Namco unveils Soul Calibur II at press event

All three versions of Soul Calibur II are revealed at a Japanese press event. Details inside.

Namco recently unveiled Soul Calibur II for the GameCube, Xbox, and PlayStation 2 to members of the press and investors. Namco president Haraguchi welcomed everyone to the unveiling with a message about the company's performance, and he then showed the audience the GameCube version using a video that featured Link from Nintendo's Zelda series. Haraguchi stressed the importance of the company's partnership with Nintendo, and mentioned that Star Fox on the Triforce arcade platform is yet another example of the fruits of Namco's partnership with Nintendo. Hatano from Nintendo was then invited to the stage to deliver a speech. Hatano believes that tough times lie ahead for software makers and collaboration is necessary in order for them to flourish.

Namco then showed the PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions on video, featuring Heihachi and Spawn, respectively, as special characters for each platform. As previously reported, Necrid, a character designed specifically for Soul Calibur II by Todd McFarlane Productions, will appear in all three versions. Interestingly, the game looks very similar on all three platforms.

Next, the producer of Soul Calibur II, Yotoriyama, went on stage and proceeded to give the audience some background about the Soul Calibur series. The series has apparently sold more than 3 million copies to date on various platforms. According to Yotoriyama, walls and objects in the arenas are the biggest changes introduced to the Soul Calibur series, and the home versions are based on the version D arcade release.

Not unlike previous incarnations of Soul Edge and Soul Calibur on the PlayStation and Dreamcast consoles, Soul Calibur II will include a number of additional game modes. The weapon master mode (which features more than 200 weapons to discover) will likely be the main attraction for gamers looking for quality single-player time. Other new modes include the time attack mode, the survival mode, the practice mode, and the team battle mode. Weapons earned in the weapon master mode can also be used in other modes.

According to Yotoriyama, his development team created custom libraries and tools for the game's cross-platform development. Thanks to those tools, the team was able to get similar results on all three platforms. In addition, it was also revealed that other hidden characters exist in the game, but when asked if there will be any platform-specific hidden characters, Yotoriyama refused to answer. When asked which platform was the hardest to develop Soul Calibur II on, he said it would be very difficult for him to say. Nevertheless, he stressed having custom libraries made the cross-platform development less of a chore. Lastly, the team originally wanted to include an online mode, but it decided to hold off, due to its inexperience in online development and a lack of time.

The North American versions of Soul Calibur II are scheduled for release in August, and the Japanese versions are scheduled for release on March 27. Check out new screenshots of the Xbox versions of the game. We'll have more on Soul Calibur II soon.

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