How will the new timeline diverge from the old?

DYY

[09] Warrior
After playing Cassandra Soul Chronicle...

SC4 era Cassandra appears in the story mode, she warned SC6 era Cassandra about the dark future... now SC6 Cassandra has knowledge of upcoming events. That is bound to create timeline divergence.

That hurt to watch... such a cruel fate for SC4 Cassandra. We went from not knowing what happened to her being trapped in Astral Chaos from the art book... to a firm conclusion... she sadly dies/disappears?

The story chapters are also named after Soul Calibur songs... and they reference the Soul Calibur side games... Broken Destiny and Unbreakable Souls on chapter names.
 

DanteSC3

[14] Master
It seemed like to me almost that the Cassandra from the Astral Chaos had been doing a lot of hopping, with futile effort, so up to 17 years of suffering? It’s a bit too much tragedy, reminds me of Steins;Gate.

To be contrary to diverging, though, as has been my thing, so I may as well keep it up, does the specific knowledge of the shard within Sophitia really change all that much, honestly? Cassandra’s quest was always to save her sister from the gods and the swords.

Being a masked superhero with insight from the future, it’s kind of like Zasalamel also receiving a message from the future (which may have actually come from Cassandra too, perhaps?), changing his motivations, but, as hinted by the end of her rope Cassandra from the Astral Chaos, may be a sign that you can’t fight fate, that no matter what you do, things are bound to end up the same.

It’s not that I’m trying to be difficult about this, either, I’m just saying that this doesn’t quite have the implications that I thought it might, going in, that this Cassandra would actually be Cassandra from the future, but it seems as if she ran out of life force and perished? So this is the last hope?

Depending on the method of timelines they’re using, too, this could be a closed loop scenario. Like Grøh and Azwel, they may have always been there, but in the shadows. Cassandra’s Chronicle says that she keeps this knowledge a secret from everyone, so she may have known, but still gets sucked into the Astral Chaos each time she tries to fight fate.
 

xxInfernoxx

[09] Warrior
It seemed like to me almost that the Cassandra from the Astral Chaos had been doing a lot of hopping, with futile effort, so up to 17 years of suffering? It’s a bit too much tragedy, reminds me of Steins;Gate.

To be contrary to diverging, though, as has been my thing, so I may as well keep it up, does the specific knowledge of the shard within Sophitia really change all that much, honestly? Cassandra’s quest was always to save her sister from the gods and the swords.

Being a masked superhero with insight from the future, it’s kind of like Zasalamel also receiving a message from the future (which may have actually come from Cassandra too, perhaps?), changing his motivations, but, as hinted by the end of her rope Cassandra from the Astral Chaos, may be a sign that you can’t fight fate, that no matter what you do, things are bound to end up the same.

It’s not that I’m trying to be difficult about this, either, I’m just saying that this doesn’t quite have the implications that I thought it might, going in, that this Cassandra would actually be Cassandra from the future, but it seems as if she ran out of life force and perished? So this is the last hope?

Depending on the method of timelines they’re using, too, this could be a closed loop scenario. Like Grøh and Azwel, they may have always been there, but in the shadows. Cassandra’s Chronicle says that she keeps this knowledge a secret from everyone, so she may have known, but still gets sucked into the Astral Chaos each time she tries to fight fate.
It all comes down to how much of what her future self said that Cassandra believes, sine she said she didn't believe everything. The same thing pretty much applies to Zasalamel: He knows Algol exists before the events of SC3 after the Libra of Souls story and no longer wants to die before SC and SE clash at the Lost Cathedral, but he's still after the two swords so he may still end up creating the body Inferno uses as Nightmare.
 

Nyte

Fu-ma's Shadow
I think we shouldn't look into the whole "she doesn't believe everything" bit too much. That's only because there's a lot to process. They implication is pretty clear that she, along with Zasalamel, are the only two people with knowledge of the OT events which will dramatically change the NT.
 

ZionOAS

[10] Knight
This is like a classic Soul Calibur is this [BLEEP] canon!? Part of me wants to say it didn’t happen because with the exclusion her story fits perfectly. It’s when I take into consideration that because of Broken destiny part. I can understand why her first chapter happens why there is such a burden on her mind, why she is reluctant to see them get married and why she is rushing their happiness like someone who knows you are going to die in X amount of days live what life you have left to the fullest. Her replacing Sophitia would also keep her home but you just really have no notion at all to try and get that shard out of her chest so when she has a baby they aren’t corrupted?? Nothing? Not even a afterthought? I guess it just bothers me that Cassandra isn’t letting the audience really know what’s going on in her head. It’s even made me go back to see when Taki visited Cassandra because it doesn’t appear in Taki’s chronicle. It made me watch through Sophitia’s story again, even check the main story. That conversation with Taki is shown. I’m not saying Cassandra 0 never happened but this is clearly a Soul Calibur did this [BLEEP] just happen?
 

TresDias

[06] Combatant
We can already firmly say this is a timeline cascade rather than a closed loop: in addition to Zasalamel's motivations changing earlier than before, Cassandra has now gone on her first adventure years earlier than in the original timeline.

Even if events end up playing out almost precisely the same in 1591 (and this I doubt), we still have divergence rather than looping. A loop copies itself. Even Zas playing a similar role as before, and Sophitia dying again for Pyrrha, would make things more comparable to taking the same route to work every day -- similar trips, but not a literal replay of the same Monday morning.
 

DanteSC3

[14] Master
We can already firmly say this is a timeline cascade rather than a closed loop: in addition to Zasalamel's motivations changing earlier than before, Cassandra has now gone on her first adventure years earlier than in the original timeline.
I don't really think so. How it is depicted here in SoulCalibur VI seems about right, timeline-wise. She didn't "[go] on her first adventure" as in make the trek to Ostrheinsburg to confront Soul Edge in Sophitia's stead early, all she did was take the weapons from the shrine on a test run in the local area, which isn't conflicting with the original story.

Her bio in SoulCalibur II states that 7 years prior (so, 1583), she sees Sophitia come home wounded with Taki, and that much still happens, and then "a few years later" when Sophitia is missing again, where Cassandra's story is taking place here in SoulCalibur VI, is when she finds a shard of Soul Edge and notes that it resonates with the Omega Sword & Owl Shield at the shrine. It's different in that we're omitting the shard of Soul Edge, and instead of cursing the gods, she actually receives their blessing, but the timeline events are still intact.

If anything, they're justifying how both Sophitia and Cassandra will be included for SoulCalibur II events, where the original vision for SoulCalibur II was to leave Sophitia home and have Cassandra replace her outright. I'd say that's justifying the differences they've done here.

Even if events end up playing out almost precisely the same in 1591 (and this I doubt), we still have divergence rather than looping. A loop copies itself. Even Zas playing a similar role as before, and Sophitia dying again for Pyrrha, would make things more comparable to taking the same route to work every day -- similar trips, but not a literal replay of the same Monday morning.
We'll have to see, but I mostly see things playing out the same. The trailer made me think we were going to be changing a lot, but the change to Cassandra's motivations here are about as subtle as the changes in Zasalamel's motivations, to where I see small things might be different, but overall, mostly the same. They may try and do things differently, but things may or may not come out the same in the end.

Things seem like 98% the same anyway, across the board, for pretty much everyone, and that 2% that's different is either a mechanics-driven choice (gameplay/story segregation) or these changes we have with Zasalamel and Cassandra, which remains to be seen if they will actually diverge the actions that may take place in the near future. Either way, SoulCalibur VII should be a blast to find out what they're doing.

And we've still got the season two stories to look forward to, before that!
 

TresDias

[06] Combatant
We'll have to see, but I mostly see things playing out the same.
But again, playing out the same isn't the same as being the same.


Dante said:
The trailer made me think we were going to be changing a lot, but the change to Cassandra's motivations here are about as subtle as the changes in Zasalamel's motivations, to where I see small things might be different, but overall, mostly the same.
Cass's change in motivations are subtle, sure, but Zas's are completely different.

Dante said:
Things seem like 98% the same anyway ...
I agree. So not quite 100 percent then.


Dante said:
And we've still got the season two stories to look forward to, before that!
Which is going to be exciting.

It would be great if Aeon Calcos (still in human form) ended up ironically being the only character with full knowledge of the details of the original timeline ... only to forget its significance immediately upon becoming a lizard.
 

Rusted Blade

[10] Knight
So...my thoughts, having just played through the soul chronicle: thank goodness they added that prologue-presented-as-epilogue segment, because the rest of that was not high quality: there was some particularly tin-earred dialogue in those first few missions in particular--even by SCVI standards, and that's saying something. Things certainly picked up a bit for the showdown with Sophitia, though ffs, any inherent drama in that scene was substantially dampened by 'sis' after 'sis'. FFS, just say "sister", or use their names, or you know, don't lean on the pronouns/proper noun clauses so heavily to begin with. This is what you get when you spend next to nothing on localization or writing talent.

That said, there were nice moments, and I'm glad they included Phantom Zone Cassie. Seems like she's jumping around timelines with only limited control over the process, getting warped by the Astral Chaos as it happens (though the causality arrow may very well go the other way). I have strongly disagree with you two that Cassandra's motivation here is "weak" when ever last effort at narrative structure in that entire story is that she is determined to protect her sister: if nothing else, you can't fault the story for being clear on that point.

As to the matter of how much she believes what she has heard, I don't think she's going to have many remaining doubts once she begins to see the events unfold. I mean, elder Cassandra was pretty specific about the chain of events. I think it would be interesting (though nothing they would consider doing with this series, since its more like a teen angst idea of "dark" than truly so) if Cassandra, knowing what would happen to any child Sophitia conceived, and what it would mean for Sophitia and everyone she loved, decided to poison her bread with something that would prevent her carrying a pregnancy. I mean, seriously, what other course of action does Cassandra have here, knowing what is going to happen. I suppose she could tell Sophitia, but what would be the result of that? Sophitia would probably never risk a pregnancy, and either she and Rothion would be condemned to a celibate and childless life lacking in something they planned to share together, or Sophitia would leave Rothion out of ill-placed guilt for not being able to provide him a family. Oh, hahahaha, look at me pretending these are three-dimensional characters whose stories would ever go some place interesting or consequential! More obtuse, vague dialogue about swords, bravery, and giving it your all, that's what we need!

Anyway, in all seriousness, I don't know what Cassandra could do differently, given her story was already 100% about trying to take up her sister's burdens and put herself between her sister and the threats she faces, lol! I mean seriously, if I was young Cassie there I would have been like "You f---ing kidding me? THIS amount of agonizing over her well-being and happiness still isn't enough?" Still, Dante, I think you've got the wrong read on this situation in one respect: I think things are changing. This game may have been about rebooting to the beginning of the story with some degree of faithfulness, but I think we have ample evidence to suggest they are setting the story up for major divergence in the next full entry, if not before. There's just no reason for them to set things up in this way just to do the same story over again completely. And that's almost never what happens with a reboot, even those that start out as faithful initially.

And honestly, in this case, it would be boring if they did try that. The story was hardly shakespeare the first time through, and honestly very confused and goofy at times. Telling it again, but in more tedious detail has not really, in my opinion, worked out to be something exceptional in this game. I think things should go in another direction, at least try something new. What could it really hurt at this point? And in any event, regardless of whether that turns out to be a good idea, I think they are forecasting their intention to do so loud and clear--ok, I'll grant you, only semi-clear. But still, I'd be surprised if things don't really start to diverge from here, and it's not going to be a matter of a few percent. Hopefully it's semi logical. You know, if elder Cassie's tale was at all detailed --which...by the way, how could she remember all of that and not know who she was? Also, does....Cassie not recognize her own face? Are we sure there's not hidden subtext here? Like...is Cassandra really a special needs child and that's why everyone is always talking down to her so much, even her little brother? It would explain so much...

...where was I? Oh yeah, if elder Cassie's recounting of the upcoming years of miserable life for the Alexandra clan were at all detailed, and the writers are going to give Cassandra and the story any degree of sense, Cassie ought to have one clear target in mind for now: Tira. She plays a huge part in the manner in which Soul Edge leverages Sophitia. Having her out of the picture could only be good, from Cassie's perspective. Edit: Or does Cassandra only know what she knew when she entered the Astral Chaos? In which case, she might not fully understand how things ultimately play out.

Of course all of this raises a deeper question: does Cassandra fully appreciate what she's risking? For all the ill that comes before the end, Patroklos and Pyrrha did achieve something pretty monumental: they seemingly destroyed or at least sealed away the two spirit swords for good: and by the end of SCV, it's clear that both weapons are a bit of a blight on human affairs and that seemingly you can't have one without the other turning up. Cassandra is risking undoing humanity being done with the swords. Which makes me wonder...maybe that's the point? Elder Cassie is looking distinctly malfested--or maybe combo possessed by both swords, which are using her as a conduit to undo being given the boot into the Astral Chaos?
 
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Rusted Blade

[10] Knight
I'm going to take the unusual move of double posting because the last post was pretty long and I'd guess almost everyone whose like to read it already has, and one or two may be responding already. Anyhow...

So what was up with the mysterious person or entity offering Cassandra strength? So here's a little bizarre bit of lore in this series: we're never really told if its just the Greek gods that are real in this story, or also those of other cultures? And are they really gods and if not, wtf are they? We know demons exist, and as of more recent games (and especially this reboot) the concept of the demon and the malfested have kind of been merged? Does that include all of the demons in Taki's lore? Who the hell knows, right? But here's one thing I'm sure about and that most everyone reading this thread has probably heard me say at least once: following the "gods" never got the Alexandra extended family anything but f---ed over. Seriosuly, the litany of horseshit that gets dumped on that family the minute Sophitia is given her quest to stop Soul Edge is epic in scope. Hephaestus, as it turns out, is more of the handing out weapons kind of deity, and less the healing or sticking around for your rehab kind. And that's just the very beginning of how screwed over that family gets: forced betrayals; children kidnapped and raised by a sociopath; body horror mutations; completely lost to a howling void of nothingness; and ultimately for most of them, either dying alone uncertain if your loved ones are safe, or dying knowing for certain they were all pretty much dead--which admittedly death might feel like sweet relief at that point.

Oh but not for Sophie, in whose case one of the powers that be, that moved her around like a chess piece in life, resurrects some echo of her as a host for its desire to impress its will and iron vision of order on the world. And it seems like maybe Cassie met an equally existentially bleak end, because the more I think about it, the more sense it makes that once sealed away with the Astral Chaos, the swords could have reached out to the only thing still there native to the "regular world", someone with a strong drive and connection to that world, driven by regret over a failure to protect her family. We know from Edge Master and Patroklos that the Astral Chaos can be used by a very powerful effort of disciplined will to travel back in time. As I recall, Patty's trip was relatively short, but then, maybe in his case it only needed to be. Anyway, nothing about that boy screams endurance, does it? If Cassandra were backed by the power of one or both swords and were to rip herself out of the Astral Chaos and time...that would explain her ultimate fate (as it is known so far). It would also suggest that even that mobile game's plot has been brought into the fold as cannon by this game, to some small extent. But ultimately her goal was to directly intervene on her sister's behalf, or warn her own self. It seems she achieved that at long last (after expending so much of herself that she doesn't even remember her own identity any more), but is she really the only one in charge of these decisions? Or are the swords protecting their own perceived dominion over humankind?

...in which case, maybe accepting that "gift" there was the one thing Cassandra could not afford to do if she was going to avert her sister's fate? Man, I take it back...if that ended up being the case and it turns out the family is stuck in an unending loop of misery, that really would be dark... That's basically the ending to 12 Monkeys, lol. ...which is probably evidence enough if any more were needed that this is not where things are headed, because that would be bleak but poignant, and thus have whiffs of a genuine grasp of narrative and plotting. Which rarely finds root in Soulcalibur's soil. :)
 
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Aiddon

[10] Knight
I don't really think so. How it is depicted here in SoulCalibur VI seems about right, timeline-wise. She didn't "[go] on her first adventure" as in make the trek to Ostrheinsburg to confront Soul Edge in Sophitia's stead early, all she did was take the weapons from the shrine on a test run in the local area, which isn't conflicting with the original story.
Well, plus there's the fact that they literally just introduced this plot point. As such, it's going to be awhile before the ramifications of it are going to be seen. I wouldn't be surprised if it's the main narrative point of SCVII where we'll see how things diverge, if at all
 

ElegantRaven

[09] Warrior
There would be absolutely no reason to have included this stuff in Cassandra's Soul Chronicle if they wanted to keep the story the same. It's pointless to include this unless they just wanted a meandering callback to SCV information. Otherwise, what would be the point of including this unless the Alexandria storyline is intended to go down a different path than the OG timeline? If they wanted to just replicate it again with further detail, this wasn't needed. To me, this is clear indication that they intend to change something.
 

Crimzin

[11] Champion
They seemed to have made her story similar to that of her namesake. The Greek myth and tragedy of Cassandra, the woman who could see the future but no one believed her.
Soul Calibur's Cassandra has also received a message from the future. I wonder how all of this will play out?

There will 100% be changes. Retelling the same story would make rebooting the franchise pointless and a waste of time. If they weren't going to change anything, SC6 would have been set after the events of SC5.
 

Rusted Blade

[10] Knight
They seemed to have made her story similar to that of her namesake. The Greek myth and tragedy of Cassandra, the woman who could see the future but no one believed her.
Soul Calibur's Cassandra has also received a message from the future. I wonder how all of this will play out?

There will 100% be changes. Retelling the same story would make rebooting the franchise pointless and a waste of time. If they weren't going to change anything, SC6 would have been set after the events of SC5.
Brilliant catch on the Cassandra Dilemma there.

Addressing another aspect of how the producers have forecast change here: here's the literal words that the narrator speaks over the end of Cassandra's Soul Chronicle: "When an unbreakable soul transcends history and the world, it can bind together even a broken destiny and carve a new future." I mean, that's...pretty explicit. Even with the series' trademark faux-baroque phrasing dripping off it, it's pretty suggestive that original timeline Cassie's suffering and striving was not for nothing.
 
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DanteSC3

[14] Master
For what it's worth, both "Unbreakable Soul" and "Broken Destiny" are nods to the games. I haven't played Unbreakable Soul, but my understanding of what it was is that of the Astral Chaos Cassandra doing various things, whether or not those things are about "fixing the timeline" through the power of Astral Chaos time travel, I can't say, not having played it, but if it was that incredibly important to the narrative, then they should have made it more accessible, pushed it harder in marketing, and, this is the biggest thing, not discontinued it prior to the launch of content that needs its support!!

Retelling the same story would make rebooting the franchise pointless and a waste of time. If they weren't going to change anything, SC6 would have been set after the events of SC5.
This I don't agree with. We all pretty much universally agree (as a matter of fact, not opinion) that SoulCalbur V's story mode was incomplete, rushed, broken, and wrong. They would have had to have spent so much time and effort fixing the problems that game introduced that it would have been its own game in and of itself, or just striking SoulCalibur V from the narrative completely, and picking up where SoulCalibur IV left off (which some of you are actually more than okay with if they would have gone that route). It would've just been a mess on top of a mess.

No, this approach is useful, even if the end goal is just to get right back where we were in SoulCalibur V, except actually do it properly this time, not leave it unfinished, not leave people confused and having to draft essays to make sense of it all. I don't think anyone really disagrees that the overarching story of SoulCalibur was/is a mess, and they were making a lot of it up as they went along, some parts far stronger/weaker than others. Now, they have the opportunity (and, so far, are realizing it) to tell a coherent story, weaving everything together in one centralized canon that makes sense.

Their method seems to be using Cassandra and Zasalamel as arbiters of the future as a method to get back to the past, but the events as we have them will play out again as they did, except instead of a bunch of what-if stories and non-canon elements, just have everything seen, if in a story mode, be a thing that actually happened. It's not that what was in SoulCalibur V was fundamentally flawed, it was just broken and incomplete.

They're using Grøh and Azwel as supporting roles to plug plot holes, more or less, or at least so far, Azwel. Grøh didn't do much, aside from provide a foil to your custom character in Libra of Soul. I still think he will have a more prominent role in SoulCalibur VII (Z... no, I won't say it, y'all know by now), but that too, remains to be seen. But using every element of plot that we have already established in the most scatterbrained way possible, and assembling it all in the main games, not making you read them, but letting you experience them, is a fine use of reboot. To pick us up, get us back where we were, but on good footing, and deliver the experience that should have been the first time, but wasn't, for a number of reasons.
 

DanteSC3

[14] Master
I'm gonna double-post too, since I feel I had a natural break, and the possibility existed (though I guess, not at this hour), someone would have replied.

Of course all of this raises a deeper question: does Cassandra fully appreciate what she's risking? For all the ill that comes before the end, Patroklos and Pyrrha did achieve something pretty monumental: they seemingly destroyed or at least sealed away the two spirit swords for good: and by the end of SCV, it's clear that both weapons are a bit of a blight on human affairs and that seemingly you can't have one without the other turning up. Cassandra is risking undoing humanity being done with the swords. Which makes me wonder...maybe that's the point? Elder Cassie is looking distinctly malfested--or maybe combo possessed by both swords, which are using her as a conduit to undo being given the boot into the Astral Chaos?
I feel like I've addressed most of what's all in your first post already, but this I will respond to. I do believe it quite possible that Astral Chaos Cassandra was being manipulated by the two swords, fused after the events with Patroklos and Pyrrha, may have been banished to Astral Chaos with Night Terror (since we haven't really established what happens to the sword spirits while they are dormant), which could be a level of deception that Cassandra is intrigued by, but ultimately realizes is not worth the cost, and lets things pan out as they were, for the greater good. Though I'm not sure about "for good", because Siegfried had already done this before, by forging the Soul Embrace. It was broken by Zasalamel. I don't believe they can ever be gone "for good". (I mean, if they could, that would mean the death of the series... do we really want that? No swords, no games.)

So what was up with the mysterious person or entity offering Cassandra strength? So here's a little bizarre bit of lore in this series: we're never really told if its just the Greek gods that are real in this story, or also those of other cultures? And are they really gods and if not, wtf are they? We know demons exist, and as of more recent games (and especially this reboot) the concept of the demon and the malfested have kind of been merged? Does that include all of the demons in Taki's lore? Who the hell knows, right?
Between that awfully low resolution stone head from Libra of Soul and this, I think it's just their lowest-possible-effort representation of "the gods", that it doesn't mean anything super symbolic about anything. Hephaestus's only "form" we're aware of is the giant stone statue in SoulCalibur III (what the stone head from Libra of Soul was), and that was just a possession. The gods have voices, but not forms. So instead of just having a blank panel, they just grab what's on hand. I don't think there's anything deeper than that.

About demons and malfested, I believe there is still a marked difference between them, same as like the golems and lizardmen. Demons have to be sealed away by ninja magic/scrolls, as they are a natural evil entity that isn't connected to the swords. Malfested are specifically tainted by the swords, and can be purified by divine power of one type or another (Wind, lightning, all that kind of thing!). Golems are artificially created and just... are, can only really be destroyed. Lizardmen are a cult ritual that seems to be a one-way trip and gets you abandoned by the gods, sucks to be you in that case.

Oh but not for Sophie, in whose case one of the powers that be, that moved her around like a chess piece in life, resurrects some echo of her as a host for its desire to impress its will and iron vision of order on the world. And it seems like maybe Cassie met an equally existentially bleak end, because the more I think about it, the more sense it makes that once sealed away with the Astral Chaos, the swords could have reached out to the only thing native to the "regular world", someone with a strong drive and connection to that world, driven by regret over a failure to protect her family.
(And in response to the other part I didn't quote) Yes, it sucks to be the Alexandras, but that's a recurring theme in the series. Sophitia being the form of Elysium, though, that's not quite right. She only assumes that form in order to manipulate Patroklos. I think it stands to reason that the "true form" of Soul Calibur would be that of a water or ice spirit, the opposite of Inferno. It's just that Elysium can apparently take human form if she wants.

I make this distinction, because Elysium spoke to Cassandra at the end of her story in SoulCalibur IV, and while you might could argue that this was only after Cassandra defeated Sophitia in stage 4, this would imply that Cassandra killed Sophitia, and then her soul transcended immediately to be Elysium. That's not true, though, and Cassandra wouldn't have killed Sophitia, for a multitude of reasons, least of all being that in canon, she never reached Sophitia, and was blipped into the Astral Chaos before she could. I'd still submit Cassandra's SoulCalibur IV ending as evidence against Sophitia being the base form of Elysium, however.

We know from Edge master and Patroklos that the Astral Chaos can be used by a very powerful effort of disciplined will to travel back in time. As I recall, Patty's trip was relatively short, but then, maybe in his case it only needed to be. Anyway, nothing about that boy screams endurance, does it? If Cassandra were backed by the power of one or both swords and were to rip herself out of the Astral Chaos and time...that would explain her ultimate fate (as it is known so far). It would also suggest that even that mobile game's plot has been brought into the fold as cannon by this game, to some small extent. But ultimately her goal was to directly intervene on her sister's behalf, or warn her own self. It seems she achieved that at long last (after expending so much of herself that she doesn't even remember her own identity any more), but is she really the only one in charge of these decisions? Or are the swords protecting their own perceived dominion over humankind?
Tying in to the above, though, Cassandra being manipulated by the swords does make a lot of sense, and could add even more tragedy to the family pool. Because we needed more of it. But for all the crap that Patroklos gets, I do feel like his backbone finally came to form by the end of the story, and he would gain endurance as time passes, with the support of Pyrrha by his side. They both need help, not able to do anything on their own, but as a team, they could become quite the force to be reckoned with.

But Edge Master doesn't have the influence of the swords within him, and he seems to be the overseer of the Astral Chaos, though even he fears Night Terror, so he's not all-powerful. Still, he seems to command the time flow without much hassle, though we don't know exactly how he manages. So it's not necessarily a requirement that Cassandra be backed by the power of the swords, it's just that, if Astral Chaos Cassandra's eyes are really red, and that's not just dramatic license, then something has happened to her, where she lost her identity too (though Cassandra not being able to recognize herself was pretty special, not sure how they justify that), it might indicate some level of control. See also Nightmare not knowing that he was Raphael.

...in which case, maybe accepting that "gift" there was the one thing Cassandra could not afford to do if she was going to avert her sister's fate? Man, I take it back...if that ended up being the case and it turns out the family is stuck in an unending loop of misery, that really would be dark... That's basically the ending to 12 Monkeys, lol. ...which is probably evidence enough if any more were needed that this is not where things are headed, because that would be bleak but poignant, and thus have whiffs of a genuine grasp of narrative and plotting. Which rarely finds root in Soulcalibur's soil. :)
Your jadedness about the SoulCalibur narrative aside, with my faith that they can do it right this time, I really do think that it's going to be a tragedy, unless Cassandra is willing to pay the sacrifice to actually change the world, which may come to killing Sophitia outright, as Sophitia is shown to be very stubborn and set in her determination, and by the end of Cassandra's Soul Chronicle, she seems to be, at least outwardly, following in her sister's footsteps in order to become the same type of person, instead of trying to pull Sophitia away from the gods as she herself is.

This isn't the only darkness we have, either. The very real possibility that Raphael becomes Nightmare sooner than expected along with Amy becoming Viola sooner than expected, if we are diverging/rushing things along, depending on how you define it, seeing Amy also lose her identity, Raphael lose his mind, after coming back from Nightmare, not realizing that Viola is Amy (the story I've pitched for "what would have happened" in SoulCalibur V countless times before), that is in itself the same sort of tragedy, but in a different way. Azwel, for all he preaches of "love", really does seem to be about seeding destruction and chaos to all he touches, which leads itself to tragic ends.

Seeing Nightmare claim a life and ruin a soul may also break Siegfried's will, possibly, should things go down a different path, and with him down, Sophitia potentially dead, we're just killing off our heroic support system, and the darkness may run rampant and ruin everyone's lives. Then Ivy's revived human Cervantes has a change of heart and becomes the new hero... right? Or Grøh becomes the anime edgelord protagonist we need, and saves us all through the cringiest way possible.
 

Rusted Blade

[10] Knight
For what it's worth, both "Unbreakable Soul" and "Broken Destiny" are nods to the games. I haven't played Unbreakable Soul, but my understanding of what it was is that of the Astral Chaos Cassandra doing various things, whether or not those things are about "fixing the timeline" through the power of Astral Chaos time travel, I can't say, not having played it, but if it was that incredibly important to the narrative, then they should have made it more accessible, pushed it harder in marketing, and, this is the biggest thing, not discontinued it prior to the launch of content that needs its support!!

This I don't agree with. We all pretty much universally agree (as a matter of fact, not opinion) that SoulCalbur V's story mode was incomplete, rushed, broken, and wrong. They would have had to have spent so much time and effort fixing the problems that game introduced that it would have been its own game in and of itself, or just striking SoulCalibur V from the narrative completely, and picking up where SoulCalibur IV left off (which some of you are actually more than okay with if they would have gone that route). It would've just been a mess on top of a mess.

No, this approach is useful, even if the end goal is just to get right back where we were in SoulCalibur V, except actually do it properly this time, not leave it unfinished, not leave people confused and having to draft essays to make sense of it all. I don't think anyone really disagrees that the overarching story of SoulCalibur was/is a mess, and they were making a lot of it up as they went along, some parts far stronger/weaker than others. Now, they have the opportunity (and, so far, are realizing it) to tell a coherent story, weaving everything together in one centralized canon that makes sense.

Their method seems to be using Cassandra and Zasalamel as arbiters of the future as a method to get back to the past, but the events as we have them will play out again as they did, except instead of a bunch of what-if stories and non-canon elements, just have everything seen, if in a story mode, be a thing that actually happened. It's not that what was in SoulCalibur V was fundamentally flawed, it was just broken and incomplete.

They're using Grøh and Azwel as supporting roles to plug plot holes, more or less, or at least so far, Azwel. Grøh didn't do much, aside from provide a foil to your custom character in Libra of Soul. I still think he will have a more prominent role in SoulCalibur VII (Z... no, I won't say it, y'all know by now), but that too, remains to be seen. But using every element of plot that we have already established in the most scatterbrained way possible, and assembling it all in the main games, not making you read them, but letting you experience them, is a fine use of reboot. To pick us up, get us back where we were, but on good footing, and deliver the experience that should have been the first time, but wasn't, for a number of reasons.
I wouldn't say your read on SCV's story is universal. I actually think its one of the stronger games in terms of narrative in the series, though I will grant it's not a high bar to hit. It actually had death, consequence and resolution. Like SCIV, SCV only had "scant" story content by comparison to SCIII. After III, lore nerds (followed by the rank and file fans) spent ten years ranting about how his this and that game didn't have "enough story"/we were being "cheated of" story, ignoring the fact that SCIV/BD and SCV actually had much more substantial single player content than any game prior, except SCIII: CE. And the CE version of the game had many flaws / low quality control born out of misplaced priorities in how the scope of the single player experience was handled--not unlike SCVI today.

SCV was not beautiful writing--it was Soulcalibur at the end of the day: pulp pseudo-historical fantasy anime shenanigans. But at least one could kinda sorta get invested in the plot for once, since some people had died and --gasp-- stayed dead? And there was some sense of actual conclusion to the story. I think it was perfectly fine for what it was. I would have personally not advanced the timeline 17 years in the blink of an eye, after placing three sequential games inside of one year (I feel like there's a happy medium in pacing between those two extremes!), but the story actually had a little teeth for a change, I feel.

Getting back to the main subject of current debate, I agree with the multiple people here who have said that the devs are definitely giving every indication that the story is progressing into new territory. I don't doubt that there will be echoes of previous events, as the writers avail themselves of the fact that that the fast and loose plot rules of the series allow them to have the time travel be super butterfly effect one minute and then "things play out remarkably similar in this little chapter" in the next instance. But I don't think it's going to be play out as a sheer repeat of the first four games, but just with all of the narratives twisted into one. That might tickle your lore fancy, my friend, but most fans (and the creators themselves) would find that tedious. Beyond that...I'd really hate to think that they believe that the original narrative is the best they can do...

I do believe it quite possible that Astral Chaos Cassandra was being manipulated by the two swords, fused after the events with Patroklos and Pyrrha, may have been banished to Astral Chaos with Night Terror ... Though I'm not sure about "for good", because Siegfried had already done this before, by forging the Soul Embrace. It was broken by Zasalamel. I don't believe they can ever be gone "for good".
I do believe that the idea was that they were gone for good after SCV: what we saw did not seem to be the same thing as the "soul embrace", which as I recall left a melded chunk of metal and crystal, the two swords locking eachother in mutual checkmate. Whatever happens at the end of SCV, it ends with the swords transmuting into some kind of pillar of energy and shooting into the Astral Chaos, which then itself dissipates, leaving no apparent trace of either sword.

That and the thematics of that last scene heavily imply the swords are beyond mortal hands now, and for the better. On a side note there, I never got the feeling that Edge Master was a "overseer" of the Astral Chaos, so much as someone who had been able to master its mysteries to a degree. But I think once the weapons were sealed away with it, he might have lost his access to it (in a "they were what brought the two worlds near enough to eachother to touch in the first place" kind of way), or that at a minimum he would recognize the wisdom of staying out of there from thenceforth. And he may be completely unaware that Cassie was trapped there.

I mean, if they could, that would mean the death of the series... do we really want that? No swords, no games.
Which may have contributed to their decision to reboot the games. Which would in turn further explain their decision to make the new timeline turn out differently, because otherwise they'd just have to reboot the franchise again in a few games. :) I do think it's quite possible that elder Cassandra is the means by which the swords (and I do wonder if by SCVII we will discover if they have fused into a new entity, be it Night Terror or Abyss or some other variation of an astral chaos Big Bad) mean to orchestrate a different chain of events whereby they never get rejected/trapped by Pyrrha and Patroklos. That could also ironically be the change that provides the Alexandra family with a means of escape from the cruel, insistent fate.

(And in response to the other part I didn't quote) Yes, it sucks to be the Alexandras, but that's a recurring theme in the series. Sophitia being the form of Elysium, though, that's not quite right. She only assumes that form in order to manipulate Patroklos. I think it stands to reason that the "true form" of Soul Calibur would be that of a water or ice spirit, the opposite of Inferno. It's just that Elysium can apparently take human form if she wants.

I make this distinction, because Elysium spoke to Cassandra at the end of her story in SoulCalibur IV, and while you might could argue that this was only after Cassandra defeated Sophitia in stage 4, this would imply that Cassandra killed Sophitia, and then her soul transcended immediately to be Elysium. That's not true, though, and Cassandra wouldn't have killed Sophitia, for a multitude of reasons, least of all being that in canon, she never reached Sophitia, and was blipped into the Astral Chaos before she could. I'd still submit Cassandra's SoulCalibur IV ending as evidence against Sophitia being the base form of Elysium, however.
That may very well be, but I'm not sure that we can't say at the least that Elysium is born in part of a sense of Sophitia it attained when she wielded it--not unlike how the latter-day Nightmares kept aspects of the identity formed during the malfested Siegfried days. In other words, I think it's at least open for debate whether Soulcalibur merely took Sophitia's form to try to subdue Patty's will, or if there wasn't also some degree of it echoing the form of its last great wielder.

This isn't the only darkness we have, either. The very real possibility that Raphael becomes Nightmare sooner than expected along with Amy becoming Viola sooner than expected, if we are diverging/rushing things along
I wonder about this too. Having seeded that narrative arc in this game, and people now knowing for sure that they are the same person, I feel like there's going to be a certain amount of pressure to see Viola come back by at least the DLC seasons of SCVII. Which is fine by me: that moveset is one of the highlights of the otherwise mixed bag that was SCV's gameplay.

As to Cassie offing her sister, I just don't see that happening in this story. Killing her sister to spare her a worse fate just seems a little more nihilistic than the writers of this particular story are likely to embrace. I will say this much: no matter how much of the story of the next couple of games is integration of threads from previous games, and how much is new territory, it'll be interesting to see how Algol will be worked into things.
 
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ElegantRaven

[09] Warrior
Soul Calibur's stories (if you can even call them that) have always just been the kind of writing you expect to be slapped onto fighting games. I think while SCV definitely had the strongest plot (while still feeling extremely barebones at the end of the day), SC6 objectively has the best story content just because of how much more there is to it, and how everything we see is in fact canon, unlike SC3 and SC4's modes. The writing is still bad to mediocre, but it's charming, and entertaining enough, kind of like a fun popcorn movie you'll never rewatch. Admittedly I'm one who can find a lot of enjoyment in things I recognise to not be of the utmost quality, so I've enjoyed the Chronicles mode in SC6 for what it is. Especially since that interest carried over from when I was younger, and not so critical of the media I consume. Although I do think Soul Calibur every now and then puts forth themes and ideas in its storyline that, when handed to a competent writer, would be able to flourish really well, such as Patroklos and Pyrrha's story in SCV. There's so much you could do with those ideas. Soul Calibur's characters also have the potential to be something more than one-note, but as it's a fighting game, that's not really that important.* However, I do feel that certain characters have managed to break free of being defined by one simple trait. Characters such as Ivy and Raphael manage to have 2 or more layers to them, so it's not impossible.
*Interestingly, Amy and Cassandra have come out of their Soul Chronicles being more dynamic than the rest of the cast as well, in my opinion. It makes sense, as the writers are clearly putting a bit more effort into the DLC storylines than the base game ones (kinda have to if they want to keep interest and hype up the DLC), but it is nice to see two characters were previously so glaringly one-note get some nice semi-development and characterisation.
 

TresDias

[06] Combatant
I have strongly disagree with you two that Cassandra's motivation here is "weak" when ever last effort at narrative structure in that entire story is that she is determined to protect her sister: if nothing else, you can't fault the story for being clear on that point.
We didn't say her motivation was weak, neither narratively nor in terms of quality. We said the shift in her motivation from prior to encountering her future self (i.e. "generally watch out for Sophitia") to after encountering her future self (i.e. "watch out for Sophitia, especially if a certain series of events begins playing out") is subtle.

In particular, it's subtle in contrast to Zasalamel's shift from a self-centered goal of ending his own existence to a species-centered goal of helping humanity achieve its potential.

I do believe that the idea was that they were gone for good after SCV: what we saw did not seem to be the same thing as the "soul embrace", which as I recall left a melded chunk of metal and crystal, the two swords locking eachother in mutual checkmate. Whatever happens at the end of SCV, it ends with the swords transmuting into some kind of pillar of energy and shooting into the Astral Chaos, which then itself dissipates, leaving no apparent trace of either sword.

That and the thematics of that last scene heavily imply the swords are beyond mortal hands now, and for the better.
Absolutely. There was a sense of narrative finality carved into that sequence that even now isn't being undone. As far as we have reason to believe, that timeline is now safe from the swords.

Rusted said:
On a side note there, I never got the feeling that Edge Master was a "overseer" of the Astral Chaos, so much as someone who had been able to master its mysteries to a degree. But I think once the weapons were sealed away with it, he might have lost his access to it (in a "they were what brought the two worlds near enough to eachother to touch in the first place" kind of way), or that at a minimum he would recognize the wisdom of staying out of there from thenceforth. And he may be completely unaware that Cassie was trapped there.
Well, if "Unbreakable Soul" is to be regarded as canon, then he definitely knew. Of course, it's not entirely clear whether we're meant to do so or if what we see in Cass's Soul Chronicle is just clever fourth-wall breaking references.

Rusted said:
That may very well be, but I'm not sure that we can't say at the least that Elysium is born in part of a sense of Sophitia it attained when she wielded it--not unlike how the latter-day Nightmares kept aspects of the identity formed during the malfested Siegfried days. In other words, I think it's at least open for debate whether Soulcalibur merely took Sophitia's form to try to subdue Patty's will, or if there wasn't also some degree of it echoing the form of its last great wielder.
Sophitia never wielded it, though. After Xianghua, it went to Siegfried, then to Patrokolos.

For what it's worth, both "Unbreakable Soul" and "Broken Destiny" are nods to the games. I haven't played Unbreakable Soul, but my understanding of what it was is that of the Astral Chaos Cassandra doing various things, whether or not those things are about "fixing the timeline" through the power of Astral Chaos time travel, I can't say, not having played it, but if it was that incredibly important to the narrative, then they should have made it more accessible, pushed it harder in marketing, and, this is the biggest thing, not discontinued it prior to the launch of content that needs its support!!
Despite Rusted's decision to highlight the name of "Unbreakable Soul" in red, I think what he was really intending our attention be called to from that passage is "carve a new future."

That's not true, though, and Cassandra wouldn't have killed Sophitia, for a multitude of reasons, least of all being that in canon, she never reached Sophitia, and was blipped into the Astral Chaos before she could.
The "New Legends of Project Soul" book (which, as of yesterday, I've broken down and finally ordered my own physical copy of rather than just relying on scans) has it that Sophitia knocked Cassandra out, and Cass then woke up in time to see Sophitia's body before being dragged into the Astral Chaos.

Dante said:
Your jadedness about the SoulCalibur narrative aside, with my faith that they can do it right this time, I really do think that it's going to be a tragedy, unless Cassandra is willing to pay the sacrifice to actually change the world, which may come to killing Sophitia outright, as Sophitia is shown to be very stubborn and set in her determination, and by the end of Cassandra's Soul Chronicle, she seems to be, at least outwardly, following in her sister's footsteps in order to become the same type of person, instead of trying to pull Sophitia away from the gods as she herself is.
Why would Cass need to kill Sophie to help the world, though? Like Rusted pointed out, Cassie's only incentive to change anything is for helping her family. For the world at large, things ultimately played out pretty well in the original timeline.

I mean, other than the unfortunate fact that the future goes on to allow for "Tekken" to happen ... which I suppose is as bleak as it gets ...
 
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DYY

[09] Warrior
I just wanted to bring up some more lore related stuff... here are some gameplay spoilers related to Libra of Souls.

so in Libra of Souls mode, if you max out Cassandra’s style, you get to fight her “Ancient”... except this isn’t your typical Ancient fight, it is astral chaos masked Cassandra herself. Interesting how she herself is considered to be an Ancient. I wonder if other ancients were originally humans that got swept away by Astral Chaos. Perhaps the conduit actually fights her as part of the canon? Although it doesn’t change the outcome of the timeline too much.

I’ll also note that the ancient title you get isn’t the typical “Master of __” the title itself is called “Unbreakable Soul”

Broken Destiny and Unbreakable Souls seems to be associated with Cassandra the most as she was the main character in both those games.

I wonder how much of the unbreakable soul game is canon, nothing in that phone game contradicts the events of sc6. Too bad the lore of that game is not preserved well. Probably lost in history. I know fragments of the story of that phone game, but not the whole thing.