DLC Theory: "Stone" is NOT Rock

Nyte

Fu-ma's Shadow
Eh, I was bored, so I started thinking of the future of Soulcalibur and thought of the Season 2 DLC, and why I don't think Rock is among them. I'm gonna try to approach this from a neutral perspective, but be warned that some may not like it.

By now, you're probably aware that six codenames were datamined after Update 1.11: Star, Snow, Reptile, Yell, Yellow and Stone. It's believed that these are placeholders setting up Season 2, which will likely be announced at EVO 2019 as that's the most logical place to do so, and that's where Tekken 7 announced their own. Many speculate that Stone refers to Nathaniel "Rock" Adams, given the obvious thematic similarities between their names. However, I do NOT think it's Rock, and I have a number of reasons for it. Of which, I'll detail below.

Basically, here's a list of things Rock is not. I'm not saying this to knock on him specifically, but I'm trying to speak the truth.

Rock is not:
  1. A famous, well-regarded series staple like Taki. His removal didn't spark a backlash like Taki getting cut from SCV did, and many didn't even notice.
  2. A unique moveset with mass appeal. Yeah, Rock was around before Astaroth, but the fact is that Astaroth has completely eclipsed Rock as the main grappler in all respects. SCVI even integrates Rock's moves into Astaroth, making him a composite of the two.
  3. A sexy waifu. People have pointed out that if Mi-na can get the "differentiation treatment", so can Rock. But that falls flat because 1) Mi-na is much more marketable as a "sexy waifu" and 2) even then, she's still on the base roster which means she doesn't have to be bought separately. I'll get to that later. In fighting games, like it or not, a character that's made with fanservice in mind is very marketable and an easy sell compared to Rock.
  4. A guest character. Rock is not from another series, which means he doesn't have the instant star-power that would bring.
  5. A cool design with general appeal. Just looking at Rock, he doesn't stand out. Sure, he has the animal head covering him, but it still just doesn't "pop" to me and others. Compare this to other characters, like Nightmare, Yoshimitsu, Ivy, Sophitia, Azwel etc. and then look at Rock. He doesn't stand out visually, just like he doesn't stand out mechanically.
  6. Popular. Yes, I'm aware that Rock has fans, but those fans aren't large enough to justify making him DLC when there's so much more that can be added.
Put simply, it's completely stacked against him to be DLC. He's not famous, core, "cool", "sexy", a guest, unique, or well-remembered by all but the biggest fans.

And going further, this is DLC. There's no safety net here, and each character made into DLC has to be put because the character in question is considered marketable. These characters have to be purchased in addition to the game, which means they must be seen as worth it by the general audience. Project Soul will likely want returnees with popularity and uniqueness, at least one more guest, and maybe a newcomer or two with mass appeal by their gameplay and design. I can't see where Rock fits into that.

Look at the most recent season of Street Fighter V. That featured Sagat, Blanka, Cody, Sakura, Falke and G. All of them are marketable as either classics or having something that's "cool" about them. Let's look at a similar scenario earlier in Dead or Alive 5. When it was time to bring Tengu back, they didn't actually bring him back. They made a female version of him, that's basically the same but is sexy, and then used Nyotengu in his place, because they knew that even though Tengu had a following, his appeal is limited, but adding boobs on the concept suddenly widens the viability.

So to put simply, I don't think "Stone" actually means Rock. If not him, what could it mean? Who knows... but I remember there being a rumor of a dark-skinned barbarian woman that didn't make the cut... I honestly wouldn't be surprised if that's what the codename refers to. To be honest, I'm not sure if the codenames truly mean anything, but that's another topic.

I'm not saying Rock has no chance, but looking at the facts, it's hard to argue for his inclusion. As said, all DLC needs to sell. I believe Rock would be a flop compared to other DLC, and a single flop isn't good for business.

What do you guys think?
 

Klimat

[08] Mercenary
I think it's still more likely than not that they will actualluy try to sell us Rock, but truth to be told, I personally would much rather have a replacement/someone else entirely.
 

Rusted Blade

[07] Duelist
What do you guys think?
If I'm to be perfectly honest, I think there's a whole lot of confirmation bias in your thinking. Basically like most people who have been randomly discounting Rock as "could never happen; nobody (or only a super small selection of people) likes him" [based on no more empirical evidence than apparently that one poll of a few hundred Soul Calibur players who happened to see the notice on social media, otherwise known as .0000001% of the people who have ever bought a Soul Calibur game, well below the statistical margin where that would mean anything], you seem to have started with the premise decided to your mind and then worked your way backwards to conform the evidence, rather than looking at the actual patterns in the content that has been released to arrive at a conclusion. So, for example:

1. Virtually nobody else is a "staple" to the point that Taki is, so that's a pretty non-telling standard to judge by. In fact, just about anybody who is anybody in a "vital to the early story" sense was selected in the base character selection. After season 1, we're basically looking at just eight pre-SCV main roster characters, and two of those are unlikely in the extreme because of the story which SCVI has reached to thus far. Leaving six characters from the early narrative whose stories overlap with those currently already told in SCVI. ...And those allusional names all map pretty closely to those six characters. Ockham's razor, my friend.

2. I'll give you this much: I was surprised when I saw 'Stone' in there, because I didn't think he was coming back after they folded yet more of his moves into Astaroth. I can only imagine they didn't decide to add him as DLC until somewhat later in the process. But there's no reason they can't distinguish him from Astaroth with some mix-ups in his movesets. I mean, they would hardly be the only two characters who once shared a niche but which were nonetheless included in this game and yet have never played more differently than they do now. Look at Nightmare and Siegfried. They were once the -exact- same moveset and as of SCVI, they don't share a single precise move in common. There are plenty of other examples, and there will be even more before the DLC additions are done.

3. And Astaroth is? Nightmare is? Voldo is? Lizardman is? Cervantes is? Yoshimitsu is? Shall I go on? Also, btw dude, Mina and Kilik have played the same at all for decades.

4. Yup, and neither are the bulk of the dlc characters. In fact, statistically about 94% of the characters in the game are not going to be guest characters.

5. Purely subjective assessment. It can't possibly be treated as "evidence" of any creative choice they will make because you can't possibly forecast what the devs consider a "good design" among the past characters.

6. Again, we're talking about only so many of the classic characters left. At least to that extent, I think Rock's "unpopularity" is largely self-perpetuating speculation based in a thimble's full of actual solid evidence. I think he's roughly as likely to appear as most of the remaining classic cast, baring the season one characters and Setsuka. I can't imagine there are many more people clamouring for Hwang (though you can certainly count me among them).

Honestly (and not meaning to give offense but rather solid argument) I think you're going way out of your way to create a much more convoluted explanation than just seeing the cigar for the cigar. I'd bet dollars to doughnuts Stone is Rock, just as our first instinct told each of us when we saw that name, especially in the context of numerous other names that also happen to match to the names/traits of the other classic characters.

Sidenote: it has been suggested that this character could be Bagu, with a fresh take on Rock's style. I can't say as that would be the worst idea ever or that it's 100% impossible, but I'd say it's significantly less likely than, again, the obvious explanation.

Who knows... but I remember there being a rumor of a dark-skinned barbarian woman that didn't make the cut... I honestly wouldn't be surprised if that's what the codename refers to.
Like a lot of things that pass through here, that turned out to be complete rumour mill nonsense, probably by someone making it up for shits and giggles somewhere on the net; there's not one solid reference anywhere from any dev or journalistic claiming to have heard it from a dev that suggests any such character was planned.
 
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Ardenwolf

[09] Warrior
Um... I think one of the reasons people weren't all, "Oh no Rock isn't in V" is because he was
A: Already older, and
B: It was expected he'd be replaced by his son, Bangoo, which since he wasn't I think some people were disappointed by. I know I was. Same as many were expecting an older version of the really young characters like Amy (Which we kind of got but they ruined by giving her a different style entirely), and Talim. I know I'm not the only one who was like, "wait? Where's Bangoo?"

I don't think anyone expected Rock to be in five, most people expect Bangoo.
 

LisaK

[13] Hero
Daishi said Bangoo was excluded from SC 5 because he did not want another Rock or something worse than him.
 

TresDias

[04] Fighter
@Rusted Blade
I feel like you're being unnecessarily kind of confrontational in your response here ...

In particular, for example, replying to each of Nyte's points in a vacuum rather than as a synthesis. Obviously he wasn't suggesting Lizardman or Yoshimitsu fall as a point of contrast under observation #3. They would go under his observation #5.

It isn't unreasonable to ponder whether "STONE" could be someone else, and the observations Nyte raises are points of consideration that it wouldn't be surprising for Project Soul to consider.

Not that I don't think it will be Rock, mind you, but if it isn't I won't be too surprised either. My reaction will be more like "Oh, I guess they thought this would work out better" -- whatever that "this" turns out to be.

I do think it's going to be Rock, but I really don't think it's for any other reason than the development team wanting to bring the whole pre-SCIV roster in before moving the series in a new direction. Which I personally think is awesome, mind you, as a fan of this series since "Soul Edge" was released to arcades. I can't necessarily call it the greatest stroke of marketing, though. =P

In other words, I feel like they're going to bring Rock in despite reasonable observations Nyte raises rather than in line with them.
 

Rusted Blade

[07] Duelist
Daishi said Bangoo was excluded from SC 5 because he did not want another Rock or something worse than him.
Really? I'd never heard that before? Do you happen to recall which interview this was said to have taken place in? Sounds like it could be apocryphal to me, but if you could provide a cite, I'd love to read more!

@Rusted Blade
I feel like you're being unnecessarily kind of confrontational in your response here ...
I wasn't meaning to be confrontational at all. I was just responding to the argument laid out, and Nyte picked his own predicates; if the predicates are weak, then the over-arching argument which is staked to them is week (or at least less strong to the extent a given predicate does not hold up. That's just the way that making or refuting an argument with propositional logic works. To use the example you chose, item 3, he suggested that Rock was less likely because he was not a "Waifu"; to me, that rather obviously raises the many counter-examples to that that principle already in the game. And to be fair, it's not like I responded to only one of his arguments like it was the "main one" he was pinning all of his conclusions on (which definitely would have been a weak form of refutation, by putting a spin on his comments he may not have intended); rather I responded to each of the predicates.

Now Nyte may or may not have his own counter-arguments he would be inclined to share, but I think I can trust he will see I meant nothing personal in my assessment. I'm just not sold on the argument, and having seen variations of it for a while, I decided to deconstruct in light of the evidence I think we do have. Again, I think this is very much an Ockham's razor kind of situation; the simplest explanation strikes me as most likely in this instance: STONE=Rock. Bangoo would be interesting, I can't deny it, but based on the fundamental design principle of a faithful remake which seems to have governed this game to date, I just don't see it. But it doesn't mean I begrudge Nyte his decision to open up debate on the matter; that's a large part of why we are all here.

All I’d want out of Rock is just to differentiate/improve his fighting style more so he doesn’t end up receiving the short end of the stick in comparison to Astaroth, like he did in SC4. Not saying I like Rock or anything, but I’d be willing to give him a chance.
That's basically how I feel. I've scarcely played Rock over the years, but I don't really so how he's any more or less dispensable than the rest of the classic cast, especially if I am trying to put myself in the place of the perspective of a developer. I mean, if anything, the present game is actually kind of light on heavy hitters. Siegfried and Nightmare have both been moved slightly more towards speed (vs. damage output/defensive capacity) in this entry (as indeed, they slowly but consistently have been since SCI). Asta really stands alone as a dedicated bruiser at this point. I certainly think there's room for another heavy and slower character, and Rock fits the bill. The strongest part of Nyte's argument for me is that they merged so much of Rock's niche into Astaroth in recent time. But there's been substantial reworks on everyone (or at least, more substantial than you usually see between any two games) and if there's one thing the dev team of VI succeeded at, I would argue that it's differentiating characters. I see no fundamental reason the same cannot be done for Rock
 
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Nyte

Fu-ma's Shadow
If I'm to be perfectly honest, I think there's a whole lot of confirmation bias in your thinking. Basically like most people who have been randomly discounting Rock as "could never happen; nobody (or only a super small selection of people) likes him" [based on no more empirical evidence than apparently that one poll of a few hundred Soul Calibur players who happened to see the notice on social media, otherwise known as .0000001% of the people who have ever bought a Soul Calibur game, well below the statistical margin where that would mean anything], you seem to have started with the premise decided to your mind and then worked your way backwards to conform the evidence, rather than looking at the actual patterns in the content that has been released to arrive at a conclusion. So, for example:

1. Virtually nobody else is a "staple" to the point that Taki is, so that's a pretty non-telling standard to judge by. In fact, just about anybody who is anybody in a "vital to the early story" sense was selected in the base character selection. After season 1, we're basically looking at just eight pre-SCV main roster characters, and two of those are unlikely in the extreme because of the story which SCVI has reached to thus far. Leaving six characters from the early narrative whose stories overlap with those currently already told in SCVI. ...And those allusional names all map pretty closely to those six characters. Ockham's razor, my friend.

2. I'll give you this much: I was surprised when I saw 'Stone' in there, because I didn't think he was coming back after they folded yet more of his moves into Astaroth. I can only imagine they didn't decide to add him as DLC until somewhat later in the process. But there's no reason they can't distinguish him from Astaroth with some mix-ups in his movesets. I mean, they would hardly be the only two characters who once shared a niche but which were nonetheless included in this game and yet have never played more differently than they do now. Look at Nightmare and Siegfried. They were once the -exact- same moveset and as of SCVI, they don't share a single precise move in common. There are plenty of other examples, and there will be even more before the DLC additions are done.

3. And Astaroth is? Nightmare is? Voldo is? Lizardman is? Cervantes is? Yoshimitsu is? Shall I go on? Also, btw dude, Mina and Kilik have played the same at all for decades.

4. Yup, and neither are the bulk of the dlc characters. In fact, statistically about 94% of the characters in the game are not going to be guest characters.

5. Purely subjective assessment. It can't possibly be treated as "evidence" of any creative choice they will make because you can't possibly forecast what the devs consider a "good design" among the past characters.

6. Again, we're talking about only so many of the classic characters left. At least to that extent, I think Rock's "unpopularity" is largely self-perpetuating speculation based in a thimble's full of actual solid evidence. I think he's roughly as likely to appear as most of the remaining classic cast, baring the season one characters and Setsuka. I can't imagine there are many more people clamouring for Hwang (though you can certainly count me among them).

Honestly (and not meaning to give offense but rather solid argument) I think you're going way out of your way to create a much more convoluted explanation than just seeing the cigar for the cigar. I'd bet dollars to doughnuts Stone is Rock, just as our first instinct told each of us when we saw that name, especially in the context of numerous other names that also happen to match to the names/traits of the other classic characters.

Sidenote: it has been suggested that this character could be Bagu, with a fresh take on Rock's style. I can't say as that would be the worst idea ever or that it's 100% impossible, but I'd say it's significantly less likely than, again, the obvious explanation.



Like a lot of things that pass through here, that turned out to be complete rumour mill nonsense, probably by someone making it up for shits and giggles somewhere on the net; there's not one solid reference anywhere from any dev or journalistic claiming to have heard it from a dev that suggests any such character was planned.
If it's Rock, I'd be impressed that they thought someone like him could sell. I just don't see it.
 

Rusted Blade

[07] Duelist
All I’d want out of Rock is just to differentiate/improve his fighting style more so he doesn’t end up receiving the short end of the stick in comparison to Astaroth, like he did in SC4. Not saying I like Rock or anything, but I’d be willing to give him a chance.
If it's Rock, I'd be impressed that they thought someone like him could sell. I just don't see it.
Well, I think there's a danger of not seeing the forest for the trees when focusing to much on any one character's flashiness appeal, especially insofar as this is a fighter, which requires a diverse roster of movesets. Some characters that don't look like they are obvious picks make more sense in that light. Anyway, I still think there a plenty of people who would buy Rock quite readily--or at least more than you seem to be presuming. Afterall, there's a fair number of people who will buy every classic character offered, or any character at all. And even more people who will buy the season pass before they even know who will be in it.

And a lot of people for whom Rock was their main. Think about it this way: how eager are those folks to get their hands on him again. I know how eager I am to have access to Amy's moveset again, and at least she had a half-way-up-the-tiers moveset last time she appeared; Rock got nerfed into the ground (ironic but accurate phrasing) in IV and then disappeared for two games (to date). Almost all of the character loyalists have been satisfied at this point, so I don't see why PS wouldn't satisfy those players as an afterthought here, especially insofar as it matches with their design/narrative for VI to date.
 

Nyte

Fu-ma's Shadow
I really think you're overshooting Rock's appeal. I don't recall very many people sad to see he was gone from SCV, and in fact few even acknowledged it. And "variety of movesets"? Rock is basically a worse Astaroth, and the best aspects of Rock were given to Astaroth. That ain't variety. I mean, yeah, it can be Rock because obviously Stone can equate to Rock, it's just hard for me to see because it's hard to justify him as DLC and I imagine PS being in the same boat.

Also, your arguments completely fall flat to me. I was giving out reasons why I think Rock isn't viable as DLC, all of which add up, and you act like they suddenly apply to everyone.
 
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Rusted Blade

[07] Duelist
Also, your arguments completely fall flat to me. I was giving out reasons why I think Rock isn't viable as DLC, all of which add up, and you act like they suddenly apply to everyone.
Well, I happen to disagree; I think that each of your arguments is subject to so many obvious counter-examples that even collectively they do not add up to much, especially in light of the rest of the evidence and relevant predictive factors. Indeed, I'd be happy to take a bet on the matter if it were practical, to put my own take on the line, but as that's not feasible here, I'll just have to satisfy myself with a friendly but smug smilie face here in this thread in six months when Rock is announced. :P
 

LisaK

[13] Hero
Really? I'd never heard that before? Do you happen to recall which interview this was said to have taken place in? Sounds like it could be apocryphal to me, but if you could provide a cite, I'd love to read more!
He did not speak the same way I did, he was more polite, but unfortunately Daishi erased all the messages associated with SC 5 on his twitter.
I don't even know why I posted it, without proof I'd just be a liar. So...
 

Rusted Blade

[07] Duelist
He did not speak the same way I did, he was more polite, but unfortunately Daishi erased all the messages associated with SC 5 on his twitter.
I don't even know why I posted it, without proof I'd just be a liar. So...
Well I certainly take you at your word that there was something there, but I wish I could have seen the wording myself; one person's seven year old remembrance of a tweet that was either translated or in limited capacity English is hard to stake much credit on, because it could be so open to different possible interpretations.
 

Angrel-San

[09] Warrior
All I’d want out of Rock is just to differentiate/improve his fighting style more so he doesn’t end up receiving the short end of the stick in comparison to Astaroth, like he did in SC4. Not saying I like Rock or anything, but I’d be willing to give him a chance.
Rock in SC4 Broken Destiny was better than Astaroth.