game news Soul Calibur 2: The Game Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary, A Look Back At Namco’s Bold Choice For Console Versions
Yesterday, July 10, 2022, the arcade version of Soul Calibur II celebrated its 20th anniversary. After the extraordinary Dreamcast edition of Soul Calibur, Namco tried to build on this success by developing an even more spectacular arcade sequel. Accompanied by Tekken 4, still destined for arcades, the title was eventually swept away by a certain Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution. But do you remember the console versions of Soul Calibur II? They had a peculiarity that remained in the memory!
Namco’s big announcement
At the end of 2002, the Japanese publisher Namco had to decide: the new edition of virtual fighter 4titled Evolutionterrace everything in its path. SoulCalibur II Y tekken 4 cannot shake SEGA’s mega hit, so the high authorities of the Tokyo firm decide to react by working hard for the console versions of Soul Calibur II. In early 2003, Namco held a major press conference at the prestigious Yarakucho Imperial Hotel in central Tokyo. The journalists present then discovered the existence of not just one, but three Soul Calibur II games!
Three characters for three consoles!
To hit hard and try to supplant Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution (which should also come to the console), Namco, by the voice of Hiroaki Yotoriyama, reveals that each version has its new character. In addition to the fighter Necrid, born from the pencil of comic book artist Todd McFarlane, each machine houses an exclusive character! On PlayStation 2, players can play as Heihachi from tekken. On Xbox, it’s the famous Spawn, again the brainchild of McFarlane, who joins the cast! And on the Gamecube, probably the most iconic version, it’s frankly Link from The legend of Zelda that players can control and compete against!
Over time, we finally understood why Link was the most iconic character, while the other two, aside from perhaps Spawn, made less of an impression. In fact, Namco sought to get Wolverine for the Xbox and Cloud version of final fantasy VII for the PlayStation 2 version. For the former, the deal was too expensive for Namco. For the second, on the other hand, the agreement was almost concluded and it was only at the end of development that the developers had to find an improvised solution (following Squaresoft’s change of heart) and thus integrate Heihachi from Tekken, a license belonging to to them
In fact, at the time, Namco had just signed a huge deal with Nintendo for the making of a future star fox and a grand presentation of the Nintendo/Namco deal was dedicated with Link’s featured performance in Soul Calibur II Gamecube. Therefore, we understand why this version was so successful and impactful.
Since then, the Soul Calibur series has lost its aura, but do you remember Soul Calibur II and its various characters? For those who lived through its release (or later), did you have one or more versions?