SoulCaliber IV on Consoles!

Next-gen installment of weapons-based fighter heads to Sony and Microsoft platforms, set for 2008 release.

After the announcement of Soulcalibur Legends coming to the Wii, some Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 fighting game fans might have felt a little left out. Namco Bandai today confirmed that it too will be able to rejoin the weapons-based fighting franchise’s fray, as Soulcalibur IV is in development for the latest systems from Sony and Microsoft.

Updated: SCIV E3 2008 Trailer Stage Demo

Official Trailer 6 E3

The next game is being developed by Project Soul, the studio behind previous entries in the series and will include new modes, characters, and a new battle system. Namco-Bandai is saying the game will “propel the fighting genre into the next-gen era” and is also promising realistic, interactive environments and better artificial intelligence.

Sith apprentice from LucasArts’ Star Wars: The Force Unleashed to cross lightsabers in Namco Bandai’s newest fighter.

When Star Wars icons Yoda and Darth Vader were first confirmed to appear in Soulcalibur IV, would-be Jedi the world over doubtlessly dreamed of epic lightsaber duels. Those dreams were short-lived, as Namco Bandai had made each character exclusive to a single system, forcing the foes to instead beat up on the standard Soulcalibur cast of traditional-weapon-wielding fighters (or stage their own Clone Wars with character-versus-same-character matches).

However, today Namco Bandai channeled Yoda with the announcement that “there is another.” Both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game will feature the Secret Apprentice character from LucasArts’ upcoming Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, allowing for proper lightsaber-on-lightsaber duels in a fighting game for the first time since 1997’s original PlayStation game Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi.

The Secret Apprentice stars in Force Unleashed as Darth Vader’s first Sith underling. Since the game takes place between the events of Episode III and Episode IV (the most recent Star Wars film and the very first Star Wars film), the Secret Apprentice must live up to his name and carry out Vader’s orders while keeping his existence under wraps.

While the game has garnered the most headlines for its inclusion of Star Wars characters (Darth Vader on the PS3, Yoda on the Xbox 360, and Force Unleashed’s Secret Apprentice on both), Soulcalibur IV is notable for a few other reasons. In addition to being the first-ever version of the series playable online, Soulcalibur IV includes “critical finish” moves to end matches in a single hit, and secret characters designed by Japanese manga artists.

Namco Bandai isn’t relying on those features alone to sell the game. The publisher today announced a North American advertising blitz to run through August. Soulcalibur IV will be promoted in 15- and 30-second commercials on cable TV channels in the US and Canada, in addition to the standard online and print advertising campaigns and promotional partnerships.

Soulcalibur IV will arrive in stores July 29, with a retail price of $59.99. Limited edition versions of the game will include exclusive content and swag for $79.99.
Soulcalibur IV is set for release on the Xbox 360 and PS3 in regular and limited editions on July 29. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed will follow for the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and Nintendo DS on September 16.

– Gamespot

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