Hello everyone! My name is Katsutoshi Sasaki and I am the Director for Soulcalibur IV. Before I begin, I would like to express my appreciation to SCEA for giving me the opportunity to express my thoughts here on the blog and to speak directly to the readers. Now since Darth Vader is an exclusive character to the PS3, it is only fitting to discuss my thoughts on the Sith Lord. So here we go…
The reason we chose Darth Vader as a playable character is very simple: he is probably one of the most symbolic characters in the Star Wars universe and is also one of the most popular worldwide. Admittedly though, recreating Darth Vader for Soulcalibur IV was harder than I initially thought because there is not a lot of reference material as he was only in a few lightsaber fights in the movies.
It’s always very difficult to balance our own perception of how a character should fit in the Soulcalibur universe and their actual gameplay. If a guest character feels radically different than how we perceive them, a player will take it as a different character, and it’ll lead to disappointment.
In working with LucasArts, they said they are eagerly anticipating their characters to be recreated in the Soulcalibur universe. They allowed us to create Vader relatively-freely. The trial and error process to build Vader is definitely a fond memory for all the Soulcalibur IV animators and game designers.
Another challenge that we encountered was how to implement the “Force” from the Star Wars universe. If we were to use the Force in gameplay, we had to make it as an absolute power just like the movie. However, if we didn’t set any limitations on it, the game’s balance would have been completely off. Ultimately, we created a Force gauge to put a limit on using the power. However, we felt players would be frustrated if they couldn’t use the Force on an empty gauge, so we are allowing them to use the Force but it will be counted as a penalty against their character. I think it was good compromise and can be used as a tactic.
I strongly believe that we have brought Darth Vader up to a level where players will feel “This is how Darth Vader is!” while playing Soulcalibur IV. The game expresses him as a lightsaber master with intimidating power and absolute control of the Force. Our players will enjoy playing Lord Vader from the movie and we’re proud to bring them this experience.
Finally, the release date is just around the corner on July 29th. The dream battle for many fans who want to play as Vader, who want to beat him with Soulcalibur characters or who want to challenge Vader with an original customized character is about to start! Stay tuned!!