A comprehensive primer and index of the Soulcalibur roster

Rusted Blade

[10] Knight
Hey folks,

This is just a little afternoon project of mine I decided to share, the whole thing being inspired no doubt by thinking much more than is reasonable about who the next DLC characters will be. The idea's been in my head for a bit ever since speculation about the SCVI roster began; despite the numerous wikis and community projects devoted to the Soul Calibur franchise, I have never found any one document that attempts to give a comprehensive and well-organized accounting of the various fighting styles across all games. This then, is my attempt, currently in a rough form, to fill that gap. It should give a more or less complete summary of the various characters and number of distinct movesets, across all installments--though focused more on the gameplay mechanic side of things, rather than narrative. It may therefore be of some interest to newer players curious about the history of the franchises' fighting styles, and I think even veterans may find details here which they were unaware of or had forgotten.

I have often found previous character lists to be less than ideally organized, and potentially confusing to players because they categorize characters in an often confusing matter that often seems to have more to do with idiosyncratic preference, rather than in terms that reflect the mechanics of the games--which latter structure I believe to be of more interest and utility for hardcore players, whether they are old or new to the series. Even 8wayrun's Wiki (as awesome a resource as it is as the largest library of frame data from the series that has been saved in any one other place, that I know of) is less than ideal in how it is organized in this respect (forgive the knitpick--I'm sure it was a colusal effort to get all of that information together).

What this breakdown will not attempt to do is describe any character in detail, as regards to their stories (which, if I'm to blunt are usually imminently forgettable, such is the quality of storytelling in this franchise), nor with regard to a detailed breakdown of their movesets; there are more than abundant resources out there for those more detailed purposes, of which the 8wayrun.com Wiki is undoubtedly the best. This is more of an analysis of the variety of styles and an attempt to account for the exact number of distinct styles, interspersed with a fair deal of history about how the roster of styles has evolved. Further, this is meant to be a rough draft, and my purpose for posting it here is in the hope that the other old hands might catch anything important which I failed to mention and remind me. Once completed, I hope this may be of some use, either to fill in gaps in knowledge for those who have not played every entry in the mainline series (Soul Blade/Soul Edge, Soul Calibur, Soul Calibur II, Soul Calibur III/SCIII: Arcade Edition, Soul Calibur IV/SC: Broken Destiny, Soul Calibur V/SC: Lost Swords, and Soul Calibur VI) or just to help strap on the nostalgia goggles and remember all those charming little quirks of the Soul Calibur rogues gallery.


Style/Moveset vs. Character/Skin:

The first thing to understand when trying to sort out the exact number of playable entities in the Soul Calibur franchise is the distinction between a "character" and a "style". The term "character", as I will use it in this document, has a straightforward meaning consistent with what one might expect of the word: it refers to any individual (human, transdimensional demon, wooden cyborg ninja Robin Hood, and so forth; you know, the obvious choices) who appears within the narrative of the Soul Calibur story. A "style" on the other hand, is the underlying moveset that is typically associated with a character (or in some cases, a group of characters); a style may evolve such that it looks very different in a later game from where it started in earlier entries, but it has a continuity of its own. And while this continuity is usually tied to a given individual character, it is a separate concept from the character.

These distinctions are important for a couple of reasons: First, there is not a 1-to-1 correspondence between styles and characters; numerous styles have more than one character representing them and some characters have even had more than one style. Second, most fan sites have done an abysmal job of keeping these two concepts separate and have chosen to constitute "playable character" lists which include every character who has been selectable from a character select screen (and is not a CaS character). This may make some sense if your main objective is to outline the background for Soul Calibur's melodrama backstory (while, for some reason, doing so by only listing those characters who can be played). But if your primary objective is to understand the character selections from a gameplay choices and mechanics point of view, it makes more sense to account for and describe the distinct styles/movesets. One of the primary purposes of this document is therefore to make a clear accounting of the number of styles, and to explore some of the nuances that sometimes complicate the process of disentangling characters and styles as a conceptual matter.


The Core Cast:

We will start our accounting at the obvious place, with the recurring cast of characters who have been introduced in each entry in the franchise. These characters as a class are usually referred to as "main" characters, though the exact definition of what establishes a character as a main cast member has fluctuated from entry to entry and sometimes according to arbitrary decisions made by the fanbase when establishing shorthand terms. This section will include only one character per style (the earliest representative; thus Rock, but no Berserker, for example) and will not include mimics or bosses who are not selectable for play without the benefit of cheats, modding, or hacks--both bosses and mimics being discussed in a separate sections below. This section also excludes SCIII and SCIV's "bonus character" classes, similarly discussed in their own section below. Abyss, although technically selectable in Soul Calibur III (console edition), is also omitted, for reasons discussed below. With these caveats in place, we can see that the "main" character roster consists of some 41 styles, including (as introduced in):
  • Soul Edge: Cervantes, Hwang, Li Long, Mitsurugi, Rock, Seong Han-myeong, Seong Mi-na, Siegfried, Sophitia, Taki, and Voldo
  • Soul Calibur: Astaroth, Ivy, Kilik, Lizardman, Maxi, Yoshimitsu, and Xiangua
  • Soul Calibur II: Cassandra, Necrid, Raphael, Talim, and Yun-Seong
  • Soul Calibur III: Setsuka, Tira, and Zasalamel
  • Soul Calibur III Arcade Edition: Amy (her bonus character origins are detailed below)
  • Soul Calibur IV: Algol and Hilde
  • Soul Calibur Broken Destiny: Dampierre
  • Soul Calibur V: Alpha Patrokolos, Leixia, Natsu, Patrokolos (standard), Pyrrha (standard), Pyrrha Omega, Viola, Xiba, and Z.W.E.I.
  • Soul Calibur VI: Azwel and Groh
Notably, Soul Calibur V added more new characters to the franchise than any other sequel following Soul Edge, but almost all of these play as close analogs of earlier characters (Natsu plays markedly similarly to Taki, Leixia to Xiangua, Xiba to classic Kilik, and so on) though in each of these cases these are definitely unique new movesets; the new characters often have nearly identical weapons to their predecessors, tend to share general strengths and weaknesses with them, and have a similar aesthetic niche, but only a handful of exact moves are shared between the older generation characters and their Soul Calibur V understudies. SCV is also the only time where an individual (non-mimic) character would be given more than one style/moveset in a single game, with newcomers Patrokolos and Pyrrha each having two distinct selectable movesets. As an incidental narrative side note, it has been argued that certain character interactions across the game's modes strongly suggest that Viola is adult Amy, and that the Nightmare of SCV is not the Nightmare that features in the earlier games but rather a corrupted Raphael. Meh. SCV was met with mixed reviews in many regards and the roster shake-up and tonal shift in character design and story are among the prominent complaints. For this reason, I have gotten in the habit of referring to the new younger generation of playable characters introduced in this entry as the SCV edgelords, and I will fight you (...in SCVI anyway...preferably once Amy is released as DLC) if you deny that this is one of the finest puns ever crafted by the human mind.

Main characters may come unlocked by default, or they may be usable only after being unlocked by meeting some gameplay condition, but once unlocked, they are more or less always selectable for arcade and multiplayer purposes (and most single player modes), using the main select screen where they typically have their own portrait (though in earlier games, sometimes some secret method trickery was necessary to select some of these characters for play). With the exclusion of Necrid, Seong Han-myeong, and the characters introduced in the last two entries, all main characters have returned for at least one subsequent title after their first showing; a fair number have even featured in every mainline game to date (depending on whether you count Lost Swords in that description). On a couple of occasions in early games, characters were replaced copycats that replicated their moveset but had a different look (weapons, clothes, and particularly ancestry) in localized versions, and sometimes those characters went on to develop along a different tangent in later games to become unique styles. For example, both Hwang and Arthur were, at one point, mere skins to Mitsurugi (in Soul Blade and Soul Calibur I, respectively), but both later received their own distinct fighting style (though interestingly, Arthur is back to using Misturugi's moves as of the SCVI story mode).

It's worth noting that some characters classified as "regular" characters (either by some in-game distinction or more arbitrary classification by fans) have been labelled as "bonus" characters in later games, and Amy, as will be discussed below, started as a bonus character in Soul Calibur III and was upgraded to the main cast roster in a subsequent edition of the same game. However, as we shall now see, the "bonus character" label is more meaningful in some contexts than in others.


Bonus Characters:

The term "bonus character" has been used in radically different ways across the history of the franchise. The phrase has actually only been used twice as a formal, in-game distinction, in Soul Calibur III and soul Calibur IV, and all other uses are inventions of the community, utilized somewhat imprecisely as a label to describe a number of different situations across the series. Indeed, the only feature that is consistent across these classifications is that each of these characters is not considered a "main" character for some reason, and yet they are unlockable and playable without recourse to hacks or mods.

  • Soul Edge/Soul Blade: The console version of this game (which was essentially a build that included features from across numerous versions and localized variants of the arcade version) gave access to a number of what might have been considered bonus characters by some at the time, but which today we would simply call re-skins; for example, a Nightmare version of Siegfried (before the name Nightmare itself was applied to this version of Siegfried after he was corrupted by Soul Edge) is selectable, but it uses Siegfried's moveset, in every detail.
However, there is one stand-out that might reasonably be considered a bonus character even by the definition of some veterans to this day (but whom I listed as a main cast member above): Seong Han-myeong. Han-myeong is arguably the closest call one can have to make in deciding if a franchise character is worthy of being listed as having his or her own style. To understand his role in Soul Edge, you have to understand the history of two other Soul Edge characters: Mitsurugi and Hwang. Hwang was created to replace Mitsurugi as a playable character for the Korean release of the arcade version of the game (a localized port of Soul Edge version 2); if you know anything about Japanese-Korean relations, the reasons will be immediately obvious. At this point, the two had almost identical styles with just slight variances. Seong Han-myeong features in Hwang's ending movie sequences, and was made playable in the console version of Soul Edge (localized as Soul Blade in the west), once certain conditions are met--though his selection icon is hidden off-screen and his character select art and audio assets are not complete. Seong Han-myeong's moves are similarly a variation of the Mitsurugi/Hwang style; basically all three are pulling from a common pool of moves and are all remarkably similar but not exactly identical in play style. However, while Mitsurugi and Hwang would both go on to be featured in later games and drift apart to become radically different styles, Seong Han-myeong has never been seen as a fighting character (playable or otherwise) since Soul Edge (and has only just scarcely been mentioned in the lore since).​

  • Soul Calibur: In a similar vein to the face-swap shenanigans of Soul Edge, in Soul Calibur Mitsurugi was once again replaced in certain localizations--this time by Arthur, in one of gaming's first iterations of the caucasian samurai trope. However, this example is essentially just a re-skin, as this time around the movesets between Mitsurugi and his stand-in were identical.

  • Soul Calibur II: I include this only for comprehensiveness, but sometimes two of the unlockable characters of this entry are regarded as "bonus" characters in fandom: Assassin and Berserker. However, these two characters are, when most accurately described, just re-skins of Hwang and Rock respectively, with slightly updated and tweaked movesets. It's also worth noting, purely as a narrative matter, that the "Lizardman" you can play in this game actually seems to be a race of Lizardmen; as best I can recall, this is the first time there is any indication in the series lore that there is more than one Lizardman (the narrative previously had established that "the" Lizardman was a cursed human being, transformed into a twisted man/lizard hybrid). Subsequent entries in the franchise make it clear that both iterations of Lizardman--1) the cursed human named Aeon who in V gets an almost entirely new moveset, and 2) the larger race of lizardmen--are equally a part of the lore. I often wonder if Lizardman gets along with the lizardmen, or if they consider him a poser; do they speak the same lizard language, do you think?

  • Soul Calibur III: And here's where it gets truly interesting. As noted above, this is the first instance in which the phrase "bonus character" is used within the game itself to define a sub-portion of the playable cast. It is also the only instance where bonus characters were given their own movesets and so were actual additions to the cast in terms of playable styles, rather than just cosmetic re-skins. However, it is important to note that these characters are often regarded as subpar fighters; they generally had movesets that were somewhat smaller than the rest of the main character roster and thus lacked tactical options--they were generally considered inferior choices for competitive play in particular (though competitive play ground to a bit of a halt at this point for reasons discussed below). These characters include: Abelia, Amy, Arthur, Aurelia, Chester, Demuth, Girardot, Greed, Hualin, Hwang, Li Long, Luna, Lynette, Miser, Revenant, Strife, and Valeria. In the Soul Calibur III's console release, all bonus characters were selected from a pulldown menu which occupied just a single grid in the character select menu.
Three of these characters--Amy, Hwang, and Li Long--are worthy of special mention, because they operate so substantially differently from the others that you might call them quasi-bonus characters. To understand their special role, one has to know something about Soul Calibur III: Arcade Edition. Soul Calibur III was the first game in the franchise for which the console release (available only on the Playstation 2) preceeded the arcade release. In previous games, the arcade release usually came first and included only that content which would be later released as an "arcade mode" in the later home release, which would have many more modes and features. The console mode would also benefit from much of the balancing work that had already been done across multiple (if not all) of the various arcade releases. The situation was reversed for Soul Calibur III, with mixed results and consequences for the Soul Calibur player community of the time. While Soul Calibur III (console edition) was one of the most feature and content rich of all of the Soul Calibur titles (and arguably a high-water mark for artistic and creative design) it is often considered the most problematic entry in the series in terms of competitive playability, owing to poor balance between the large cast of selectable characters and some gameplay features which could be abused to aggravating results.​

Soul Calibur III: Arcade Edition--and it's worth noting that every Soul game until this point had an arcade edition (or rather editions) that simply did not receive such a distinctive title--corrected many of these deficiencies, removing or altering controversial game mechanics and re-balancing the roster. However, in this process, 14 of the 17 bonus characters were dropped from the Arcade Edition release altogether and only Amy, Hwang, and Li Long were retained. However, each of the three was given revamped and expanded movesets that made them competitive with the main cast and they were no longer listed as bonus characters. Li Long and Hwang had both appeared in previous games as members of the main roster, and Amy would subsequently feature as a main roster member in SCIV and its PSP port, Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny. As one last side note on the SCIII console version bonus characters, both Arthur and Revenant were technically repeat characters, having appeared in earlier games using the movesets of established characters--whereas in III, they had their own unique style. Interestingly, both of these characters were demoted back to copycat status when they appeared as single-player mode opponents in later games. Indeed, numerous of the SCIII bonus characters appear in SCVI, but are stripped of their unique movesets and appear merely as re-skins of regular roster play styles.​

  • Soul Calibur IV: SCIV again had a dedicated bonus character frame on the select screen which contained a pulldown menu, but once again bonus characters went back to their pre-SCIII status as essentially just reskins of established characters, with novel weapon designs but completely borrowed movesets: Ashlotte fights with Astaroth's style, Angol Fear with Kilik's, Kamikirimusi with Nightmare's, Scherezade with Amy's, and Shura with Cervantes' moveset. The designs for each of these original bonus characters and their weapons were contributions made by famous manga and anime artists, but they are otherwise simple reskins.

  • Soul Calibur V: No characters were labelled "bonus" characters in SCV, though its possible some have used the term to refer to Dampierre, who was the game's sole DLC character, or Devil Jin, whose style is available to CaS character, but without an official skin or story presence for the character.

  • Soul Calibur VI: To date, there have been four post-launch DLC characters who may be considered as "bonus" characters by some (although they are all either a returning established series character or a guest), with potential additional characters down the line. Additionally, a stripped down version of lizardman with a limited moveset appears in a fe rare scenarios in the game's story modes (and is labelled "lesser lizardman" in the game's code). It is not known at this time if Lizardman will receive a full moveset release in this entry.
Guest Characters:

There's really not much complicated going on with the guest fighters, by and large: starting with SCII, Project Soul began a trend of including guest characters from other media franchises, with movesets that attempted to faithfully import their fighting styles (as presented in their originating media) faithfully while also working them into the Soul Calibur formula, generally with results that have been pretty positively received. The guest characters represented in this manner to date include:
  • Soul Calibur II: Heihachi (exclusive the PS2 edition of the game), Link (Gamecube exclusive) and Spawn (XBOX exclusive).
  • Soul Calibur IV: The Apprentice, Darth Vader, and Yoda
  • Soul Calibur Broken Destiny: Kratos
  • Soul Calibur V: Devil Jin and Ezio Auditore
  • Soul Calibur VI: 2B, Geralt, Haohmaru, and very possibly more coming down the line
Notably, Devil Jin from SCV is the first and only character whose moveset is available in the game solely for Create-a-Soul (CaS) characters, as he has no default model, leading to the style being prohibited in tournament play for quite a few years. When Soul Calibur II was remastered as Soul Calibur II HD Online, both Heihachi and Spawn became selectable characters (regardless of whether one bought the game on the PS3 or XBOX 360), but Link was unfortunately lost to the licensing ether. No character has ever been featured as a guest character in more than one game, though I dare say Kratos stands a good chance of breaking that trend if Soul Calibur VI should see multiple DLC seasons. In some respects, Necrid might be considered a guest character, insofar as his design was licensed from another creator (Todd McFarlane, who created him for SCII as a part of the deal that saw Spawn licensed into the XBOX version of the game) though Necrid himself is unique the Soul Calibur universe and appears in all three original console iterations of the game, as well as Soul Calibur II HD online.

As a side note on nomenclature, some fan communities have occasionally used "bonus character" and "guest character" interchangeably, though the overwhelming trend (and as far as I can tell, the only way devs themselves use the term) is to use the term "guests" to refer solely to characters visiting from other franchises. Notably, Yoshimitsu has avoided this designation despite regularly featuring in Tekken games as well--I believe this is because he originated in Soul Calibur, but I'll be damned if I can remember clearly enough to be certain of that.


Bosses and Scenario Characters:

Throughout the franchise, various characters have appeared as adversaries in single player modes who are generally non-playable themselves (and would be broken in terms of balance if they were playable, due to devastating movesets):

  • Soul Edge/Soul Blade: In the earliest builds of the arcade release of this game Cervantes (who was not initially selectable, but became selectable in later versions of the game) was the initial boss, with players faced with Inferno (called simply "Soul Edge" in this first game) after defeating Cervantes. Soul Edge/Inferno has Cervantes' moveset and some buffs to damage resistance/damage dealt, as compared to his later appearances in the franchise, where he is almost always a mimic (though sometimes with buffs and additional bonus moves). Soul Edge/Inferno became a selectable character in the Playstation console release of the game, but remained just a re-skin of Cervantes in this role.
  • Soul Calibur: Soul Edge returns as the final boss in the first Soul sequel, but at this point was given the name he has retained to this day: Inferno. He is a mimic character at this point (changing his style every round) and augmented again by damage buffs when played against in single player modes, but has no unique moves.
  • Soul Calibur II: Inferno appeared as a a final boss for some characters in some modes of the third entry in the franchise, again as a buffed mimic without bonus moves.
  • Soul Calibur III:In this entry, Inferno was replaced by two other interdimensional hellbeasts (or whatever you wish to call them): Abyss and Night Terror. Abyss is actually a selectable character in the console version, where he is immensely overpowered, using a variation on Zasalamel's moveset with many additional unique and powerful moves. Night Terror is an oversized, winged variant of Nightmare with devastating range and damage output who will fly back into the ring if knocked out while it has health remaining! Night Terrror is thankfully not selectable in either version of the game. The console edition's deep, content rich, and varied story modes also include a number of interesting and peculiar challenge characters, including a giant animated stone hellenic Colossus that towers over the player at several stories tall, Keres (a heavy hitter using one of the bonus styles who is immune to stun, GIs, and a number of other mechanics that would normally result in increased knockback and/or loss of frames), Charade's disembodied legs and/or eyeball, invisible foes, and all kinds of other mayhem ranging from silly and gimmicky to truly entertaining. Charade (when he appears with all of his body parts) is essentially a mimic, just as he was in SCII, but also gets the benefit of a number of additional specialty moves, mostly involving shooting laser beams out his eyeball, because why not?
    • Soul Calibur III Arcade Edition: The boss composition changed slightly for this release of SCIII, with Inferno returning for some final fights in the Standard Mode, using a moveset reminescent of his style in Soul Edge (a variant on Cervantes' moveset with a few classical Inferno power moves added on top). Abyss and Nighterror also featured in this edition, with the selection of which of the three bosses was faced at the end of the Standard Mode dependent upon performance.
  • Soul Calibur V: Elysium features as the final boss in the story mode in this game, but she is just a mimic character who changes her style each round and has a unique critical edge.
  • Soul Calibur VI: Inferno finally returned as the final boss for SCVI, as something of an enhanced version of Nightmare with buffed damage and a few unique moves. He's unlockable and useable for multiple single and multiplayer modes, but not allowed for online multiplayer.
The Mimics:

These characters (some of whom are the same bosses described above, others of which are selectable characters in both single and multiplayer modes) do not have their own fully unique styles, but rather borrow the movesets of other characters at random. Some change their style every round, while others randomly select a style and keep it for all rounds of the given match or single player scenario. The (possibly non-comprehensive) list of mimics is as follows:

  • Soul Calibur: Edge Master, Inferno (boss)
  • Soul Calibur II: Charade, Inferno (boss)
  • Soul Calibur III: Olcadan, Charade (non-playable, but features in story modes as a mimic who switches between the non-bonus characters and who has some bonus abilities), Doppelganger (non-playable, but features in story modes as a mimic who always copies your current moveset), Shadow Master (non-playable, but features in story modes as a mimic who randomly selects between the bonus character styles), Will-o-the-Wisp (non-playable, but features in story modes as a straightforward mimic whose main advantage is that it has a somewhat invisible frame, making hit detection hard to judge).
  • Soul Calibur V: Edge Master, Elysium (boss, but also selectable in multiplayer; she has her own critical edge but otherwise gets her entire moveset from the character she is mimicking), and Kilik (Kilik does not have his classic moveset in SCV and is solely a skin used for a mimic selection--even though the game already had two mimic--for...reasons? It's often pretty hard to figure out what the devs for SCV were thinking with their design choices.)
Create-a-Soul characters and other re-skins:

Of course, discussing the mechanics of CaS characters could be a document in itself, but it suffices for our purposes here to note simply that they exist and have become a substantial feature contributing the the enjoyability of the franchise since the ability to create these custom skins first became available in the console release of SCIII. In a similar vein, across all entries of the series, several hundred tertiary background characters have appeared as opponents across single players modes of the franchise's nine fighting game entries (SE/SB, SCI, SCII, SCIII/AE, SCIV, SC:BD, SCV, SC:LS, and SCVI). I'd conservatively estimate that there are well over 400 of these basic re-skin characters present in various single player modes across the franchise, even if we leave Lost Swords out of the equation.


The Final Tally:

For reference, below is a comprehensive list of all selectable characters, standard mimics, and bosses, with characters who share a style listed as a single entry:
  • Main roster styles:
    • Classic story era: Algol, Amy/Scherezade, Astaroth/Ashlotte, Azwel, Cassandra, Cervantes/Shura, Dampierre, Grøh, Hilde, Hwang/Assassin, Ivy, Kilik/Angol Fear, Li Long, Lizardman/OG Aeon/Lizardmen, Maxi, Mitsurugi, Necrid, Nightmare/Kamikirimusi, Raphael, Rock/Beserker, Seong Han-myeong, Seong Mi-na, Setsuka, Siegfried, Sophitia, Taki, Talim, Tira, Voldo, Xianghua, Yoshimitsu, Yun-seong, Zasalamel
    • SCV exclusives: Aeon, Alpha Patroklos, Leixia, Natsu, Patroklos, Pyrrha, Pyrrha Omega, Viola, Xiba, Z.W.E.I.
  • Styles exclusive to SCIII bonus selection: Abelia, Arthur, Aurelia, Chester, Demuth, Girardot, Greed, Hualin, Luna, Lynette, Miser, Revenant, Strife, Valeria
  • Guests: 2B, The Apprentice, Darth Vader, Devil Jin, Ezio Auditore, Geralt, Haohmaru, Heihachi, Kratos, Link, Spawn, Yoda
  • Bosses with completely or substantially unique movesets: Abyss, Colossus, Inferno (SCVI), Night Terror
  • Mimics:
    • Playable/exact copycats: Charade (SCII), Edge Master, Kilik (SCV), Olcadan
    • Mimicking bosses (may have some buffs, immunities, a handful of unique bonus moves, or special mechanics): Charade (SCIII), Doppleganger, Elysium, Inferno/Soul Blade (SB, SCI, SCII), Keres, Shadow Master, Will-o-the-Wisp
Among these characters, there are roughly 72 fighting styles to date, give or take one or two close calls. That's quite the crowded stage of history. I hope this obsessively detailed walk down memory lane is of interest to some.
 
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Rusted Blade

[10] Knight
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White=standard character -- Gold=guest character -- Blue=bonus character -- Red=playable boss -- M=movelist -- C=Combo examples -- P=Gameplay exemplar -- T=Tutorial
Hey folks, I thought I would augment my original post here with a table that details the history of every playable style, organized by game chronology. This is meant to serve as a resource for anybody who wants to look at the evolution of a given style across the history of the series, or just as a one-stop index so that anyone can check the visual movelist, standard combos, some pro gameplay and the 8wayrun bio for any given character. I'm also thinking about adding a fourth link per cell for tutorials; let me know if you think the table would benefit from this.

Unfortunately, it was taking much longer than I expected to populate the video links tonight, so I'll have to finish this later in the week, but I wanted to upload what I had thus far so that a browser crash/draft save bug doesn't lose the work. Most of the regular roster character names are also not properly color-coded as yet because, as it turns out, you can't colourize text after you've already hyperlinked it...which would have been nice to know before-hand (frustrating, bugged forum formatting software strikes again!) Anyway, by all means, if you know any good videos to suggest for vacant P slots, let me know!
 
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DanteSC3

[14] Master
I’m just now seeing this thread, and I’d like to offer a few corrections to the initial post:

Han-myeong is not playable, but appears with a unique model (most notably, with facial hair), using Mitsurugi’s style, in Libra of Soul. So they do acknowledge his existence to this day.

You say Revenant existed before SoulCalibur III, but I’m not aware of this being the case. He was reused in SoulCalibur IV, but was introduced in SoulCalibur III, as Zasalamel’s puppet.

(And I admit this somewhat goes against the spirit of the thread, but in the interests of completeness) While SoulCalibur III lacked a guest style, it did include a few guest “characters” through customization equipment, particularly notable as deliberate inclusions due to their being unlocked last and being the most expensive, they were deliberate and complete. These are guests from other Namco properties, not unlike Devil Jin or Heihachi, so I still think they count. Most famous was KOS-MOS from the Xenosaga series (who doesn’t have a canon weapon or style, but is frequently given Grieve Edge or Zasalamel styles), but there was also Gilgamesh from The Tower of Druaga (whose weapon is Excalibur, represented in Sword & Shield style) and Valkyrie from The Legend of Valkyrie (whose weapon is Valkyrie, represented in Cassandra and Sword & Shield styles).

Inferno has a few unique moves in SoulCalibur, actually. His now infamous spinning kills 95% of your health bar move was in, though it wasn’t nearly as broken, and he had a spinning lunge attack throw that was used in SoulBlade. His floating stance initiated these moves. He also had these moves in SoulCalibur II as a boss.

Charade in SoulCalibur III always uses Wave Sword in full body, Grieve Edge in legs mode, and pretty much just the laser in core mode. Not really a “mimic” in true fashion, with static styles.

You neglected to mention Elysium’s buffed Pyrrha Omega style, which changes animations to be more like Sophitia and adds properties like ring out and guard crush. She retains these buffs when used as a playable character, only when mimicking Pyrrha Omega, but only uses this style in her boss fight. It could also be argued that Edge Master and Kilik are boss characters, though they don’t possess extra moves, aside from Kilik having his extra follow-up hit (22BBB compared to Xiba’s 22BB) that was exclusive to Edge Master prior (Edge Master can do it too, of course). Edge Master always uses Alpha Patroklos and Kilik always uses “Xiba” style when fought as a boss.

Oh, well you did get to them in the mimics section, as I figured you would. Edge Master in SoulCalibur has the extra follow-up hit when mimicking Kilik’s style as mentioned previously. Kilik didn’t get the extra follow-up hit until SoulCalibur V, but it originated here. As mentioned before, I wouldn’t call SoulCalibur III Charade a mimic. And not mentioned, but Kilik has unique intro/outdo animations and retains his taunt when a boss or using “Xiba” style.

I don’t really intend on nitpicking, but just improving the data quality.
 

Rusted Blade

[10] Knight
I’m just now seeing this thread, and I’d like to offer a few corrections to the initial post:

Han-myeong is not playable, but appears with a unique model (most notably, with facial hair), using Mitsurugi’s style, in Libra of Soul. So they do acknowledge his existence to this day.
. . . . .
(And I admit this somewhat goes against the spirit of the thread, but in the interests of completeness) While SoulCalibur III lacked a guest style, it did include a few guest “characters” through customization equipment, particularly notable as deliberate inclusions due to their being unlocked last and being the most expensive, they were deliberate and complete. These are guests from other Namco properties, not unlike Devil Jin or Heihachi, so I still think they count. Most famous was KOS-MOS from the Xenosaga series (who doesn’t have a canon weapon or style, but is frequently given Grieve Edge or Zasalamel styles), but there was also Gilgamesh from The Tower of Druaga (whose weapon is Excalibur, represented in Sword & Shield style) and Valkyrie from The Legend of Valkyrie (whose weapon is Valkyrie, represented in Cassandra and Sword & Shield styles).
I think you missed the preamble in the primer that this documentation is about movesets, not characters. Plenty of characters from earlier in the series show up in Libra using another character's moveset (for example, numerous of the SCIII:CE bonus style representatives/the Chronicles of the sword NPCs). Indeed, a few such characters also make appearances in this fashion in SCIV and SCV as well.

However, again, the point of this document is to distinguish the various play styles throughout the series, not make an accounting of every time a character showed up as a narrative manner; I do make a couple of blanket statements in the primer about which games feature clones, but I don't note them individually if they aren't present in a game while representing a unique style not shared with anyone else. Likewise, "guest characters" who are just CaS mock-ups are not listed (even if the creation items are specifically based on them, as was the case with the KOS-MOS gear) because they have no moveset. Think of this as a styles/gameplay document, not a character/narrative guide.

Inferno has a few unique moves in SoulCalibur, actually. His now infamous spinning kills 95% of your health bar move was in, though it wasn’t nearly as broken, and he had a spinning lunge attack throw that was used in SoulBlade. His floating stance initiated these moves. He also had these moves in SoulCalibur II as a boss.
Yes, I note those abilities for SCII, but I don't believe he had them in Soul Calibur I. I'll load it up later to double check that, but I did replay all bosses when preparing the primer, so either I made a serious error in recording the details or you're conflating his SCI and SCII mechanics. As I said, I'll take a look later!

Charade in SoulCalibur III always uses Wave Sword in full body, Grieve Edge in legs mode, and pretty much just the laser in core mode. Not really a “mimic” in true fashion, with static styles.
Ahhh, now see, that sounds right and is something I had forgotten! I'll correct it, thank you! Actually that reminds me of another omission; the half-charades also show up in SCII Weapon Master Mode as well.

You neglected to mention Elysium’s buffed Pyrrha Omega style, which changes animations to be more like Sophitia and adds properties like ring out and guard crush. She retains these buffs when used as a playable character, only when mimicking Pyrrha Omega, but only uses this style in her boss fight. It could also be argued that Edge Master and Kilik are boss characters, though they don’t possess extra moves, aside from Kilik having his extra follow-up hit (22BBB compared to Xiba’s 22BB) that was exclusive to Edge Master prior (Edge Master can do it too, of course). Edge Master always uses Alpha Patroklos and Kilik always uses “Xiba” style when fought as a boss..

Oh, well you did get to them in the mimics section, as I figured you would. Edge Master in SoulCalibur has the extra follow-up hit when mimicking Kilik’s style as mentioned previously. Kilik didn’t get the extra follow-up hit until SoulCalibur V, but it originated here. As mentioned before, I wouldn’t call SoulCalibur III Charade a mimic. And not mentioned, but Kilik has unique intro/outdo animations and retains his taunt when a boss or using “Xiba” style.

I don’t really intend on nitpicking, but just improving the data quality.
And these are details I was completely unaware of--thank you! Some of it is a little too much paticularity for the primer (it's a crowded document as is), but it's all interesting to know all the same. Well, I suppose I could find a way to generically refer to these variations with a single sentence.

You say Revenant existed before SoulCalibur III, but I’m not aware of this being the case. He was reused in SoulCalibur IV, but was introduced in SoulCalibur III, as Zasalamel’s puppet.
My recollection is that revenants first show up in the dungeons of SCII's Weapon Master mode, but perhaps I made that up in my head after remembering them from the clocktower in SCIII. I'll double check it, thanks.[/SPOILER][/spoiler]
 
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DanteSC3

[14] Master
I think you missed the preamble in the primer that this documentation is about movesets, not characters.
I didn’t miss it, I just felt like there could be some addendums, as I noted. I know you’re not super keen on the story side of things, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who takes this sort of thing into account when discussing characters. I’m not trying to bog down the thread with mundane details, it’s just technically inaccurate statements that I was looking to correct. Fair enough if you’re only talking about moves, but I was basically just taking notes as I read your post about things that I felt could stand to be addressed.

for example, numerous of the SCIII:CE bonus style representatives/the Chronicles of the sword NPCs
I’m not aware of any of these. As a Chronicles if the Sword lover and aficionado, I would definitely pick up on them if they made appearances, but they do not. The only bonus character from SoulCalibur III that appears in Libra is Miser. Greed is mentioned, but doesn’t appear. None of the shopkeepers appear. Revenant “appears” in the same way as Lizardmen. There were some odd appearances (not keeping in line with aesthetics or styles) of CotS folks in SoulCalibur IV, but have been absent ever since.

But back to Han-myeong, I still think it bears mention, because he has never had his own unique style. He was just Hwang back in SoulBlade, unless he had some differences that I’m not remembering. It has been a while, but I don’t recall him or the Nightmare skin for Siegfried or either Sophitia alternate having extra moves.

————————————————————

As for the rest, I’m pretty sure they’re accurate. Assassins, Berserkers, and Lizardmen were the dungeon encounters in Weapon Master Mode, that’s basically why those three made it into the game in the first place. Revenant is absolutely a Zasalamel thing. He’s also got one with him in SoulCalibur IV. And I’m sure Inferno has the extra moves in SoulCalibur, since I’m one who “mains” mimics. I enjoyed Elysium and Inferno both for their extra moves, which plays into my disappointment factor for Inferno in SoulCalibur VI being a waste.
 

Rusted Blade

[10] Knight
I didn’t miss it, I just felt like there could be some addendums, as I noted. I know you’re not super keen on the story side of things, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who takes this sort of thing into account when discussing characters. I’m not trying to bog down the thread with mundane details, it’s just technically inaccurate statements that I was looking to correct. Fair enough if you’re only talking about moves, but I was basically just taking notes as I read your post about things that I felt could stand to be addressed.
Well, I welcome whatever you wish to discuss in the thread, but insofar as the first two posts (the primer and index) are concerned, the primary purposes is to discuss movesets. The Wiki here at 8wayrun (and for that matter the Wikia and numerous other pages elsewhere) already organize and discuss characters from a narrative perspective. The primer and index have the explicit purpose of discussing which movesets appear in which game, how they have evolved, as well as various other gameplay details relating to the roster.

I’m not aware of any of these. As a Chronicles if the Sword lover and aficionado, I would definitely pick up on them if they made appearances, but they do not. The only bonus character from SoulCalibur III that appears in Libra is Miser. Greed is mentioned, but doesn’t appear. None of the shopkeepers appear. Revenant “appears” in the same way as Lizardmen.
Yup Miser and Revenant. But also Arthur and Chester if you look around enough. And I think Demuth is mentioned in addition to Greed. I forget who all shows up in Tower of Lost Souls in IV as a clone--Revenant using Cervantes' style for sure.

But back to Han-myeong, I still think it bears mention, because he has never had his own unique style. He was just Hwang back in SoulBlade, unless he had some differences that I’m not remembering.
It's literally just a couple of moves that use different animations/frames--basically Hwang was a near clone for Mitsurugi (he only exists because of the need to avoid a samurai in the Korean localization, but because the Korean port was also built on top of a different version of the game, the two ended up with infinitesimally different movesets). Then Han-myeong was made playable for the playstation port, yet another version, and has what is a combination of the version one and version two Mitsurugi/Hwang movesets. As I note in the primer itself, this is the closest call in the whole thing to calling this a unique style and it's why I coded him as a bonus character in the index, to reflect this fact.

Revenant is absolutely a Zasalamel thing.
Maybe so--I thought that you faced skeletons earlier in the series, but maybe I was just thinking of the Ghost Rider Cervantes version of Inferno from SE?
 

DanteSC3

[14] Master
Yup Miser and Revenant. But also Arthur and Chester if you look around enough. And I think Demuth is mentioned in addition to Greed. I forget who all shows up in Tower of Lost Souls in IV as a clone--Revenant using Cervantes' style for sure.
Arthur has his own questline, of that I'm aware. Chester, not so much, and Chester being one of my favorites, I'm pretty certain I would have noted and remembered it (and probably mocked the game for whatever style it haphazardly gave him to represent Dagger & Bomb). If it's an excessively rare encounter, then fair enough, but Demuth isn't mentioned that I'm aware of either. In that Chronicles of the Sword is strictly non-canon, I really doubt any of them are in SoulCalibur VI, just personally, along with my own experience with Libra of Soul, of which I have a lot, trying to dig up that elusive Nightmare title, not having seen any of them.

Chester is a normal name, so it's possible that there is a Chester somewhere out there, but I doubt it's the Chester, rebel who rose the ranks and nearly overthrew the empire from within. Or it could have been an Astral Fissure, since I'm sure I'm not the only one who is making Chronicles of the Sword CaS (I even sighted a second Luna on 8WAYRUN just this past week). I also don't think that they would just haphazardly use the name, though, considering that they do, in fact, have a Chester of importance. The SoulCalibur IV Tower of Lost Souls folks being a noted exception, they didn't repeat this mistake in either Broken Destiny or SoulCalibur V, where they could have put them in either game's Quick Battle. Arthur, Hwang, Li Long, and even Salia showed up (in Broken Destiny), but not folks from Chronicles of the Sword.

I don't actually think Revenant is in Tower of Lost Souls. I know he is fought as an opponent in a few stories, for sure Siegfried and Kilik, along wth Zasalamel and either Frederick or Xianglian, apparitions of Zasalamel, and Revenant serves as Zasalamel's backup in his own story mode, but Tower of Lost Souls was comprised of custom characters only, not ones that broke the rules using pieces that you can't obtain like several story mode characters.

Maybe so--I thought that you faced skeletons earlier in the series, but maybe I was just thinking of the Ghost Rider Cervantes version of Inferno from SE?
That's probably what you're thinking of, or just Inferno himself in SoulCalibur and SoulCalibur II, though he doesn't have the fancy dress.