Cut from the same cloth.
In conjunction with a new anime launching in Japan, Bandai Namco Entertainment revealed a new fighting game based on the Saint Seiya franchise. Titled Saint Seiya: Soldiers' Soul, the game will follow along the plotline of Saint Seiya – Soul of Gold, an original anime storyline revolving around the Gold Saints, resurrected in Asgard, as they battle against a new enemy.
The reveals of the game and the anime itself are still fresh and new, so a hands-on playable demo was not available at Bandai Namco's Global Gamers' Day for the Americas this past week in Las Vegas, but a hands-off demo was provided, and it was enough to get me interested.
Visually, the game played similarly to other anime fighting titles that seem to be Bandai Namco's forte, along with racing games as of late and the lasting legacy of Pac-Man. The fighting is reminiscent of fight segments found in Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, set in 3D fighting stages and allowing for aerial combat and combinations.
Our demo included a battle between the titular character, Pegasus Seiya, and one of the Gold Saints, Leo Aiolia, and even in the early build the characters looked like modernized versions of the original anime created in the '80s. An intriguing choice manifested when discussing localization: the US and Canadian release will feature the original Japanese voice cast fully subtitled in English, French, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese, but releases in the Latin American markets, where Saint Seiya holds higher popularity, will include original Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese voiceovers as well.
Bandai Namco intends to appeal to the fighting game community by not only allowing two-player local play, but introducing worldwide ranking and matching boards. Customization fans will also take pleasure in the planned DLC costume pack offerings. Representatives could not comment on who would show up in the playable roster, only saying that it would be “more than the last Saint Seiya game” released in 2013, Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers.
The challenge for Saint Seiya: Soldiers' Soul, as it is for any game based on a longstanding franchise, is if it will escape the reach of the fans and become an entity enjoyable for any gamer. It's a factor we will be keeping our eye on, as the game draws closer to its slated Fall 2015 launch on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Steam.