The Soulcalibur franchise is a long-running series of weapon-based fighting games that began in 1995 with the release of Soul Edge for the arcades. The series has since spawned six main installments, as well as a number of spin-offs and crossover games. Only a few years back, it was among the most popular fighting game franchises, competing against the genre’s juggernauts, such as Street Fighter and Tekken.
You can give the game a try by playing Soul Calibur VI on your PlayStation console. Check out this link to find out more.
But where is it today? How come Soulcalibur seemingly just disappeared overnight? What happened to the franchise? In this article, we aim to take a look at the Soulcalibur franchise and its state in the current gaming landscape. Read on as we find out what really happened to the Soulcalibur franchise and how it can make a resounding comeback.
Soulcalibur: What Made It Special
The Soulcalibur series has always been known for its unique blend of fantasy and historical elements, as well as its deep and rewarding combat system. While this isn’t new to the fighting game genre, what separated Soulcalibur from its contemporaries is its clever approach to combat. Instead of the traditional hand-to-hand combat prevalent in Street Fighter and Tekken, Soulcalibur turned its focus to the weapons.
Every character specializes in a specific weapon that alters the overall player experience and playstyle. On one hand, you can wield a samurai sword and thrive on precise striking and well-timed slashes. On the other, you can use a sword that extends like a whip to dominate the mid-range and comfortably deal with your enemies from a distance. Those are just a few examples of how varied fights can be in Soulcalibur solely for its clever emphasis on weapons.
Furthermore, the games have also featured a wide cast of memorable characters, each with their own unique fighting style and personality. On top of concocting their own great characters, Soulcalibur smartly included guest characters on their mainline entries to shake up the formula.
Take, for example, Darth Vader in Soulcalibur IV and Link himself in Soulcalibur II. This serves two purposes. One is to attract fans of the specific guest character to give the franchise a chance. The other is to generate excitement around the game as gamers and analysts alike will continue to come up with theories and conclusions on which characters will pop up next in every installment.
It is also worth noting that the franchise opts to include different guest characters for each port of the game. The guest characters you can play depend on the system you are playing on and that just makes things more exciting in our opinion.
Its Eventual Downfall
The series has been a critical and commercial success, with each installment selling millions of copies worldwide. However, the Soulcalibur franchise has seen a decline in popularity in recent years. The last main installment, Soulcalibur VI, was released in 2018 to mixed reviews. The game was praised for its graphics and gameplay but criticized for its lack of content and online features.
Five years forward, there is still no direct follow-up to the series. Apart from speculations and rumors that the seventh installment is on the way, there is literally nothing left for series fans to cling to. There is no other way of saying it, Soulcalibur is declining, and pretty fast at that. If nothing is done quickly, the franchise could just as easily fall into obscurity and be forgotten.
With that said, here are a few reasons why we think the Soulcalibur franchise is quickly losing momentum:
- The rise of other popular fighting games. The Soulcalibur franchise has always faced stiff competition from other popular fighting games, such as Tekken and Street Fighter. In recent years, these games have only become more popular, making it more difficult for Soulcalibur to stand out.
- The increasing popularity of online gaming. Online gaming has become increasingly popular in recent years, and this has made it easier for players to compete against each other in other fighting games. Soulcalibur, on the other hand, has not been as successful in the online gaming space.
- The lack of a new main installment in the series. The last main installment in the Soulcalibur series, Soulcalibur VI, was released in 2018. Since then, there has been no new main installment in the series. This has led to some fans losing interest in the franchise.
Despite these challenges, the Soulcalibur franchise is still a strong brand with a loyal following. It remains to be seen whether the series will be able to make a comeback in the future. However, with the right support from Bandai Namco, there is no reason why the Soulcalibur franchise cannot regain its former glory.
In our honest opinion, Soulcalibur can start regaining the glory it once had by simply releasing a new game. It does not matter if it’s the seventh entry, going in an entirely new direction, or rebooting the series altogether. As long as fans of the franchise can get something, that is a great first step. The fact that the series went silent for so long is the main culprit for its apparent downfall. That could easily be rectified by announcing something in the coming gaming events or showcases.
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