combat and the depth of the battle system. Now that we have lots of pro players trying the game, that has helped us find a good balance, and it now feels like SoulCalibur VI could be played at an esports event. We feel that such growth comes from the community itself, so if there’s support, it could naturally be played at an esports level.
SoulCalibur obviously came from Japan, and there’s still a passionate fanbase in Japan that still plays the old games in the arcade. This is the type of player we focused on the most up until SoulCalibur 5. In the US, we think that more people play fighting games at home with friends, and we know that players like to put a lot of hours into different types of fighting game story modes.
Considering esports, with Tekken 7, it was important to us that we tapped into that trend, but with SoulCalibur VI we revisited all the past titles to try to gather and perfect the best parts of the series’ history.