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One of the biggest lines of questioning that people have been wondering about lately is what guest characters will be picked for V. Daishi said before that they have already picked the character and were negotiating for use of him/her, so I would expect that my rant here will do precisely nil in affecting the outcome. Still, being a gamer in the modern age, I have opinions about things, dammit. It just wouldn't be the same unless I was able to post them on the internet.
The guest characters began in Soulcalibur II, and were perhaps one of the biggest factors in ensuring the Soul Series' popularity. Link alone was what convinced thousands of people to buy the game, and aside from him the guest characters have been...bleh, at best. The Star Wars characters were absolutely abysmal, Spawn was a comic book character now many people cared about (and for those that did his weapon/fighting style had nothing to do with his existing character), Heihachi was only of interest to people who played Tekken, and Kratos comes from a series where gore and brutality are the absolute tops--something which Soulcalibur has very little of.
So what was it about Link? What was it that made him a memorable and interesting guest character? Well, there's a couple factors that worked in Link's favor:
- Link is a very memorable character from an instantly recognizeable franchise.
- Because Link's popularity is so widespread, marketting and gathering consumer interest in him was a cinch.
- Link also hailed from a medieval-fantasy world, one that dealt with similar themes at that. (This being the most important dealbreaker, here)
- Link's fighting style is mostly the same across the franchises and requires very little modification or tweaking to catch the spirit of. (Spawn using an axe and Kratos lacking his brutality are the biggest offenders here)
So, what does this mean for V? A lot of people are suggesting Final Fantasy characters, and more specifically a lot of people are suggesting Cloud and Sephiroth. I'm not so sure if those two, though. Daishi may be a rebel in dropping a lot of hints and leaking information, but he outright said he'd love to have Final Fantasy chars in the game--if they were truly already in the game or being considered, that would be more than just a "hint" and Daishi would have his ass sacked faster than the subtitlers in Monty Python.
Keeping in the spirit of those specifications, though, there's a couple faces that I'd really like to see as guests.
thumb|left|300pxSimon I-will-rape-your-shit-and-pimp-walk-all-over-it Motherfucking Belmont. I think the CastleVania series is a perfect match for the Soul series in quite a few ways. For one, both of them are set on the "Stage of History", dealing with an alternate and fantasy view of historical events. While Soulcalibur deals with, well, Soul Calibur and Soul Edge, CastleVania has a much more broad tone that deals with mythology and lore of all kinds. It's not too far a stretch to believe that among this wealth of folklore would also be the Soul swords.
Unfortunately, one thing that's fairly hard to stretch is the timeline. The CastleVania series has entries that span all the way from the 1000s to the 2000s, but Soulcalibur V is set in the early 1600s. Simon Belmont exists in the late 1600s--specifically, in 1691. Occupying the appropriate time frame is the significantly less cool and less interesting Soleiyu Belmont.
That problem aside, Simon has plenty to add to the series. He's a barbarian-type hero in a series mostly occupied with knights and samurai/ninja, he uses a unique weapon that so far only the overly-dominatrix-with-an-impossible-weapon Ivy has any resemblence to, he's incredibly recognizeable and iconic, and it's not that big a stretch to fit him.
thumb|300px|leftThe legendary pulp hero, Zorro has become one of the most iconic swashbuckling swordfighters in history. Stylish, suave, and clever, Zorro was a Spanish/Mexican Batman that fought crime on all fronts with an array of weapons, wits, and charms. While the exact period of Zorro's antics were never particularly specified, the early 1600s were an era of nobility and fencing in Mexico as Spain spread its influence there.
Unfortunately, Zorro isn't quite as strong a contender as I believe Simon Belmont is. While his rapier is by no means his only weapon, it is his most iconic, which allows him to easily take the place of a Raphael-style created-character. While Zorro does add some uniqueness, being a charismatic superhero from Spain, his weapon style is simply too similar to what we already have. Add to this that video gamers know very little about him and he has been confined mostly to television and movies, and those two flaws become a big problem.
Dungeons & Dragons. The name is synonymous with tabletop gaming. A drow ranger, dual wielding enchanted scimitars in a quest to rebel against his always-evil brethren, making his own place in the world and working to right the wrongs of his kind one by one. It's very difficult to pin-point a single iconic character that truly represents the entire Dungeons & Dragons franchise, Drizzt comes close. R.A. Salvatore's antihero not only singlehandedly popularized the "good drow" archetype, but it also revitalized interest as a whole in roleplaying--and more specifically, Dungeons & Dragons.
While Cervantes already uses two swords, his style is quite straightforward. Drizzt is graceful and flowing, being an elf, more like a duelist than any pirate. Though, like Zorro, he can easily be recreated using Cervantes' style, there's more than enough subtle differences to set them apart. Plus, Drizzt is a Ranger and so fills the role of a nature-based hero, a rogue hunter--so far, only Talim can boast a unity with nature. While the Forgotten Realms is a far different stage than any historical setting, much like Link did the Dungeons & Dragons universe is filled with portals and dimension travelling.
However, like Zorro, Drizzt suffers a big disadvantage in that his medium is quite unfamiliar to most video gamers. While Drizzt has repeatedly achieved amazing success in literature and novels, he has had absolutely no success on any other front. Adding the final nail to the coffin, Drizzt is exclusively a western character with almost no prominence in Japan.
Conan the Cimmerian
thumb|left|300pxBetween Robert E. Howard and Frank Frazetta, whenever the image of "barbarian" comes to mind, it always takes from the legendary Conan. And yet, Conan himself is quite different from the typical "dumb barbarian" stereotype. Not a feral berserker, but rather incredibly honorable and intelligent, Conan is an fierce mixture of amazing power, razor-sharp steel, and brutal cunning. By his own strength and wits alone, he has faced soldiers, sorcerers, demons, and demi-gods, and has conquered them all.
Much like Drizzt and Zorro, though, he has had barely any impact on the video game industry. While many people have at least heard of the movies, Conan's stomping ground of choice is usually the comic book industry. Marvel's take on the character has been one of the most popular franchises on comic shelves, and while Conan has had a foray into a (sub-par at best) video game, he still remains a staunchly western character with very little impact on Japan.
thumb|300px|leftWhile I'm wishing, I've always wanted a pony.