How will the new timeline diverge from the old?

Rusted Blade

[13] Hero
Personally, I tend to doubt whether anything from Libra will have an impact on the narrative of future games; the secondary modes typically do not, even if they have highly involved (some might say convoluted...) stories. And true to form, everything that occurs in Libra is sequestered from the Soul Chronicles narrative, even if the new characters have central roles in both numerous Soul Chronicles and Libra generally: that is to say, you can safely dismiss Azwel's activities (and the whole of the Libra plot) from the narrative events in the Soul Chronicles collectively, and his story in said chronicles is still more or less self-consistent.

Indeed, while Libra may be less of an isolated tale than say Chronicles of the Sword (in that it uses the same general cast of characters as the other story mode in the game in which it appears), I still tend to doubt its events will be considered 'canon' (or however one chooses to phrase it) come SCVI. That is to say, I doubt that we will ever hear of a character known as "the conduit" in any mode in any future game. Which is just as well, as its a rather generic story used to strong-arm the character's avatar/sense of personal involvement into the plot in a rather meta/plot breaking fashion. That and it's stotytelling is just simply a low-water mark for the franchise: Broken Destiny's story is easier to take seriously than what one finds in Libra....
 

DanteSC3

[14] Master
The problem with that comparison and reasoning is that Weapon Master Mode and Chronicles of the Sword were obviously non-canon and alternate universe, telling their own independent side stories, while Libra of Soul is not that, by any stretch of the imagination. Grøh and Azwel don't even have complete stories without it, as the most obvious example, since their Soul Chronicles are simply prologues to their real stories, which are actually carried out in Libra of Soul.

Beyond that, you've got to finish Libra of Soul to unlock the final chapter of Azwel in Raphael's Soul Chronicle, as well as the final chapter of Zasalamel's Soul Chronicle. Azwel's survival to appear in Raphael's ending being a surprise doesn't really have any weight if he never was defeated, which only happens in Libra of Soul. The Conduit is also the catalyst that alerts Zasalamel to this present not matching up with his future slef's projection that he received by some means or another.

Even further beyond that, the Libra of Soul stories even appear on the Soul Chronicle timelines where they are relevant to the story. Many other side stories that are not "main" but are still "canon" take place that are parts of these, represented by those book icons. I don't know how you can take it any other way than they are absolutely canon. The Conduit even appears in the main story Soul Chronicle, as Edge Master's handpicked opponent to train Kilik!

I don't think we'll necessarily keep following The Conduit in SoulCalibur VII, mind you, unless they get upgraded to Zasalamel's pawn or something, but either way, The Conduit did leave their mark on history, being the one who saves Grøh from oblivion (or just destroys him, but the likelihood of that being canon is actually slim/none), without whom he would cease to exist after losing himself to his arm, no matter how much you'd like if that were to be true.
 

Rusted Blade

[13] Hero
The problem with that comparison and reasoning is that Weapon Master Mode and Chronicles of the Sword were obviously non-canon and alternate universe, telling their own independent side stories, while Libra of Soul is not that, by any stretch of the imagination. Grøh and Azwel don't even have complete stories without it, as the most obvious example, since their Soul Chronicles are simply prologues to their real stories, which are actually carried out in Libra of Soul.
Sorry Dante, but you are once again (at least insofar as these statements are concerned) begging the question: your feeling that Azwel and Groh's stories are "incomplete" without being integrated with their Libra narratives is just that--a feeling. There is nothing empirical or explicit in the stories themselves which support the conclusion that the two narratives are intertwined*, other than the presence of the same characters (which is not a smoking gun when it comes to Soul Calibur games, which more often than not represent multiple independent narratives utilizing the same cast.

*Well, this question is apparently an open one based on your comments below, but we can address that below.

Beyond that, you've got to finish Libra of Soul to unlock the final chapter of Azwel in Raphael's Soul Chronicle, as well as the final chapter of Zasalamel's Soul Chronicle. Azwel's survival to appear in Raphael's ending being a surprise doesn't really have any weight if he never was defeated, which only happens in Libra of Soul.
That's a purely an unlock mechanic...you often have to pass arbitrary milestones in one mode to unlock content across multiple modes in these games: it says absolutely nothing about the internal structure of the narrative(s).

The Conduit is also the catalyst that alerts Zasalamel to this present not matching up with his future slef's projection that he received by some means or another.
Ok, now you may have a point here for all I know, but you're going to have to help me out: A) does this take place in Zas's Soul Chronicle, and B) what specifically does he say? Does he directly reference 'The Conduit'? Specific screenshots or just quotes would be most helpful here, if I'm not putting you out too much.

This I don't recall at all: I take it that we are talking about the activities we witness "first hand" in Libra being rendered as backstory in the lore chapters in Chronicles?

Many other side stories that are not "main" but are still "canon" take place that are parts of these, represented by those book icons. I don't know how you can take it any other way than they are absolutely canon.
Well, I will grant you that this is more compelling evidence. Just to play devil's advocate though: some of the same events could occur in both stories without both being cannon, and it wouldn't even be the first time we have seen something like this in the franchise. After-all, up until the present game, most games had multiple conflicting story arcs that included some of the same showdowns and other events, but only one character's arc ended up being the "canon" one adopted as the backstory for the next game.

I don't think we'll necessarily keep following The Conduit in SoulCalibur VII, mind you, unless they get upgraded to Zasalamel's pawn or something, but either way, The Conduit did leave their mark on history, being the one who saves Grøh from oblivion (or just destroys him, but the likelihood of that being canon is actually slim/none)...
Again, rather begging the question here on the very matter we are debating. Did those events with Groh really take place, or are they just a parallel narrative with the same characters interacting in similar relationships? I'm open-minded, based on what you can provide in terms of events in Chronicles referencing Libra events, but thus far I haven't seen anything iron-clad that establishes as much.

...without whom he would cease to exist after losing himself to his arm, no matter how much you'd like if that were to be true.
Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that getting corrupted and or annihilated in any fashion would only give these particular writers an excuse to bring him back more emo than ever. "I have been to the void of nothingness...all is black and hopeless..." -queue snapping fingers at beat poetry bar-
 
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DanteSC3

[14] Master
There is nothing empirical or explicit in the stories themselves which support the conclusion that the two narratives are intertwined*, other than the presence of the same characters (which is not a smoking gun when it comes to Soul Calibur games, which more often than not represent multiple independent narratives utilizing the same cast.
My continuance after the part you quoted disagrees with you, which I'll highly further as I'm replying to the other parts, but historically, yes, the characters appearing in the non-canon story modes would support your side of it, but SoulCalibur VI is a new paradigm where the story is concerned, I just don't know how you can't see that Libra of Soul is in tandem canon, but I'll do my best to expand upon the points I've made with what you've said back.

That's a purely an unlock mechanic...you often have to pass arbitrary milestones in one mode to unlock content across multiple modes in these games: it says absolutely nothing about the internal structure of the narrative(s).
Except it is narratively related, which is why the unlocks for these stories are the way that they are. If they just unlocked naturally as the rest of the chapters in Soul Chronicle do, then they would have been spoilers for Libra of Soul. It was a deliberate decision to have them not do this until you have proper context by playing Libra of Soul, because it's all connected. If it wasn't, there'd be no reason for them to have arbitrarily locked only these two chapters.

The game argues with itself as to which mode you should play first, between Soul Chronicle and Libra of Soul, because Libra of Soul has the tutorials, so you'd think you'd start there, and you do also have to start there in order for your own personal rendition of The Conduit to appear in the main story Soul Chronicle (which might be why you may have missed that tidbit, if you play Soul Chronicle first, then Edge Master just brings out a generic-looking dude in a brown hooded outfit instead of The Conduit, or, taken in a different way, this could be the "canon" version of The Conduit, though it is just a placeholder, from how I see it. But on the other hand, you have to finish the Soul Chronicle main story to unlock the substories for Grøh and Azwel, which definitely happens before Libra of Soul, so it's like, you have to start Libra of Soul, do the tutorials and make your character, get up to Edge Master's cave, then stop, go do Soul Chronicle so that you have the proper introduction to your character in the main story, then do Grøh and Azwel substories, then go back to Libra of Soul and finish it, then come back and finish Soul Chronicle, to be proper about it. It's a mess.

Ok, now you may have a point here for all I know, but you're going to have to help me out: A) does this take place in Zas's Soul Chronicle, and B) what specifically does he say? Does he directly reference 'The Conduit'? Specific screenshots or just quotes would be most helpful here, if I'm not putting you out too much.
It's not directly stated in his Soul Chronicle, no, it would be an inference. But looking at the completed timeline, Zasalamel's self-monologues take place inbetween his interactions with The Conduit (again, see my screenshot from the last post), but Zasalamel admits to The Conduit in Libra of Soul after their last fight, where he realizes that The Conduit's power is not unlike Algol's, this:

"The Astral Chaos is a mire of confusion, an abyss both infinite and inescapable. It is power at its purest... and also the potential for change itself. Your power must have grown too strong, and your spirit resonated with and was subsumed by that of Algol. Another possibility exists, however... In my current life, I have examined closely the secrets locked inside my memory, and discovered a connection to fate, or "future memories" if you will,... As such, I am able to predict the destiny of people and the direction the world is heading. When I met you, however, I was at a loss. And so I entrusted you with the Libra of Soul... the spirit scales. Accordingly, the movements in the scales caused by your actions means there is now a discrepancy between my memory and the happenings of the world--as though an alternate version of history has been created. This truth has given me an invaluable clue, and helped me envision the next move in my plan. And if my conclusion is correct... things could get very interesting indeed."

Compare it to the lines from his Soul Chronicle:

"The cursed and spirit swords are together, and their power grows. Now is the perfect chance for those who seek power. It is time for me to take action. I once wished for death, but now I wish for something else. Now, I wish to cultivate the potential that people possess and lead them to a glorious new future. I seek not meaning or understanding in this. I am not even certain from which of my memories this thought sprang. I feel as if it has always been inside of me. Like a memory from a past life. I've thought of one other possibility. Perhaps this memory is from the future, sent back to me by my future self. ...Or maybe I simply have too active an imagination. Whatever the case, everything will begin once I obtain the power I need. The cursed sword and the spirit sword... I need them both to proceed with my plan. It has already been set into motion. The time has come. Now I shall harvest the fruit of my labors."

They are different, and yet the same. Zasalamel speaking to The Conduit is speaking in terms of the raw power that the Astral Chaos exudes, while Zasalamel in his study writing his books traces the power back to the swords themselves, but really, this is one in the same, as the Astral Chaos is where the swords draw their power, and the swords can be called forth from the Astral Chaos by those capable of manipulating its power (which is how it is that The Conduit is able to pull the swords to fight Azwel, and likely where Azwel got the idea himself to be able to pull forth Soul Edge for his new move from season two). Both speak of the future memories, the discontinuity between them and what has transpired, and both also refer to Zasalamel's future plans, so his interaction with The Conduit is what caused him to see the discrepancy with his memories, and changed his goals, is how I read it.

This I don't recall at all: I take it that we are talking about the activities we witness "first hand" in Libra being rendered as backstory in the lore chapters in Chronicles?
This is what happens when you go back to Soul Chronicle after you've played parts of or all of Libra of Soul. The key points of the story, where it relates to the various characters, those events get placed on the timeline, the same timeline that Soul Chronicle takes place in, a direct visual confirming the two timelines are one in the same. These are the "Hidden Records" from Museum, which also unlock as you are playing Libra of Soul. Basically, the story of The Conduit is contained by the Aval Organization, which is why the records are hidden, and why the world at large will not know of The Conduit and/or why The Conduit may not be referred to or return in the future, or, if they do, their story will continue to be held in secret, in all likelihood.

Well, I will grant you that this is more compelling evidence. Just to play devil's advocate though: some of the same events could occur in both stories without both being cannon, and it wouldn't even be the first time we have seen something like this in the franchise. After-all, up until the present game, most games had multiple conflicting story arcs that included some of the same showdowns and other events, but only one character's arc ended up being the "canon" one adopted as the backstory for the next game.
Again, you're relying on the way the previous games did things to prove your point, while my point is that they've made it very clear in SoulCalibur VI that they are taking the story far more seriously and actively not having these conflicts between different character stories. All of them work and flow together in one canon for Soul Chronicle, and Libra of Soul is also no exception to this rule.

Did those events with Groh really take place, or are they just a parallel narrative with the same characters interacting in similar relationships? I'm open-minded, based on what you can provide in terms of events in Chronicles referencing Libra events, but thus far I haven't seen anything iron-clad that establishes as much.
I've already gone into Zasalamel, and I alluded to Raphael's last chapter being withheld due to spoilers for Libra of Soul, because Azwel is revealed to be alive and well. Azwel doesn't get defeated or "die" in his own Soul Chronicle, so there's no impetus for this unless Libra of Soul is canon and did happen, because The Conduit defeats Azwel, and he is presumed dead before the matter is settled with Grøh, to tie up all the loose ends. Both Grøh and Azwel have prologues in their Soul Chronicles, their actual story takes place in Libra of Soul, and then their epilogues are in Hilde's and Raphael's Soul Chronicles, respectively. The supporting evidence of Libra of Soul being the meat of the stories for Grøh and Azwel is in the Hidden Records being added, it's quite clear looking at their timelines what it represents.

Hilde's Soul Chronicle would confirm that the Grøh lives ending of Libra of Soul is canon, because otherwise he wouldn't be alive and sane to do what he did in her story. When you unlock and play Raphael's last chapter for the first time, it is shocking that Azwel makes an appearance, not just because it's he who is manipulating the scenes to come in SoulCalibur II and beyond with regards to Raphael's dark ambitions and Amy's turning into Viola, but that he's even alive to do any of that to begin with, because you played Libra of Soul, and he was presumed dead. It's a very logical flow.

Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that getting corrupted and or annihilated in any fashion would only give these particular writers an excuse to bring him back more emo than ever. "I have been to the void of nothingness...all is black and hopeless..." -queue snapping fingers at beat poetry bar-
I think we're safe from this, though, due to what I said above from Hilde's Soul Chronicle. I was just using this last bit to have some fun.

begging the question
I've omitted this from the quotes, because I wanted to address it in its own right. You say begging the question, but all I've done is draw parallels between the modes and to me, it's quite clear and obvious that the two are in tandem with each other, by evidence of the game itself. If it was wild mass guessing without clear links between the two modes, I'd be inclined to agree, but it's been carefully constructed where it all flows together. The only way that they could have made it any more clear is if they also made Hidden Records for the side stories, for example showing the events with Plata and Talim's village on Talim's timeline, or if Amy was a character yet, she'd have her bits with Raphael on hers, or Raphael at least could have had those, because the Raphael and Zasalamel side quests are more important than the rest of the others, due to their literal linkage with the unlocking the final events to close the loop. Xianghua's parts are also weirdly missing, it feels like she should have had some entries like Kilik and Maxi, though Kilik should have had another one to bookend his, because he completes his training in his transformed state with The Conduit in his side story finale, it would've worked because the first book icon is the event from the main story represented in Libra of Soul. The list goes on.
 

Rusted Blade

[13] Hero
My continuance after the part you quoted disagrees with you, which I'll highly further as I'm replying to the other parts, but historically, yes, the characters appearing in the non-canon story modes would support your side of it, but SoulCalibur VI is a new paradigm where the story is concerned, I just don't know how you can't see that Libra of Soul is in tandem canon, but I'll do my best to expand upon the points I've made with what you've said back.


Except it is narratively related, which is why the unlocks for these stories are the way that they are. If they just unlocked naturally as the rest of the chapters in Soul Chronicle do, then they would have been spoilers for Libra of Soul. It was a deliberate decision to have them not do this until you have proper context by playing Libra of Soul, because it's all connected. If it wasn't, there'd be no reason for them to have arbitrarily locked only these two chapters.

The game argues with itself as to which mode you should play first, between Soul Chronicle and Libra of Soul, because Libra of Soul has the tutorials, so you'd think you'd start there, and you do also have to start there in order for your own personal rendition of The Conduit to appear in the main story Soul Chronicle (which might be why you may have missed that tidbit, if you play Soul Chronicle first, then Edge Master just brings out a generic-looking dude in a brown hooded outfit instead of The Conduit, or, taken in a different way, this could be the "canon" version of The Conduit, though it is just a placeholder, from how I see it. But on the other hand, you have to finish the Soul Chronicle main story to unlock the substories for Grøh and Azwel, which definitely happens before Libra of Soul, so it's like, you have to start Libra of Soul, do the tutorials and make your character, get up to Edge Master's cave, then stop, go do Soul Chronicle so that you have the proper introduction to your character in the main story, then do Grøh and Azwel substories, then go back to Libra of Soul and finish it, then come back and finish Soul Chronicle, to be proper about it. It's a mess.


It's not directly stated in his Soul Chronicle, no, it would be an inference. But looking at the completed timeline, Zasalamel's self-monologues take place inbetween his interactions with The Conduit (again, see my screenshot from the last post), but Zasalamel admits to The Conduit in Libra of Soul after their last fight, where he realizes that The Conduit's power is not unlike Algol's, this:

"The Astral Chaos is a mire of confusion, an abyss both infinite and inescapable. It is power at its purest... and also the potential for change itself. Your power must have grown too strong, and your spirit resonated with and was subsumed by that of Algol. Another possibility exists, however... In my current life, I have examined closely the secrets locked inside my memory, and discovered a connection to fate, or "future memories" if you will,... As such, I am able to predict the destiny of people and the direction the world is heading. When I met you, however, I was at a loss. And so I entrusted you with the Libra of Soul... the spirit scales. Accordingly, the movements in the scales caused by your actions means there is now a discrepancy between my memory and the happenings of the world--as though an alternate version of history has been created. This truth has given me an invaluable clue, and helped me envision the next move in my plan. And if my conclusion is correct... things could get very interesting indeed."

Compare it to the lines from his Soul Chronicle:

"The cursed and spirit swords are together, and their power grows. Now is the perfect chance for those who seek power. It is time for me to take action. I once wished for death, but now I wish for something else. Now, I wish to cultivate the potential that people possess and lead them to a glorious new future. I seek not meaning or understanding in this. I am not even certain from which of my memories this thought sprang. I feel as if it has always been inside of me. Like a memory from a past life. I've thought of one other possibility. Perhaps this memory is from the future, sent back to me by my future self. ...Or maybe I simply have too active an imagination. Whatever the case, everything will begin once I obtain the power I need. The cursed sword and the spirit sword... I need them both to proceed with my plan. It has already been set into motion. The time has come. Now I shall harvest the fruit of my labors."

They are different, and yet the same. Zasalamel speaking to The Conduit is speaking in terms of the raw power that the Astral Chaos exudes, while Zasalamel in his study writing his books traces the power back to the swords themselves, but really, this is one in the same, as the Astral Chaos is where the swords draw their power, and the swords can be called forth from the Astral Chaos by those capable of manipulating its power (which is how it is that The Conduit is able to pull the swords to fight Azwel, and likely where Azwel got the idea himself to be able to pull forth Soul Edge for his new move from season two). Both speak of the future memories, the discontinuity between them and what has transpired, and both also refer to Zasalamel's future plans, so his interaction with The Conduit is what caused him to see the discrepancy with his memories, and changed his goals, is how I read it.


This is what happens when you go back to Soul Chronicle after you've played parts of or all of Libra of Soul. The key points of the story, where it relates to the various characters, those events get placed on the timeline, the same timeline that Soul Chronicle takes place in, a direct visual confirming the two timelines are one in the same. These are the "Hidden Records" from Museum, which also unlock as you are playing Libra of Soul. Basically, the story of The Conduit is contained by the Aval Organization, which is why the records are hidden, and why the world at large will not know of The Conduit and/or why The Conduit may not be referred to or return in the future, or, if they do, their story will continue to be held in secret, in all likelihood.


Again, you're relying on the way the previous games did things to prove your point, while my point is that they've made it very clear in SoulCalibur VI that they are taking the story far more seriously and actively not having these conflicts between different character stories. All of them work and flow together in one canon for Soul Chronicle, and Libra of Soul is also no exception to this rule.


I've already gone into Zasalamel, and I alluded to Raphael's last chapter being withheld due to spoilers for Libra of Soul, because Azwel is revealed to be alive and well. Azwel doesn't get defeated or "die" in his own Soul Chronicle, so there's no impetus for this unless Libra of Soul is canon and did happen, because The Conduit defeats Azwel, and he is presumed dead before the matter is settled with Grøh, to tie up all the loose ends. Both Grøh and Azwel have prologues in their Soul Chronicles, their actual story takes place in Libra of Soul, and then their epilogues are in Hilde's and Raphael's Soul Chronicles, respectively. The supporting evidence of Libra of Soul being the meat of the stories for Grøh and Azwel is in the Hidden Records being added, it's quite clear looking at their timelines what it represents.

Hilde's Soul Chronicle would confirm that the Grøh lives ending of Libra of Soul is canon, because otherwise he wouldn't be alive and sane to do what he did in her story. When you unlock and play Raphael's last chapter for the first time, it is shocking that Azwel makes an appearance, not just because it's he who is manipulating the scenes to come in SoulCalibur II and beyond with regards to Raphael's dark ambitions and Amy's turning into Viola, but that he's even alive to do any of that to begin with, because you played Libra of Soul, and he was presumed dead. It's a very logical flow.


I think we're safe from this, though, due to what I said above from Hilde's Soul Chronicle. I was just using this last bit to have some fun.


I've omitted this from the quotes, because I wanted to address it in its own right. You say begging the question, but all I've done is draw parallels between the modes and to me, it's quite clear and obvious that the two are in tandem with each other, by evidence of the game itself. If it was wild mass guessing without clear links between the two modes, I'd be inclined to agree, but it's been carefully constructed where it all flows together. The only way that they could have made it any more clear is if they also made Hidden Records for the side stories, for example showing the events with Plata and Talim's village on Talim's timeline, or if Amy was a character yet, she'd have her bits with Raphael on hers, or Raphael at least could have had those, because the Raphael and Zasalamel side quests are more important than the rest of the others, due to their literal linkage with the unlocking the final events to close the loop. Xianghua's parts are also weirdly missing, it feels like she should have had some entries like Kilik and Maxi, though Kilik should have had another one to bookend his, because he completes his training in his transformed state with The Conduit in his side story finale, it would've worked because the first book icon is the event from the main story represented in Libra of Soul. The list goes on.
Ok, you've made a solid case--I'm more or less convinced. But let me play devil's advocate just a bit further here: certainly it's possible that the events that are relayed in those soul chronicle non-playable chapters could be the same exact events playing themselves out in the chronicles narrative, but sans the involvement of the conduit or any other element of the Libra story not added to the Chronicles narrative directly. Of course, at that point, it almost because a question of semantics, since it would still mean that a significant chunk of the Libra story is in the Chronicles story, whether one labels them as separate continuities or not. And anyway, you're right--the chapters unlocking when and how they do does lend extra credence to these two modes compositing one narrative.

However (and forgive me for conceding this debate to you only to jump back to our more perennial one) but I just can't believe that you don't see that second quote of Zasalamel's as the smoking gun that ties together all of the other Soul Chronicle evidence that we are now firmly in a new sequence of events that is already diverging quickly from the original continuity of SE-SCV. But let's save the revival of that debate for another day and enjoy the occasion of one of us actually having convinced the other to change their interpretation of something. ;)

I think we're safe from this, though, due to what I said above from Hilde's Soul Chronicle. I was just using this last bit to have some fun.
Yeah, I know: I was playing along in kind. I just had to be surly about it because I'm talking about lame-o Grohn. ;)
 

DanteSC3

[14] Master
...I just can't believe that you don't see that second quote of Zasalamel's as the smoking gun that ties together all of the other Soul Chronicle evidence that we are now firmly in a new sequence of events that is already diverging quickly from the original continuity of SE-SCV.
Because it is also a contradiction to the majority of the rest of the stories, is my biggest reason. Right now, we have two interlopers in Zasalamel and Cassandra, at least as far as we've been made aware. I'll come back to Zasalamel, but let me tackle Cassandra first:

Cassandra is keeping her knowledge a secret to herself, not even telling Sophitia, whose life it may save if she does actually tell her what is to happen and they could take preventative measures against it, but... Cassandra seems determined to solve it by her own merits, hotheaded as she is. Which would then entail a repeat of the original events, because that's what Cassandra did originally, albeit (as far as we know) not having insight into the future to know what was going to happen before it happened. That being said, however... why is it that Astral Chaos sucked her up in the first place? That is an unanswered question from the original story, and it could be because someone or something doesn't want her meddling with fate, which time travel definitely is a method by which doing this is possible. I'll admit that is speculation, no concrete evidence one way or the other, but it is one possible interpretation, and leads back to my theory that the mantra "Transcending history and the world, a tale of souls and swords, eternally retold..." may have its words chosen carefully, to embolden the idea that the characters are bound to their fates, no matter how much they may wish to carve their own.

But back to Cassandra as we have her right now, only in terms of SoulCalibur VI information, without anything from SoulCalibur II-IV getting in the way of things, aside from what has been directly presented in SoulCalibur VI, that being Cassandra from the future, presumably 1607, assuming time works the same way in Astral Chaos as it does in our world, or even just... whatever metric of Astral Chaos time uses, some point after SoulCalibur IV, at the bare minimum. Future Cassandra has told Kid Cassandra that she needs to take measures to save Sophitia (and Pyrrha) from her (their) cursed fate. But despite the warning, despite getting that information, Cassandra still allowed Sophitia to marry Rothion and Pyrrha is on the way (unless we get a timeline shift and it's Deucalion instead, but that would be bizarre). So thus far, even though she has knowledge of the future, she seems hesitant to actually make waves to do anything about it. She could, that remains to be seen, but she hasn't done anything yet, as far as we know.

Alright, so getting back to Zasalamel:

Zasalamel finds himself in a similar place that he was in originally during SoulCalibur III, except at the beginning of SoulCalibur II. His endgame plan aside, his goals in SoulCalibur III (to end his immortality and finally be able to die a mortal) involved utilizing the power of both swords to accomplish this task. This release of power didn't exactly do that, but it created Abyss and/or awoke Night Terror, stirring the Astral Chaos to bring the power struggle of the two swords to new heights, that when pushed even further, would go so far as to revive Majin B... I mean Algol, thanks to all the energy released by the warring sides of Siegfried and Inferno. Zasalamel was still alive and well in SoulCalibur IV, and his ending showed him living some four hundred years into the future, in a world of helicopters, skyscrapers, and business suits, so he failed to deny himself his immortality.

Now, he wishes to cultivate humanity and bring them into a new glorious future, which is all well and good, but he still plans to claim the two swords and unite their powers to accomplish this. What he actually plans to do, we don't know yet, it hasn't been revealed, but he does have plans. The biggest difference here is timing, and when he will be able to claim the swords for his own. If he were to, for the sake of argument, swoop in and take Soul Edge from Siegfried before Raphael is able to pierce the eye, that would cause a divergence for sure. This is a possibility, and if it happens, we would indeed be on the start of a new future, because this would start a chain of events that would for sure make some waves. But we have to get there, and that has to happen, in order for us to actually be on a diverging path. Right now, all we have are ideas, possible seeds, but none of them are yet sown.

But let's say he can't do that, he isn't able to intervene, and so Siegfried gets saved, Raphael gets corrupted, and SoulCalibur II practically goes off without a hitch. If that happens, then, essentially, we are just repeating SoulCalibur III, and whatever new plans that Zasalamel has may still ultimately fail, as he doesn't have a great track record of getting what he wants, from what we have seen. He wanted to put a stop to The Conduit, fearing them as a threat to humanity and the world, for a more localized example, but he wasn't able, and instead remained content that Algol remained in stasis. So Zasalamel too, may be doomed by fate's eternal cycle of repetition, no matter what he tries to do, he may not be able to succeed.

I'm gonna ride this fatalistic train to the end of the line, essentially, until someone actually derails it. Which could happen in SoulCalibur VII, but seemingly will not happen in SoulCalibur VI, no matter how many more characters we get. Setsuka and Hwang for sure won't be doing anything grand to modify the course of history, I can say that relatively certainly. Aeon, Rock, or Yun-seong? Same. They're just not involved on that level. It would take something outlandish to do that, and there hasn't been any indication yet that they have plans to do anything like that. If there's any part of your statement that I wholly disagree with, it's the word quickly, as there has been nothing to indicate so far that there is anything quick about any of this, and it seems like we're in for a slow burn.
 

TresDias

[07] Duelist
I mean, to me this is super, super cut and dry. Zas' SCIV opening says that his vision of mankind's potential was "a revelation," and that "For the first time in ages, the will to live swelled inside him."

Those statements aren't compatible with a timeline in which he had that aforementioned epiphany and newfound desire to live a few months earlier. Both cannot be true.

It's a new timeline.
 

Dissidia

Premium Member
This topic was made presumably to celebrate and dance over the corpse that is the storyline of SCV. That being said SCVI obviously isn't a reboot, and we obviously won't have a real answer until more DLC either spells it out or SCVII does.
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What is the reasoning behind Zasalamel having the will to live again?
 

TresDias

[07] Duelist
What is the reasoning behind Zasalamel having the will to live again?
"Now, I wish to cultivate the potential that people possess and lead them to a glorious new future."

It's the same as the reason for him having the will to live again at the start of SCIV -- only he's now arrived at that epiphany without the events of SCIII taking place first.
 

DanteSC3

[14] Master
It’s presumably to make it so that we don’t revisit Abyss, that with Zasalamel getting the projectile attack associated with Abyss and having a few choice lines featuring the word abyss, that’s mostly how I feel about it. But whatever his plan is, will probably not go as he expects, instead awakening Night Terror and leading to Algol’s revival. But we’ll find out in SoulCalibur VII.
 

TresDias

[07] Duelist
Even if it does, though, that's still a different history from before. Algol may end up being freed by both series of events, but this current succession of events is already not just a beat-for-beat, moment-to-moment, second-to-second repeat a la a VCR tape after a rewind.
 

DanteSC3

[14] Master
As well it shouldn’t be, as I’m pretty sure we all agree that before SoulCalibur V, the story was a manic mess of mishmashed moments, without any clarity as to what actually happened or not until the next game in the series. Now, with a history of games behind us to draw source material from, and a newfound sense of respect for the lore, they’ve been piecing it all together into a coherent narrative, and it’s been glorious.

It’s still at least 90% if not 95% the same, though, despite the relatively minor changes that have been made in the interests of being more compelling. For now, the bigger picture hasn’t changed, which is the core of my argument. We can quibble about the details all day, and I’ve never really denied that they’ve made some adjustments to make things flow better or explained some mysteries with background and context, but we’re still on the same path to the same future, at least for right now.
 

TresDias

[07] Duelist
Well, that much I will acknowledge as possible. It's just the idea that literally every step of the same path is being retread that I want to make sure we all see is self-evidently incongruent.

Whatever it may come to, I can't begin to guess, but this is a new timeline. Hopefully with a better fate in store for the Alexandra sisters than the previous one.
 
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DanteSC3

[14] Master
new timeline
That’s the sticking point of disagreement, what defines this term. You seemingly define it as even the smallest quantum of difference makes for a new timeline, which by that definition it would be, while I maintain that it’s not a new timeline unless there is some grand change to the course of history, and so far there hasn’t been anything on that scale, so it wouldn’t be until that happens, if it does.
 

TresDias

[07] Duelist
I can't say I've ever seen it defined as you seem to, even as an intellectual exercise in hypothetical scenarios.

I myself can't really see a utility in conceptualizing the consequent timelines of time travel as anything but either identical (i.e. the same universal line of time within a closed loop); or different (i.e. a divergence/branching universal line of time).
 

DanteSC3

[14] Master
I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Steins;Gate (I’m assuming you’re not, or you might get my reasoning, but I’ll give a short explanation anyway.), but there are attempts to modify history with time travel, by trying various things. They have a concept of “world lines”, measured by a divergence meter which calculates how much influence time travel has had an effect on changing the world, where the base value is 0%, what would have happened if a time machine was never invented. Anything that changes is technically a divergence, but until it actually crosses a value of at least 1% on the divergence meter, any changes are trivial and do not matter in the grand scheme of things. The key points of history will still converge and happen as they would, with or without your intervention.

Each change that breaks a factor of 1% is a new world line, where there is a drastic change that has wide-reaching effects, otherwise, it’s kind of like Final Destination, in that no matter what you may do to try and change fate, it’s still going to come back and get you, one way or the other. However, crossing over to a new world line is a method to actually fight against fate, by making such an impact that the original events can’t possibly play out, no matter what happens, due to a notable life or death, creation or destruction of a major symbol or source of power, or even causing or preventing an apocalypse.

So what I’m saying is, for now at least, we have yet to cross into another world line with SoulCalibur’s story as of SoulCalibur VI. We may, or we may not, but we won’t find out until SoulCalibur VII. I guess I have the fact that I am a big fan of Steins;Gate to blame my line of thinking on this, applying that world’s logic to my reasoning, but that’s more or less where I’m at. If we were going to see Daishi’s SoulCalibur V as “the problem”, with “the solution” (or “the attempt”) being to go back in time and change things for the better, it doesn’t matter what anyone does if the end result is the same, which for now, it looks like it will be. We don’t have a divergence meter in this world, so we don’t know for sure, but the events of SoulCalibur VII will tell the tale, whether or not the attempt was successful.
 

TresDias

[07] Duelist
You're correct that I was unfamiliar with this. Thank you for taking the time to explain.

Forgive me, though, for now saying that it strikes me as an arbitrary and uniquely useless model of understanding, at least if being applied to anything other than circumventing a specific development in the future. The vast, vast majority of history is comprised of "trivial" (i.e. seemingly trivial) moments.

At what point does a change qualify as relevant? When someone decided to have a single chicken sandwich instead of a hamburger? When the poultry farmer killed that chicken? When the poultry farmer decided to be a poultry farmer rather than a beef farmer? When they killed their one thousandth chicken? Ten thousandth?

Or maybe chickens don't count at all. Maybe it was when that poultry farmer indulged their secret psychopathology and took their first human life -- an indulgence they would have never been emboldened to explore had they not seen a technician lose the skin on their hand in one of the defeathering machines.

So does that then take the critical moment back to 10 years before when they decided on being a poultry farmer instead of a beef farmer?

But wait: did that human life they took consist of nothing but "trivial" moments? Well, perhaps it was when the poultry farmer claimed their tenth human victim. Or the one hundredth.

Perhaps it was never, because their ongoing list of victims never featured a notable someone who would have been a beef farmer had they not been murdered and discarded in the poultry machines. Or perhaps it was never because none of this person's actions -- or that of any other human being across the swath of history -- ever reached a cosmic level? To affect stars and orbital alignments; to plug a black hole; to discover, of all things, a means of traveling to the beginnings of time to pour pink lemonade on the singularity that would become the Big Bang?

This model invites an endless subjective, and increasingly subjective, series of junctures of demarcation for recognizing significance. It's functionally without function. Conversely, a model recognizing all of history as moments of potential divergence -- i.e. moments that "count" -- cannot fail to do its job.

EDIT: If it's any consolation to my blistering assessment (damn, I was a bit of a dick there), I'm now interested in this "Steins;Gate" game ... anime? Both? A game with a manga adaptation and anime adaptation of that manga?

Anyway, the premise is interesting and the girls are cute. What do you recommend?
 
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DanteSC3

[14] Master
I'm now interested in this "Steins;Gate" game ... anime? Both? A game with a manga adaptation and anime adaptation of that manga?

Anyway, the premise is interesting and the girls are cute. What do you recommend?
It is a visual novel first and foremost, but it was adapted into an anime, and then in a weird way, adapted back into a visual novel using the anime material. The anime was quite well-done, but if you're playing the visual novel, I would recommend that you play the original, not Elite. Elite, using the anime as a source, unfortunately misses the point somewhat of the visual novel aspect, which is that your choices matter and result in various endings. The anime only truly covers two of the endings, while the original had six endings.

The reason you'd play the visual novel over watching the anime is if you wanted a bit more of the nitty-gritty, a tad bit more content/context for the alternate endings that only get lightly touched upon in the anime. The anime was adapted to reach the true ending, as it is a medium without choices, and they didn't really want to make branching arcs for the show, I guess. But as an adaptation to reach the true ending goes, it's about spot-on perfect and I can't really fault it on... well, anything. Okay, I can, there is one plot point that's rather important that they omit, I'm assuming for censorship reasons, but it's brought up in the future when it matters, with a brief flash, so they kind of make up for it... sort of. But I knew it was going to be a problem eventually when I saw the scene in the visual novel for the first time (I had watched the anime first).

There is an anime-only bonus episode and movie that covers the future beyond the scope of the original visual novel, so if you play it, and are in want/need of more content, I'd definitely recommend them. There is also a silly side project / crossover promotion with IBM about cognitive computing that isn't strictly necessary, but it's a fun side jaunt if you want to see the characters being extra funny.

It has a sequel, Steins;Gate 0, that is an offshoot of episode 23 in terms of the anime, that expands upon things even further, and shows the exact journey that led to the true ending, because there is a bit of a truncation / summary of these events in the original, and, well, the series was popular enough to warrant the make of the sequel, and so they did. Unfortunately, the anime adaptation of this part is... rather bad, because they did a semi-unique pathing with the visual novel, and it's structured such that it is very much nonlinear, and so presents a challenge where you're making an adaptation for anime. Unlike the original, you need to experience all of the endings in order to unlock the true ending, and nothing can be left out for the story to be whole. They made, I suppose, a decent effort, but it just unfortunately falls rather short of capturing the whole picture, making life difficult for anime-only folks.

So even if you choose to watch the anime version of the original, I highly recommend playing this part in visual novel format to get everything from it. If you do watch the anime, though, there is also an "episode 0" that is an alternative episode 23 that properly sets up Steins;Gate 0, so you should watch that before watching the series proper. Even though this technically takes place before the original story ends, though, definitely finish the original story before playing/watching this one.

I don't really know anything about the manga, unfortunately, so I can't really offer any guidance there.
 

Metroidwave

[01] Neophyte
I'll chime in with my two cents on whether this truly is a new timeline. So far, yes, it's only been minor differences, but I feel like SC VI was meant to retell the original SC story while still setting the stage for later divergences if it was a success. Pretty much nothing major changed in the SC story, but the pieces on the board are also changed up enough that I feel like things will play out differently in SC VII. Zasalamel lacks his motivation in III, Amy might be able to reach Raphael before he becomes Malfested, etc. We're not seeing big changes yet, but I feel that's because we need time for the ripples to set in.
 

Rusted Blade

[13] Hero
Tres is 100% correct with regard to two separate lines of reasoning: First, Dante's conception of what constitutes an "actual new timeline" is not consistent with how it is ever used--whether we are talking about uses in popular fiction, in analytics, in thought experiments, or in applications of the many-worlds concept, be they fanciful or formalistic. Not even the cited case of Steins;gate is consistent with how she defines these matters: in that narrative, any variance still leads to a split timeline: there is merely a question of whether or not the change is sufficient enough to change particular longer-term outcomes.

But...that's always the case with this concept: events can always wrap around to end up at a similar or identical state, but that doesn't change the fact that there was divergence in the events which lead to that state--which is the very definition of a separate "timeline". For every single subatomic particle, any change in position or momentum accounts for a different timeline, independent of all the possible changes to all of the other particles in a given progenitor universal state; each of those particles generates their own unending, ever-splitting set of continuities. This principle is a defining property of the very notion of a separate timeline/parallel universe--it is a fundamental principle that is required for the concept to have any meaning, usefulness, or rational self-consistency as a notion.

That's one side of the objection, but Tres has already identified the other fault with Dante's definition: it's completely arbitrary. Dante, don't you see how your phrasing allows you to keep moving the goalposts indefinitely, such that you can always be "correct" about whether the "the timeline has changed"? There's no objective, useful measure to your approach: whether or not a "real" new continuity exists is based solely upon whether you feel (according to some subjective and completely undefined sentiment) that some threshold has been met. Where said threshold is not established before hand and is is not subject to any kind of rational analysis, beyond whether you've already chosen to concede the point. That is never a workable methodology when you're trying to arrive at a conceptualization that is for the purpose of evaluating a situation (even the nature of a fictional narrative) with other people, and it is particularly problematic when you have already established a very strong position before-hand on how you thought things were going to bear out. Essentially it becomes a free license to base all of your analysis on confirmation bias--indefinitely dismissing any contrary evidence to your predicted outcome as "not important enough" for as long as you like. Which could be a very long time indeed if you have established a psychological investment in your preferred or predicted outcome.

Look, you made a prediction, that's fine. It was an odd prediction that had almost no chance of bearing out, given how rebooted media pretty much invariably works and given the thematics of this franchise in particular, but that's fine: nobody put a gun to anyone's head to make them debate the feasibility or likelihood of that theory over the last couple of years, after-all. But we now know conclusively that the theory has not born out: at least not in its most absolute form that would allow you reasonable access to your preferred manner of framing the debate. There IS NOT going to be a completely identical retelling of the narrative (only more detailed and more integrated). Because there are already divergences. The only real question at this point is how substantial the changes will be moving forward.

Now, I am going to guess that, even if you shift your nomenclature away from the "it's not a 'real' new timeline" language and towards talking about significant changes--which I think you really ought to do, because all it really accomplishes is to send you and your rhetorical opposition around in circles arguing about your terminology vs. the standard terminology--you probably are going to stick to your predictions of extreme narrative stasis: that is, that almost everything is going to play out as events did in SCII-SCV, with only trivial differences. And that's fine--it your pet theory, based on your love of the previous Soul Calibur story, which you want to see repeated, but in more detail. I'd call that a peculiar kind of love that the goofy pop-fantasy story of SoulCalibur past has not earned from you, but there's no harm in your having that affection for that story and hoping for its return. However, I would say you are almost certain to be sorely disappointed by what actually occurs, for a number of reasons:
  • First, it is unheard of for any media franchise of any sort to do this: invariably the stewards of the new story want to do new things instead of just repackaging the exact same story again--and that's true whether or not the creative team is composed of the original creative talent or a new group of storytellers, and also true regardless of whether we are talking about an explicit new timeline or a more nebulously defined reboot continuity.
  • Second, even if this kind of extremely close retelling were the creative intention of the SCVI creative team (which I think is already pretty strongly counter-indicated by the recent Soul Chronicles), many key creative psoitions will have been handed off to new talent by the time SCVII enters production.
  • Third, (and this point can't be overstated) your expectation is completely at odds with the central message/thematic concept of the franchise! How often and how vigorously is the concept that "every soul carves their own path" been shoe-horned into the plot and presentation of every single Soul Calibur game, and shoved down our throat with a hundred thousand literal, explicit, pandering phrases about that very concept? It's not just that this is the overwhelming message that the games in the franchise consistently, constantly try to sell you on, I don't know that I can think of any franchise that has ever tried to sell a simpler message more comprehensively or with more zeal than SoulCalibur has tried to sell the notion of a "fate shaped by the will and determination" of its central characters, whatever that means in practical, realistic terms. So its beguiling to me that you think that this franchise, of all franchises, would establish the concept of a new timeline and then lock everybody into precisely replicated fates. It just doesn't track.
All of that said, I think at the end of the day that once you drop the confusing/circular argument "it's not a 'real' new timeline" jargon, you're going to discover most of us are more on the same page than not. For example, I'm quite certain the story will proceed with largely the same cast (plus new faces woven in), with largely the same relationships and motivations in the broadstrokes. Algol will be back, Amy will become Viola, and if I had to guess, eventually even most of the SCV kids will show up again, however little sense that makes for a new timeline. At least in the short term, I expect there to be many plot beats that are very familiar to those who played SCII-SCV. But I think it's clear that the idea of a "perfect" repeat (as you might be conceptualizing it) is already out the window. To use your Steins;gate comparison (and obviously using figures that are somewhat arbitrary invoked for discursive purposes), we will be at 95% similarity as we get through the SCII timespan, 90% as we clear SCIII, 80% as we clear SCIV and plummeting thereafter as we approach SCV, almost none of the original narrative of which will be repated, I suspect (aside from utilizing many of the same characters with very similar relationships and motivations, but wrapped around very different plot beats. That's my best guess anyway.
 
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