Capcom planning to revive dormant IPs

A lot of gaming news and announcements completely fail to enter my sphere of interest these days but, sometimes, I see/hear something that I can’t help but be excited for. It’s these little moments that remind me that, as much as I have cooled-off on the hobby in recent years, I still love gaming. Such was the case when I saw the news that Capcom is planning to “revive dormant IPs”

In fact, I was so pumped, that I decided to make a quick post about this news. First thing’s first though: I read this on The Fighters Generation, a website dedicated to fighting game news, reviews and artwork that any fan of the genre really should have saved in their bookmarks/favourites.

And HERE is a direct link the story.

Apparently, Capcom’s confidence in their classic franchises has been bolstered by the success of Devil May Cry 5, Resident Evil 2 Remake, Monster Hunter World and the collective sales of 18.5 million units.

Naturally, the potential here is incredible. Capcom’s back catalogue is enormously impressive and I believe most gamers could think of a franchise or standalone game that had the Capcom logo on the box, and that they would like to see revived going into 2020 and beyond. Obviously, it’s far too early to get any hopes up yet but I’m going to throw caution to the wind and list off the top five games (in no order) that I would like to see announced…

Darkstalkers

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[Image Source]
It should come as no surprise – given the name of this blog – that I have always been a huge fan of Darkstalkers. It’s basically Street Fighter with vampires and mummies but Darkstalkers is so much more than that. The beautiful 2D art style lent a colourful and playful comic-book style to characters and themes rooted in horror. It was also an incredibly creative series with crazy moves and nutty supers that were a gazillion times more interesting to behold than Street Fighter‘s equivalents. And that’s saying something when much of Ryu and co.’s pyrotechnics, gravity-defying punches and outrageous super moves weren’t exactly grounded in reality in the first place.

In theory, a new Darkstalkers should be a success. After all, you only need to look at how popular and enduring the characters still are. However, Capcom have a recent history of trolling the fanbase with various hints and rumours that haven’t led anywhere unless you count Darkstalkers Resurrection for PS3/360 which was just a duo of tarted-up ports.

This being one of my absolute favourite series’ of all-time, I do have some reservations, however. Firstly, the game really needs a sumptuous 2D style to do the originals justice. I know that hand-animating genuine 2D sprites and backgrounds is no longer a viable thing in the industry but I’d happily settle for a convincing imitation. The King of Fighters XIII and Blazblue spring to mind, for example. But knowing Capcom, they will likely fall back on the tried-and-tested 2.5D style that has powered recent Street Fighters and MvC games.

Secondly, I will be underwhelmed (to say the least) if a new Darkstalkers becomes the next Street Fighter V and adopts the same rushed launch, DLC/F2P approach and focus on online play. And please, no petty stuff like censoring Morrigan’s cleavage or putting Felicia in a nun’s outfit (and yes, I know that that actually happened in one of her endings).

Capcom Vs SNK 3

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The timing for a third installment in the CvSNK series has never been better. SNK are riding high at the moment with the successes of KOF XIV and Samurai Shodown (both great games) and they have been setting the fighting game world alight with mini crossovers. Mai Shiranui slotted neatly into Dead or Alive, Geese Howard brought his counter-attacks to Tekken 7 and Terry Bogard has starred in TWO non-SNK games – Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Fighting EX Layer.

So why not blow the minds of fighting game fans and bring back the crossover series that gamers have been clamouring for for so long? The potential is immense. So many new characters have established themselves on both sides of the Capcom/SNK divide in the last twenty years so there’s ample room to spice up the roster. They could even expand it some more so that it doesn’t feel like just Street Fighter vs King of Fighters. Tatsunoko Vs Capcom and the last two Marvel Vs Capcom installments have shown that the developer isn’t averse to some left-field thinking and sending out tournament invites to characters not traditionally associated with their fighting games.

As with Darkstalkers, my main reservations would be the visual style and whether a CvSNK3 would become DLC: The Game. I have to be honest though: neither would put me off playing it.

Haunting Ground

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A bit of a different survival horror game that didn’t do brilliantly at retail first time around, but now commands a fair price on the second-hand market due to gamers eager to play what they missed out on. Away from commercial success (or lack of), Haunting Ground was a interesting game from the same publisher that brought us Resident Evil. Unlike that series, however, the protagonist – Fiona Belli – didn’t fight back against the sinister enemies stalking her. The twist was that you really were just a frightened teenage girl, trapped in a massive castle, and being hunted by the owner’s servants.

Fiona had to avoid her enemies and hide in closets or underneath beds and it was very tense, knowing that you may or may not be discovered. She also had her faithful canine companion, Hewie – a German Shepard that could be instructed to attack enemies or retrieve out-of-reach items. You had to look after Hewie though, and keep him healthy so it almost felt as if you were building a genuine relationship with this dog, Fiona’s only friend and – in many cases – chance of survival.

Haunting Ground had such a fantastic, chilling atmosphere. There were only three enemies in the game but the threat of being found, and knowing that you could only flee in terror, ramped the tension up to often unbearable levels. Fiona could also fall into a state of panic if she was exposed to too much. Visibility worsened, she could start running about of her accord and could even fall over. Staving off exhaustion played a key part in keeping Fiona’s sanity at healthy levels and preventing a dehibilitating state of panic from setting in, so you had to be careful not to run too much or abuse the backstep and tackle abilities.

It was such a creative and original survival horror game. It also looked superb by PS2 standards. Additionally, there aren’t many enemies in the survival horror genre that can hold a candle to the robotic creepiness of the maid, Daniella.

Dino Crisis

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[Image Source]
In period, Dino Crisis was often described as “Resident Evil with dinosaurs” and that’s pretty much what it was. The controls and camera angles were very familiar to Resi players and the game was even developed by the same team. The original Dino Crisis was a big success and cemented itself as a firm favourite that most 90’s gamers will have played or at least heard of.

Unfortunately, the series never achieved the same longevity as it’s zombie-infested sibling. Dino Crisis 2 traded survival horror for a greater focus on all-out arcade action but was still a success for Capcom. The same couldn’t be said for 2003’s Dino Crisis 3, however; a sequel that took the series into space with new characters, mutant creatures engineered from dino DNA and one of the worst in-game cameras ever implemented. The fact that it was exclusive to the original Xbox – when Dino Crisis was traditionally a Playstation-first series – probably didn’t help sales either.

So it would be awesome to see a brand-new Dino Crisis that perhaps uses the Resident Evil 2 Remake engine. Come on, Capcom: bring things full circle again.

Final Fight

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Thanks to digital platforms, side-scrolling beat ’em ups have seen somewhat of a resurgence in recent years with many enjoyable, original examples finding their way onto PSN and XBLA in amongst welcome ports of classic arcade brawlers. Even Streets of Rage is finally getting a true fourth installment so wouldn’t it be great to see a Final Fight 4 as well?

Obviously, there have been other Final Fight sequels post-Final Fight 3 but it’s difficult to count those as ‘proper’ sequels. Final Fight Revenge was a pretty poor attempt to simultaneously take the series into the third dimension AND the one-on-one fighting game format. Final Fight Streetwise returned to the beat ’em up format but barely had anything in common. I didn’t entirely dislike Streetwise (it’s so bad that it’s fun) but the miserable urban ghetto setting, swearing, a storyline based on substance abuse and even mutated abominations towards the end of the game, all marked the game out as the blackest of black sheep in the Final Fight series.

What we need is a REAL Final Fight follow-up that reintroduces some colour as well as the traditional side-scrolling format. It would be great fun. The recent inclusion of Final Fight 3‘s Lucia in Street Fighter V proves that even the lesser-known sequels to the original arcade hit are still in the front of Capcom’s mind so maybe and brand-new installment isn’t such a wild wish…

So those are my personal top five choices for Capcom revivals. What do you think of this news? What would be on your wishlist?

The Nintendo Switch: A Wii-U Owner’s Perspective Pt3

So far I’ve talked about why the Switch isn’t appealing to me right now and also the upcoming releases that potentially have the power to change my mind. The concluding part of my Switch ramblings is going to focus on the dream games that would certainly encourage me to part with my money if they were to ever see the light of day. Once more, I’ve organised my picks into a Top Five of no particular arrangement so without any further unnecessary talking…let’s go!

F-Zero

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Yes, it’s the game that people have been demanding for years from Nintendo who seem wholly disinterested in bringing Captain Falcon and lightspeed futuristic racing back to a console near you. It didn’t happen on the Wii and it didn’t happen on the Wii-U either but there were a few teases last generation with the F-Zero-inspired Fast Racing Neo plus the F-Zero DLC for Mario Kart 8. A proper F-Zero sequel though? Nah; you’re dreaming, boy! F-Zero GX on the Gamecube was a stunning game: super fast, skill-demanding and beautiful to look at. The soundtrack deserves a huge mention too for being so flippin’ awesome (I have the soundtrack CD and listen to it regularly). True, it was a collab effort with Sega (and some Namco input) but even so, it’s a tragedy that GX remains the last main game in the series at this point in time (I’m not 100% on the release dates of the various GBA games…) and if Nintendo were ever to finally follow it up with a new installment that was at least on par with GX quality-wise, then I would buy a Switch to play it.

Disaster: Day of Crisis

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One of the Wii’s true hidden gems, Disaster was a really fun survival game that mixed natural disaster survival with Time Crisis-style shooting sections to great effect. The Wii became known (sadly) for the many bad games that had motion controls shoe-horned in for no good reason other than to be seen to have implemented something. Disaster was one of those games that used motion controls in many different ways but in such ways that actually made sense and made you feel like you were interacting with the game rather than just flailing your arms for the hell of it. There was a cool first-person driving section for example, running away from walls of water or performing CPR. For a game that was stuck in development hell for a long time before finally surfacing, it was impressive that Day of Crisis managed to be so entertaining and that’s why I’d love a sequel. Yes, this is one instance where I would miss motion controls but give us another disaster scenario with some new characters and the same varied gameplay and I’d buy it for a dollar.

A proper Pokemon game

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By ‘proper’ I mean a full-on handheld style adventure in 3D on the big screen. This may actually be a possibility if Nintendo do indeed wind their dedicated handheld focus down and pour everything into the Switch given how it is both a home and portable machine. In the past though, we have been cheated (I like to think so anyway) on numerous occasions. The two Pokemon Stadium games on N64 were essentially glorified 3D battles, Pokemon Colisseum on the Gamecube was a heavily simplified take on the traditional formula and its direct sequel – XD: Gale of Darkness – insulted by being more of the same with recycled locations and assets from Colisseum. The rest have been filler games such as Pokemon Channel or the shallow Pokemon Battle Revolution. Imagine if they made a full-on 3D, free-roaming world in a similar vein to Zelda: Breath of the Wild but with a bit more focus on story and (obviously) a more densely populated world? Imagine actually flying on one of your bird Pokemon and searching for new locations or travelling the seas and seeking out new islands just like in Zelda: The Wind Waker? The possibilities are actually huge and even though I’ve kind of fallen out with the franchise after Diamond/Pearl, I’d jump straight back in if my dream style of game hit the Switch.

A proper Paper Mario game

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Once upon a time, Nintendo had an extremely endearing Mario spin-off RPG series on its hands. Packed full of charm, humour and challenge, these were seriously good RPG experiences with a beautiful art style to boot and so much creativity. I am of course only referring to the N64 and Gamecube installments of Paper Mario. I do personally like Super Paper Mario on the Wii but it was certainly different to what had come before. The real problems with the series began with Sticker Star on the 3DS and continued with Colour Splash on the Wii-U. It is said that Shigeru Miyamoto made the decision to bin off any original or Paper Mario-exclusive characters and this is why the newer games are populated with Toads, Koopas and…er…not much else. Bad gameplay design also reared its ugly head with certain areas of the games impassable unless you had a specific sticker or card which you may have to return to the hub world for and thus incur lots of painful, backtracking which needn’t have been necessary. Colour Splash did give out hints in advance in fairness but often by the way of cryptic clues which tended to frustrate rather than assist. The RPG style of the previous games was also severely watered-down and to cap it off, battles could often become impossible if you didn’t have the right stickers/cards. I did personally still enjoy these games to an extent (Colour Splash moreso) because the graphical style and creativity has never gone away but if Nintendo could give us a PROPER Paper Mario just like the old days then it would honestly be a system seller in my eyes.

Wave Race

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The recent Mario games prove that Nintendo knows how to make beautiful water that you’d just love to leap right into. Couple this with the fact that racing games have never really died in popularity and I can see a Switch sequel to Wave Race being a very fun game. It’s another franchise that Nintendo has left to die in the wilderness with only a brief jet ski racing segment in Wii Sports Resort giving Wave Race fans any hope that something may happen. The major obstacle to a Wave Race resurgence would obviously be its general lack of popularity or recognition amongst the traditional famous Nintendo franchises but since this is a fantasy list, I don’t care. Make it happen and I will open my wallet.

So that concludes my series of Switch-related posts. Perhaps I came across as quite negative about Nintendo’s current console in Part 1 but the truth is, there are games on the horizon that could tempt me as well as the above dream sequels which would DEFINITELY tempt me. Thing is though, even leaving aside the fact that I feel burned for being a Wii-U owner, I also have a PS4 and various older machines so for me to invest money and time into another console…well, I need to be persuaded a little harder than others maybe. Thanks for reading and I will hopefully be back with some more regular posts very soon…

The Nintendo Switch: A Wii-U Owner’s Perspective Pt.2

So last time (it’s been a while), I posted about why I haven’t been sold on the Nintendo Switch thus far despite being a Nintendo loyalist (in a non-rabid fanboy way) since the Gamecube. The release schedule of ports, upgraded Wii-U games and a general sense of feeling “forgotten” by Nintendo were my main reasons BUT I concluded by saying that I’d go away, have a look at the upcoming release schedule and report back with some games that might make me change my mind. Due to a bout of sickness (some form of super-cold of doom which is going around here in the UK right now) I haven’t been up to making that follow-up post but I’m back now with a Top Five list of upcoming Wii-U games that might tempt me to buy a Switch…

1. No More Heroes 3

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If you’ve read my discussion piece on Suda51 then you’ll know that I’m a bit of a fan of No More Heroes and Suda51 in general. The first two games were a bit ropey as far as the technical side of things went but were immense fun thanks to the sheer style being served up with many side orders of out-there wackiness. I’m no longer 100% confident in saying that a Suda51 game will be definite hit (thanks to a few recent efforts being a bit disappointing) and wouldn’t even say that the likes of NMH3 are antidotes to the mainstream that we desperately need anymore BUT I would still like to play this based on how much I enjoyed the two Wii predecessors. The teaser trailer looks promising too so fingers crossed.

2. Mario Tennis Aces

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Mario’s tennis outings have always been some of more enjoyable spin-offs starring Nintendo’s main man but recent installments have dropped the ball (hur, hur) somewhat. I didn’t play the 3DS version and the Wii-U’s Ultra Smash was widely regarded as a huge disappointment due to being a flimsy release with little content. Before that, the Wii received only a port of the Gamecube’s Power Tennis which in itself wasn’t a gold medal-winning game due to the divisive inclusion of super moves and the constant, unskippable cinematic animations that came as part of the deal. It’s actually the GBA version of Power Tennis that was considered to be last great Mario Tennis game and it isn’t hard see why. Gameplay was tight and addictive on the small screen and the accompanying story mode gave players something to sink their teeth into. It was a great game and it’s one that I still have on my shelf. Thankfully, Mario Tennis Aces is looking like it will make up for the run of disappointing sequels thanks to the inclusion of a story mode. I expect that the gameplay will be great as well and to be fair, that side of things hasn’t been the issue over recent years.

3. Fire Emblem Warriors

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Okay, I’m kind-of cheating here because this game is already out BUT it made it onto this list because…I hadn’t realised that it had already hit the store shelves months ago! How did that sneak out? Talk about not keeping up with release schedules…sheesh. Anyway, I like Fire Emblem and I like the Warriors games from Koei so this should really be exactly my kind of game. The only sticking point for me is that they went down the fanservice route and filled the roster with Awakening and Fates characters. Understandable seeing as how they have to shift copies of the game but I was hoping for some more variety and not just the usual suspects that we’ve come to expect recently such as Lucina, Robin and Camilla’s over-worked bra. There are no characters from Path of Radiance/Radiant Dawn for example. Looks like decent fun but I would have to buy it cheap which is never going to happen with the words “Fire” and “Emblem” together on the front cover…

Before I move on though, I will also make an honourable mention for the brand-new (traditional) Fire Emblem game that is slated for a 2018 release. There is no information or images as of yet however so nothing to go on. I will remain cautious due to how I currently feel about the series and the direction that Nintendo/Intelligent Systems have taken in recent years but even so, it’s got to be worth keeping an eye on.

4. Shin Megami Tensei 5

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Before the increasingly-popular Persona series of RPG’s stole the limelight, Atlus also pumped out a fair few similarly dark (if not darker) RPG’s under the Shin Megami Tensei umbrella. In fact, many may forget that Persona 1-3 were released with the ‘SMT‘ prefix before the games finally found western fame and it was dropped. The “Megaten” games were great RPGs that offered something different and more niche versus the typical mainstream alternatives such as Final Fantasy and I’ve always been a big fan. Not much is known as of yet about Shin Megami Tensei V for the Switch but it’s being touted as an exclusive RPG for the system and it’s exactly the kind of thing that would make somebody like me sit up, look away from my Playstation and take notice. Of course, there’s every chance that Atlus might decide they need more return on their investment and also release SMT V for the PS4 but we aren’t privy to the details of their deal with Nintendo (if there is some sort of exclusitivity clause in action at all). For now, it makes my list.

5. Yoshi

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I was a huge fan of Yoshi’s Woolly World for the Wii-U. The game looked beautiful with its unique thread-based visuals and was actually an extremely tough challenge to achieve 100% on; far more so than the naysayers slating it as a “kiddy” game would have you believe. It was the creativity oozing from what was on-screen that made me fall in love (as with Kirby’s Epic Yarn on the Wii) with Woolly World and Yoshi for the Switch looks set to run with that. The footage so far shows off a heap of interesting twists on the tried-and-tested 2D platformer and I’m impressed that Nintendo can keep finding ways to make their quirky platformers feeling unique. I’m definitely looking forward to this one, whatever the proper title for the game will be.

So that’s my top five (or top four if you discount my sly bit of cheating!). The third and final part of this series of Nintendo Switch-themed posts will focus on the games that I’d LIKE to see produced for the Switch…the kind of things that would definitely make me rush out and splurge on a console of my own. With this being Nintendo, there are loads of franchises that could tempt a veteran gamer like me…

Top Five Characters For Soul Calibur VI

With the recent announcement/reveal of Soul Calibur VI having properly sunk in now, I think it’s fair to start theorising about a potential roster. Well, I say theorising but that process is a potentially depressing affair since – if done logically – it involves putting together a hypothetical roster based on what the marketing men think will sell the game. I’d rather lay out a top five countdown of the characters from that I want to see return to the Stage of History. I have put together my dream shortlist with three things in mind:

  1. The game’s story is supposed to be further back in the SC timeline (around the time of the original Soul Calibur) so I’d like to think that some of the older characters that were dumped for the later games might be able to return in all their glory.
  2. No guest characters. That is a separate list for another time (possibly). These are all original SC characters that have been in the games before.
  3. These are simply characters that I like!

With those loose “rules” established, I shall waste no more time and jump right in!

Zasalamel

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Amongst all of the clones and ‘mimic’ fighting styles that were in Soul Calibur III, Zasalamel’s scythe-based style was refreshingly individual and certainly interesting to learn as well as fight against. I also really liked his visual appearance despite the obvious Assassin’s Creed similarities that his original outfit (pictured) was guilty of displaying. Better yet, SCIII‘s plot saw Zasalamel morph into the demonic final boss, Abyss who shares a lot of Zasalamel’s basic fighting style. Abyss is one of the coolest and most bad-ass bosses in a fighting game and while I highly doubt that we will ever see him again, I would at least like Zasalamel to return from his post-Soul Calibur IV exile.

Cassandra

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We’ve already seen Sophitia revealed as one of the first two characters in the game and while Sophie will always be my #1 character in the series, I have to say that I missed her spunky, more aggressive younger sister in SCV. Yes, people will say that we don’t need any more Alexandra family members (they’re everywhere!) and others will argue that more females with big boobs are unnecessary but as far as I’m concerned, Cassandra has been a staple since her debut in SCII and her omission in SCV was one of the most disappointing in my opinion. She actually has a very different fighting style to Sophitia and while nobody can argue that the way she battles is overly unique or interesting, I’ve always enjoyed her character and she is in many way (whisper it) more endearing than her sister. Yes I feel treacherous for even typing that…sorry Sophitia!

Hwang

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A true classic who debuted in the original Soul Blade (or Soul Edge in other territories) for arcade/Playstation but was ditched by the time of Soul Calibur II for the younger and (I suppose) cooler Yun-Seong. Hwang made one more appearance as a non-fleshed out bonus character in Soul Calibur III and was properly re-instated for the rare arcade edition of SCIII but hasn’t been seen since which is a pretty rubbish way to treat one of the founding characters of the series if you ask me. Even Yun-Seong didn’t make it to SCV, meaning that the most recent installment in the series had no Korean characters and no Falchion wielders. I really enjoyed playing as Hwang in Soul Blade and I also think he looks pretty cool so I’d like to see him again for those reasons but also because he simply SHOULD be in an SC game again.

Li Long

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Another founding cast member of the series, Li Long was treated even worse than Hwang. The original nunchaku wielder didn’t even make it off the Playstation to the original Soul Calibur since Namco had already elected to introduce the new, cooler character of Maxi who became the default (and only) representative of the nunchaku style from there on. Like Hwang, Li Long was given a bonus character slot in SCIII and also re-instated properly for the arcade update. Interestingly, he was armed with a new double nunchaku style that actually set him apart from Maxi. I would love to see Li Long return with a more fleshed-out version of this style in Soul Calibur VI. Like Hwang, I just think that he should be included for historical reasons.

Night Terror

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Up until this point, my list has been fairly safe, predictable even. We can’t have that though can we? So to finish off my top five, I’ve decided to put the case forward for the true boss of Soul Calibur III. If you thought Abyss was monstrous enough…well, you hadn’t seen anything yet. Night Terror is a beastly version of Nightmare, the result of Soul Edge’s vengeful will fusing with Nightmare and nobody enjoyed fighting this creature. Massively over-powered, boasting insane priority and immune to ring-outs (he flies back up to the stage!), Night Terror was everything a cheap boss should be. I lost count of the amount of times I heard “versus, Night Terror!” as I kept hammering the option to try the fight again. For all his cheesiness however, I absolutely loved the idea of a souped-up Nightmare that had been overcome by raw power and transformed into a truly imposing boss. Like Abyss, I highly doubt that Namco would ever bring this guy back but I would certainly take him over Algol or Elysium any day.

Honourable mentions!

Because five is never enough is it? Not when there have been so many characters both major and minor in Soul Calibur over the years. Seong-Mina should definitely grace an SC game again for the same legacy reasons as Hwang/Li Long but also because she has always been a fan favourite who certainly didn’t deserve to be left out of SCV. Valeria from SCIII was a second-tier bonus character but did at least have a cool fighting style based around kicks and bladed footwear. Did I forget to mention that she was a pink-haired shopkeeper/maid design with eye-poppingly big boobs? Funny that… Another classic that I hope returns is Rock because honestly, I don’t like Astaroth that much when it comes to the large “power” characters and Rock already had to swap his original axe style for a mace so that he had a “reason” to return for SCIII & IV.

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Because five wasn’t enough and I’m greedy…

If you read my post on femme fatales then you will already know that really like the nutty Tira but will she fit into a pre-SCIII plot point? I’m not sure but I think Namco would be mad to leave out such a unique fighting style. Setsuka is another dangerous lady with a fairly individual style that I’d like to see again, not least because I used her a lot in SCIII and found her to be utterly lethal with some crazy combos. Lastly, would actually like to see Edge Master come over from Soul Calibur V since the “bad-ass old guy” archtype needs some representation and I don’t mind there being at least ONE mimic character. Just please, Namco, don’t waste 3-4 slots with them like you did before? Ta.

So those are my choices. What do you think? I’m cautiously optimistic for a few of these but I also fear that Namco might see some of the older or more obscure characters as less marketable and won’t include them. I’ll reserve any form of judgment until we know more however. Let’s see who they’ve chosen…