June 13, 2007 - Following its quiet debut as a blurb hidden away in the back of Famitsu a few weeks back, Bandai Namco has at last unveiled Soul Calibur Legends in full. In addition to a new blowout on this week's Famitsu, Japan's Impress Watch gaming site reports that the game has gone playable for members of the press at the Namco Bandai Editor's Day in San Francisco.
Here's what Famitsu has to say about the game. Described by the magazine as a "gaiden," or "side story" in the series, Legends takes the series away from one on one fights and into 3rd-person "sword-based action," with players facing off against multiple enemies. simultaneously. Enemies consist of past Soul series fighters as well as some new beasts.
The game's main character appears to be newcomer Iska, a mysterious 16-year-old boy of imperial blood who sets out on travel with Siegfried Schtauffen. Siegfried is, of course, a veteran of the Soul Calibur series, and he's joined in Legends by Taki and Mitsurugi. While these latter three are confirmed as playable; we're not so sure about Iska at the moment. We've also been able to discern that Ivy will be a playable character as well.
Players use the Wiimote and nunchuck controllers to control their on-screen counterparts directly. Slashing the Wiimote horizontally or vertically results in respective horizontal and vertical slashes. The nunchuck is used to move your character around and can be shaken for evasion and other special types of movement. Buttons are included for jumping and guarding,
The control scheme will actually change depending on the character, with new playable characters being unveiled as you progress. Your current cast of characters will also grow as you play the game with new weapons and skills.
In addition to combat, players will have to deal with traps and other obstacles in dungeons. Stage layouts contribute to the fight as well; players will want to use height to their advantage.
Bosses also await. Players will be able to select two characters and freely switch between them, Famitsu states in describing one of the boss fights. It's unclear if this is true of the rest of the game.
Soul Calibur Legends is being produced by Jin Okubo and directed by Tetsuya Akatsuka, both familiar names for the series. In comments with the magazine, the two revealed that Legends is designed to be a game that will allow anyone to experience 3D sword combat through a simple control scheme.
Stages of play span five minutes on the low end all the way up to between fifteen and twenty minutes. This may seem like a low number, but Bandai Namco is planning "a considerable number of such stages," according to Akatsuka.
Legends may seem a bit like the strategic mission mode found in previous Soul games. However, according to Akatsuka, there's a big difference. While players could gather weapons to upgrade their characters via past mission modes, the effects of the weapons weren't necessarily clear. In Legends, the effects will be much clearer. For instance, a "flame sword" will come with skills that one would expect of such a sword.
In addition to single player play, Legends will also include multiplayer support. Players will be able to face off against one another and combat enemies cooperatively. While Okubo admits that the method of implementing the multiplayer modes is still under consideration, he expects the game to use a split screen setup in order to allow players to fully become their in-game counterparts.
Famitsu's first look at Soul Calibur Legends includes some slick screenshots which suggest a step up for the series visually from past entries. The game is reportedly 40% complete and is set for Japanese release this winter.