A 46-year-old female ninja with a preference for revealing red tights may still have a place in the next Soulcalibur game, according to its creators - the same creators that found a way to make Soulcalibur's Ivy look remarkably young in her advancing years.
At Comic-Con last week, the people making Soulcalibur V, a development team named Project Soul, added three new characters to the game's roster of historical fighters, Ivy, Zwei and Natsu. The first is a returning fighter, now 49 by the game's calendar, but physically still a 32-year-old.
Soulcalibur V producer Hisaharu Tago explained to Kotaku that Ivy's inability to age is related to the power that she draws from her evil sword. Tago said that, at least in her mind, Ivy has matured.
"One way to show that was to make a difference in her outfit," Tago said through a translator, adding that Ivy is something of a more motherly figure in Soulcalibur V. She takes a step back from that ultimate goal of destroying the Soul Edge, Tago said, to lead the younger generation of fighters.
Natsu, Tago explained, is a disciple of Soulcalibur ninja mainstay Taki, and largely a replacement for the character who fights with dual kodachi swords. Tago says that Natsu will borrow many of Taki's trademark moves, but that she's young, "a little rebellious" and "doesn't want to copy what her master does or what she looks like."
As for her master? "Taki is, of course, not dead," Tago stressed. He wouldn't confirm whether she'd be a playable character, but said "there is a possibility that you'll see an older Taki" in Soulcalibur V. "In terms of her outfit, we don't know if she'll be in body tights," he joked.
Zwei, the third new character and the lone male, will use a "very original fighting style," Tago said. "In addition to the fighting style that you've seen with the sword, there could be some other fighting styles." Zwei, however, is not a stance-based fighter.
Soulcalibur V is adding more than just a newer, younger-skewing cast of characters. The fighting system is adding to game-changers, Critical Edge and Quick Move.
Critical Edge is an evolution of the Critical Finish move introduced in Soulcalibur IV and Broken Destiny. Concerned that Critical Finish moves were simply too imbalanced in the previous game, the Project Soul team has added new super moves that will "shave off about a third of the life of your opponent," according to Tago. These are flashy, "eye-candy" type moves analogous to the Super Moves of Street Fighter games.
Quick Move, Tago explained, is a revamped side-stepping move, a dodge that will rapidly put a player behind his or her opponent to open the window to attack. It's a simple double-tap of the directional pad or stick, Tago says, which makes some attacks easier to evade while bringing a more exaggerated, more dynamic addition to the game's combat.
Soulcalibur V is currently announced for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, a game expected to hit sometime in 2012.