game news Soul Calibur 2: The game celebrates its 20th anniversary, a look back at Namco’s bold choice of console versions
Yesterday, July 10, 2022, the arcade version of Soul Calibur II celebrated its 20th anniversary. Following the release of the extraordinary Dreamcast of Soul Calibur, Namco attempted to continue this success by developing an even more exciting arcade sequel. Accompanied by Tekken 4, still dedicated to arcades, the title was finally taken down by Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution. But do you remember the console versions of Soul Calibur II? They had a privacy that remained in the memories!
Big Namco Announcement
At the end of 2002, the Japanese publisher Namco had to make a decision: the new version of Virtua Fighter 4, titled Evolution, destroyed everything in its path. SoulCalibur II and Tekken 4 failed to fundamentally change SEGA’s huge success, so the Tokyo company’s top authorities decided to respond by working hard on the console versions of Soul Calibur II. At the beginning of 2003, Namco organized a major press conference at the prestigious Imperial Hotel in Yarakucho, central Tokyo. Then the journalists present discovered that there was not just one, but three toys sealed with the Soul Calibur II seal!
Three characters for three controllers!
In order to strike hard and try to replace the Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution (which should also hit the console), Namco reveals – with the voice of Hiroaki Yotoriyama – that each version has its own new vibe! In addition to the Nakred Fighter, born from the pen of comic book artist Todd MacFarlane, each machine hosts an exclusive character! On PlayStation 2, players can play as Heihachi from Tekken. On Xbox, it’s the famous Spawn, once again made by McFarlane, who joins the cast! And on the Gamecube, which is probably the most emblematic version, it’s a direct link from The Legend of Zelda that players can control and face off!
Over time, we finally understood why Link was the more iconic character while the other two – except perhaps Spawn – made less of an impression. In fact, Namco sought Wolverine for the Xbox and Cloud version of Final Fantasy VII for the PlayStation 2 version. For the first time, the deal was too expensive for Namco. For the second, on the other hand, the agreement was almost completed and the developers only had to find a temporary solution at the end of development (according to Squaresoft’s transformation) thus integrating Heihachi from Tekken, a license belonging to them.
In fact, at the time, Namco had just signed a massive agreement with Nintendo to realize the future of Star Fox and a big presentation was dedicated to the Nintendo/Namco deal highlighting the Link on Soul Calibur II Gamecube. So, we understand why and how successful this release is.
Since then, the Soul Calibur series has lost its aura, but do you remember Soul Calibur II and its various characters? For those who have tried its release (or later), do you have one or more versions?