How will the new timeline diverge from the old?

TresDias

[10] Knight
I know what you're going to say next, too, that even if all of those things coalesce and the bigger picture future remains the same, the fact that there are differences at all along the path that leads to those events happening, in and of themselves, constitutes a new timeline. And that's where we disagree, as a matter of semantics. They have not as of yet defined the nature of SoulCalibur's timeline, where we could have multiverse or not, what the possibilities really are.
Maybe we should ask the malfested guys Cass cured or the Fygul Cestemus dude she killed (or any of their averted victims) if they think there's a multiverse? =P

Also, wasn't that literally the plot of "Unbreakable Soul"?

Maybe one of these fellows will weigh in and settle this:

 
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Metroidwave

[06] Combatant
Zasalamel is another story, but his is the hardest to read, because he is perhaps the character who does the least acting in all of SoulCalibur VI, instead just observing and planning his future, trying to make sense of the current state of affairs, between his memory from the future that he received from himself, trying to rationalize that reality, and yet observing the world around him not go the way that he's expecting it to go, which in turn, all things considered, changes his goal from that of wishing to die to cultivating humanity to see what they can truly accomplish, which is quite different, granted, but still, ultimately, requires the power of the swords in order to accomplish, means that, while his intentions are different, it remains possible that his actions ultimately have the same end result, in that he either awakens Abyss inside himself and/or awakens Night Terror, and that surge of energy, combined with the duel between Siegfried and Nightmare, then awakens Algol, then we have repeated history, that's possible and probable a turn of events.
Would he really need the swords to achieve his new goal though? I mean, he intends to see humanity grow beyond what he had thought possible and that doesn't really need the swords, just patience. At most he might step in to make sure humanity lasts long enough to reach that point in the first place given how many ways the world could end in this series.

I know what you're going to say next, too, that even if all of those things coalesce and the bigger picture future remains the same, the fact that there are differences at all along the path that leads to those events happening, in and of themselves, constitutes a new timeline. And that's where we disagree, as a matter of semantics. They have not as of yet defined the nature of SoulCalibur's timeline, where we could have multiverse or not, what the possibilities really are. The simplest possible interpretation of time travel theory is that there is only one line, until a divergence occurs to skew it off into a tangent, but thus far, none of the skewings have been sufficient to actually cause a tangent, and that's the hairs that are being split from my side of the argument, that until such a tangent occurs, we are practically on the same timeline, for all intents and purposes.
But then what defines a tangent? If Cassandra's timeline being altered as opposed to merely expanded doesn't count as a tangent, what degree of event would have to occur to qualify?
 

DanteSC3

[14] Master
Would he really need the swords to achieve his new goal though? I mean, he intends to see humanity grow beyond what he had thought possible and that doesn't really need the swords, just patience. At most he might step in to make sure humanity lasts long enough to reach that point in the first place given how many ways the world could end in this series.
He directly says as much in his final chapter of Soul Chronicle, that his plan is set into motion, but he needs power to achieve his goal, then he says he will need both the cursed sword and the spirit sword, so yeah, even Zasalamel feeds into the "well yeah, the setup is different, but the end result is the same" pattern that all of the stories end with. And all I'm saying, really, is that if they were attempting to avoid this confusion, to truly establish a new and separate timeline, that they could just not include these things, because when they sprinkle that in to every story, I really am confused as to how it seems like I'm the only one out here that sees it. It's bizarre. Like we just went over with regards to Setsuka, I had reached an entirely different understanding of her story, and was even onboard with the change, but Tres pointed out that I missed the line, at the very end, where Setsuka says she's still going to pursue her vengeance plot on Mitsurugi anyway. Like, they didn't need to put that in, it clashes with the story narrative they just set up, but then... they did put it in, which has implications that it doesn't matter what these people do, their fates will end up the same.

But then what defines a tangent? If Cassandra's timeline being altered as opposed to merely expanded doesn't count as a tangent, what degree of event would have to occur to qualify?
Someone has to do something that actually changes the course of events as we know them. And yet no one seems willing to step up and do it, whether they have the knowledge, power, or both, any capacity to do so. Or they literally can't, even if they wanted to, that seems to be the implication I'm getting. All these new events, some of which aren't really "new" but "were never seen before by people who don't read all the lore", but some of which are actually new, either don't clash with the original narrative or don't have any implication on the original narrative. And all I'm looking for is for someone to break the mold, someone to alter destiny, someone to do... anything different. And they just won't. It's frustrating. I want an answer to this debate, either direction, but it doesn't seem like we're getting one before SoulCalibur VII, as every new story in SoulCalibur VI DLC is still following the same pattern of not actually changing things up, even if they're "different", they still end in a way that sets up SoulCalibur II and beyond to unfold just like it did before.

Maybe we should ask the malfested guys Cass cured or the Fygul Cestemus dude she killed (or any of their averted victims) if they think there's a multiverse? =P
In terms of game logic, or even fiction logic in general, random folks that don't even have names don't have an impactful bearing on the story, unless it's a wide-reaching event, like saving an entire country or bringing one to ruin, something world-changing an event. They're just plot devices to drive events.

Also, wasn't that literally the plot of "Unbreakable Soul"?
I don't know enough to say one way or the other, but from the bits and bobs I've heard, it's debatable if this is canon? And let's say it is canon, they shouldn't foxhole away very important lore into such an obscure thing as a digital smartphone game with limited availability that also has a time limit where it doesn't exist anymore. They should, at the very least, print up its lore into a physical medium or put it online or something concrete that we can use as reference material, if it's important. It doesn't help us to settle anything when people don't really know what it covers or entails in detail.

Maybe one of these fellows will weigh in and settle this:
I kind of doubt they would answer this question, but you never know... maybe.
 

TresDias

[10] Knight
And all I'm looking for is for someone to break the mold, someone to alter destiny ...
A chapter of Cassandra's story was literally named "A Broken Destiny."
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In terms of game logic, or even fiction logic in general...
When you select this particular phrasing, though, do remember that your position is the one that runs contrary to the general understanding of fictional timelines. The reason you feel you're "the only one out here who sees it" is that you're using terminology incorrectly and have remained steadfast in the validity of that choice of wording.
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Otherwise, the conversation would be vastly different -- perhaps more about whether the Alexandras are definitely doomed, Raph is definitely fated for malfestation and possession, etc.

... random folks that don't even have names don't have an impactful bearing on the story, unless it's a wide-reaching event, like saving an entire country or bringing one to ruin, something world-changing an event.

But see, that's drifting into the territory I've previously said this line of reasoning invites the danger of: arbitrary recognition of preferred goal posts. There's no consistent rules to it.

As such, Zasalamel's irreconcilably different motivation and goals expands to something like "As long as Soul Edge doesn't win and the world eventually becomes the setting of 'Tekken,' it's all still the same timeline -- whether Sophitia lives to be an old woman, Raph never becomes Nightmare, Patroklos doesn't suck, and Z.W.E.I. actually gets a story. Everyone is mortal and dies eventually anyway. And hell, even if the setting of 'Tekken' didn't happen, there's always the natural heat death of the universe to consider. Nothing ever changes -- ever."

Again, that's all arbitrary. There's no reason the cosmos at large or its physics should recgonize Cass curing those dudes of malfestation as less of a legitimate divergence than Zas's different motivation, Sophitia's age when she dies, or even whether the whole Earth is consumed by Soul Edge or Soul Calibur.

I don't know enough to say one way or the other, but from the bits and bobs I've heard, it's debatable if this is canon?

Sadly, it's pretty much impossible to be sure right now. What it does allow us to be certain of, though, is that the multiverse as a concept -- and post-SCIV Cassandra hopping timelines via the Astral Chaos -- is not foreign to the franchise.

And let's say it is canon, they shouldn't foxhole away very important lore into such an obscure thing as a digital smartphone game with limited availability that also has a time limit where it doesn't exist anymore. They should, at the very least, print up its lore into a physical medium or put it online or something concrete that we can use as reference material, if it's important. It doesn't help us to settle anything when people don't really know what it covers or entails in detail.

While I agree that this should be the case, Japanese video game developers have little hesitation in holding even older mobile titles as canon and continuing to reference lore established in them. See especially: "Before Crisis," a mobile spin-off prequel to "Final Fantasy VII" that was never even officially localized into English, nor ever released anywhere outside Japan.
 

Metroidwave

[06] Combatant
I don't know enough to say one way or the other, but from the bits and bobs I've heard, it's debatable if this is canon? And let's say it is canon, they shouldn't foxhole away very important lore into such an obscure thing as a digital smartphone game with limited availability that also has a time limit where it doesn't exist anymore. They should, at the very least, print up its lore into a physical medium or put it online or something concrete that we can use as reference material, if it's important. It doesn't help us to settle anything when people don't really know what it covers or entails in detail.
While I agree that this should be the case, Japanese video game developers have little hesitation in holding even older mobile titles as canon and continuing to reference lore established in them. See especially: "Before Crisis," a mobile spin-off prequel to "Final Fantasy VII" that was never even officially localized into English, nor ever released anywhere outside Japan.
Sudden Xenosaga flashbacks.

Also, I suspect Unbreakable Soul isn't canon, given that while it also ran with the idea of 'What happened to Cass post-IV?', it handled it in a different way. US was multiverse hopping while VI was timetravel.
 

DanteSC3

[14] Master
A chapter of Cassandra's story was literally named "A Broken Destiny."
dJeZsJ1.png
Which you and I both know was just a reference to Broken Destiny, the game, rather than referring to actual literal broken destinies. And no destinies were broken in the SoulCalibur IV remake for PSP, except maybe ours with the introduction of Dampierre.

When you select this particular phrasing, though, do remember that your position is the one that runs contrary to the general understanding of fictional timelines. The reason you feel you're "the only one out here who sees it" is that you're using terminology incorrectly and have remained steadfast in the validity of that choice of wording.
qS6tXUf.png
I disagree, but of course I do, considering my perspective. I even acknowledge the fact that I'm isolated, but that doesn't mean it's a matter of right and wrong, is my point. And I have very much reasoned why I feel the way that I do is only due to the material being presented before me and also my own personal experiences with similar narratives in the past, which is what anyone is going to do. I don't find it strange.

Otherwise, the conversation would be vastly different -- perhaps more about whether the Alexandras are definitely doomed, Raph is definitely fated for malfestation and possession, etc.
I've tried, more than tried even, to talk about these things, but you all get wrapped up in the nuance and don't actually get to the discussion because you're entangled in the idea that my belief structure is flawed rather than anything I'm actually saying. I don't even think that we really disagree that the plot is moving in the same or a similar direction as it originally did, it's just our process of arriving at that conclusion is so different that we find each other at arms over it, but it seems fairly obvious to me that we're rooted in our ways of thinking and aren't likely to change this. That was the original topic, too, whether or not we would repeat history or create a new, different future, and so far, they seem determined to get us back to where we were rather than do something different, as I've laid out my reasoning many times.

But see, that's drifting into the territory I've previously said this line of reasoning invites the danger of: arbitrary recognition of preferred goal posts. There's no consistent rules to it.

As such, Zasalamel's irreconcilably different motivation and goals expands to something like "As long as Soul Edge doesn't win and the world eventually becomes the setting of 'Tekken,' it's all still the same timeline -- whether Sophitia lives to be an old woman, Raph never becomes Nightmare, Patroklos doesn't suck, and Z.W.E.I. actually gets a story. Everyone is mortal and dies eventually anyway. And hell, even if the setting of 'Tekken' didn't happen, there's always the natural heat death of the universe to consider. Nothing ever changes -- ever."

Again, that's all arbitrary. There's no reason the cosmos at large or its physics should recgonize Cass curing those dudes of malfestation as less of a legitimate divergence than Zas's different motivation, Sophitia's age when she dies, or even whether the whole Earth is consumed by Soul Edge or Soul Calibur.
There are very consistent rules to it, as I've mentioned before, a major story beat needs to change, otherwise there's no significant divergence to the chain of causality to actually define it as a "new timeline". No-name NPCs who don't have the power to shape the world don't really qualify. It's not arbitrary, it's just that stems into butterfly effect territory that seriously doesn't apply unless a story is specifically employing that mechanic in its narrative, which SoulCalibur definitely does not seem to be doing. Again, I'm only presenting this based on the story so far, and what has or hasn't mattered in the past.

The examples that you list in your second paragraph involve key players and yes, those things would actually matter and be different. If Sophitia is saved, that presents a major divergence. If Raphael is preserved from malfestation and doesn't become Nightmare, that presents a major divergence. If Patroklos doesn't suck, that would be a revolutionary divergence (sarcasm, but so was your inclusion of it). Z.W.E.I. getting a story is more meta-narrative and he would have had one if SoulCalibur V wasn't an incomplete mess, but I imagine his story is significant to the overall narrative all the same. And getting to the Tekkenverse seems loosely implied by Zasalamel's ending in SoulCalibur IV, yes, but that's a wider-reaching goal.

Sadly, it's pretty much impossible to be sure right now. What it does allow us to be certain of, though, is that the multiverse as a concept -- and post-SCIV Cassandra hopping timelines via the Astral Chaos -- is not foreign to the franchise.
Neither was that silly non-canon Gauntlet story mode from Broken Destiny, and then there's things like Chronicles of the Sword and Weapon Master Mode having their own self-contained stories that run parallel to the main story and don't impact it in the slightest. If Unbreakable Soul is canon, it matters, but if it's not canon, it doesn't matter, is more or less how I see it. They've employed the technique, sure, I'll give you that, and I'm assuming you're right, because I don't know enough about Unbreakable Soul to verify that or not, but my thoughts on seeing Astral Chaos Cassandra was that she had tried several times to change the past and failed to do so, to the point of literally losing herself, not that she'd been jumping multiverses, since they didn't even begin to hint at the concept in Cassandra's Soul Chronicle. If they did talk about her multiverse-hopping, which they could have, to confirm that Unbreakable Soul was canon, then that would be a valid consideration, but since they didn't, and they could have, it's left ambiguous and uncertain. It would be so easy for them to just come out and say we're in a new paradigm, but their refusal to do so is what makes me doubt.

While I agree that this should be the case, Japanese video game developers have little hesitation in holding even older mobile titles as canon and continuing to reference lore established in them. See especially: "Before Crisis," a mobile spin-off prequel to "Final Fantasy VII" that was never even officially localized into English, nor ever released anywhere outside Japan.
I'm aware that Before Crisis exists, but I'm not aware of things that actually call back to it or reference it in any meaningful way.

Also, I suspect Unbreakable Soul isn't canon, given that while it also ran with the idea of 'What happened to Cass post-IV?', it handled it in a different way. US was multiverse hopping while VI was timetravel.
And that's all I'm getting at, they're not making things as clear cut as they could/should be. There are no firm answers, because they refuse to give them.
 

Rusted Blade

[14] Master
I didn't back then and I'm still not arguing that Cassandra of the future visited Cassandra of the past, as that would just be foolish to deny the facts that are clearly in front of us. This causes her to take an early journey during SoulCalibur times instead of only setting out for the first time in SoulCalibur II times, but it's still factual that she's going to go on her SoulCalibur II times, and as of right now, she hasn't used any of her knowledge from the future to prevent anything from happening the way that it's destined to happen. I've suggested as much before, but I'll repeat myself in saying that she could have either stopped Sophitia from having children or she could have acted as a surrogate mother, because she knows that Pyrrha and Patroklos will be tainted due to the Soul Edge fragments wedged in Sophitia's heart. She chose to not do anything, so she is not herself changing fate, though she has the knowledge to do so if she so chooses. If she keeps on this path, finding herself unable to act, then history is indeed doomed to repeat itself. Her goal in the original course was to save Sophitia from her charge from the gods, and that's still true of our current chain of events.

This is a false choice, as has been pointed out to you numerous times in this discussion already: you're presenting two possibilities (one of which is ballsdon;'tthe wall insane and has never been suggested by anything in the plot*) and then declaring that if Cassandra doesn't do one of those two things, it automatically proves that you are right. But that's irrational on multiple levels. First off, Cassandra does do things differently--she just doesn't do them differently in a way that conforms to your idiosyncratic idea of something that is different enough. And as has also been pointed out to you before, that argument doesn't hold water. It becomes a (completely nonsensical/doesn't follow with how causality actually works) excuse for you to embrace your confirmation bias about how you want things to go, rather than accepting the plain truth that has been expressly put before your eyes and which the rest of us have no trouble accepting because we don't have the same obsessive need to see your vision of a complete redux plot come to fruition.

*"Hey sis, I think I should fuck your husband and have his babies. But hear me out--I got the idea because I had a vision of myself of the future as older and lonely." "....Yeah, Cass, I don't think we're going to have you over for holidays anymore..." I mean...do you have a brother-in-law you would like to tell us about? :) All joking aside, why do you think this bizarre sister-wives is something that would ever happen in a story like this? Let alone one of just two things she could have done which would satisfy you that Cassandra was "really" acting differently? There's many reasons why Cassandra might not have done either of the things you suggest (many of which have been spelled out at length in posts in this thread already), but at the end of the day, that's an irrelevant question: what's important is that she has done things differently.

By placing yourself in the privileged position of deciding that a change isn't "a real, true" change until you feel it is, you are engaging in begging the question, a kind of circular logic that protects you from having to engage with the actual rational objections to your arguments about casuality by granting yourself the right to dismiss changes that don't "feel" significant enough to you to be faced. Which, I guess, given the stakes of this argument is....fine, in the grand scheme of things--if all you really want to just hide your head in the sand and ignore the fact that you're not going to get exactly what you wanted. But it's a piss-poor form of argumentation and it has two implications: one, it fits hand-in-glove with the afore-mentioned confirmation bias, and two, it doesn't really leave the rest of us feeling like there's any point in engaging with you on the topic, because you're just going to retreat to this fortress of feelings in order to reject any evidence that ever runs contrary to your preferred interpretation of things.

The difference is that Cassandra has knowledge from the future, but if she never puts it to use, then it amounts to a hill of beans whether or not she has that knowledge or not.

The fact of the matter is, Cassandra knows what's coming. Even putting aside conscious decisions to alter that course of events, Cassandra is now just a different person than she was by virtue of the fact that she knows what is coming. She can't unlearn that knowledge and re-achieve the ignorant state she had before, so even if we're just talking about how she reacts differently to events, those changes will, by definition, change the narrative. Even just her having that knowledge changes the narrative into a new one! And that's before we face the fact that her different reactions will add up to big changes the longer the story unspools.

This isn't an arthouse film looking to make some sort of statement about the inevitable dismal consequences of the philosophical construct of strict determinism. it's a pop fantasy pulp adventure that has a pressure to stay lively and is, indeed, a story which has, perhaps more so than any other single narrative in the history of the industry, has consistently thematic message that people "forge their own destinies from their will", silly and pandering as that message may be. That's the main refrain of the series, echoed at the end of games, character arcs--hell, most individual fights begin and/or end with the announcer shouting out some word salad platitude about how "She will not be bound to chains of fate--she will burn her own path across the stage of history!" or some other assertion along those lines. You literally could not have picked a single story in all of the history of video games that less fits with the general thrust of your pet theory in terms of thematics.

Zasalamel is another story, but his is the hardest to read, because he is perhaps the character who does the least acting in all of SoulCalibur VI, instead just observing and planning his future, trying to make sense of the current state of affairs, between his memory from the future that he received from himself, trying to rationalize that reality, and yet observing the world around him not go the way that he's expecting it to go, which in turn, all things considered, changes his goal from that of wishing to die to cultivating humanity to see what they can truly accomplish, which is quite different, granted, but still, ultimately, requires the power of the swords in order to accomplish, means that, while his intentions are different, it remains possible that his actions ultimately have the same end result, in that he either awakens Abyss inside himself and/or awakens Night Terror, and that surge of energy, combined with the duel between Siegfried and Nightmare, then awakens Algol, then we have repeated history, that's possible and probable a turn of events.

Stepping back a phase, because that would be SoulCalibur III stuff, the next opportunity for intervention lies with Azwel's manipulation of Raphael and Amy, whether or not their course plays out the same way for SoulCalibur II stuff, where Raphael is the one to stab Soul Edge to free Siegfried, that seems like it's still pretty likely to occur, but what happens after may or may not shape the destiny of those involved. It's also possible that Zasalamel breaks up this event, and claims Soul Edge (and Soul Calibur) for himself early, which would be a divergence point that couldn't be ignored, as it would prevent Raphael and Amy from suffering malfestation, though Amy would still be in Azwel's clutches, unless there was some other solution presented for that. This is assuming that gets changed, however, because Zasalamel could just as easy wait for Raphael to weaken Soul Edge, get afflicted, and then swoop in and steal it while it's weak, that could happen, still be different, and yet still doom Raphael and Amy to their tragic future.
For what it's worth, I do agree that a lot of the major plot beats are likely to be replicated, nevermind that it arguably runs afoul of the Butterfly Effect and all logic--we re talking about SoulCalibur level writing after-all.

...the fact that there are differences at all along the path that leads to those events happening, in and of themselves, constitutes a new timeline. And that's where we disagree, as a matter of semantics.
Yeeeaahhh, but here's the thing, you're not really just us here about that topic--you're arguing with the established definition of that word as far as it has ever been used in critical story analysis, metaphysics, pop culture, or anywhere where the idea of lines of causality are discussed in either trivial or heady empirical contexts. See above for the reasons why using it as you would choose to use it just erodes the very concept to sand that serves no other useful function but letting you avoid facing logical predicate-result consequences of facts that are inconvenient to what you want to believe. If a change isn't a "real" change until you've decided you feel it is so, and you'd rather engage in that kind of subjective exercise rather than discussing the chain of events on a level playing field--that is, if this is a situation where you can't be logically hemmed in by the facts because as a last resort you always have access to your "not changed enough" escape hatch, wherein your analysis of "enough" is subject only to your own sentiments and no further rational argumentation--then this entire conversation is entirely pointless, because in those terms, none of us can ever shake your position until you have already determined to do so yourself. Which again, int he circumstances, is your perogative. But it means the rest of us might as well be talking to a wall when we engage with you on the topic.

And you're certainly right that it ultimately comes down to semantics, but at the end of the day, you're the one who staked out this extreme position that is predicated in precisely those semantics--and indeed, came into Nyte's thread here to vigorusly (one might even say aggressively) assert it, because you felt so strongly about the subject that you had to try to shut down the use of that word, even though it was improbable from the start that this particular story would do what you wanted it to do in this regard. If susbsequent developments int he story have since short-circuited that absolutist argument and painted you into a corner where you have to argue from an increasingly narrow semantic argument, that's on no one but you, amiga! :P

I've already touched on Azwel just a bit above, but his inclusion in the narrative is either a new element or it is not, and both possibilities are equal, in my eyes. The Aval Organization, much like the Guardians of the Spirit Sword before it, is a secret organization that acts behind the scenes away from the public eye. Azwel was once of the Aval Organization before casting it aside and just doing whatever in the hell he wants to do, but he still was one of them, meaning he knows how to get things done in secret, which is part of how he is such a master manipulator. It's a plot device of convenience, to be certain, but I'm not ruling it out that they can't pull the "it was there all along" card, since they've framed the organization as a whole in that light already. So we, the players, are just now learning of their existence, but whether or not they were even in the cards before to the developers is irrelevant, because of how they were written in. It's practically impossible that the Aval Organization existed back in the early 2000s, and I'm not even remotely suggesting that level of diabolical planning, but my point remains that it does not matter. The core mantra that "history hides away more than one truth" collaborates this, so again, sorry to sound like a broken record, but until one of Azwel's actions actually causes a turn of events that contradicts the original telling of the story, he cannot be tagged as an interloper or credited with changing history, because everything so far falls under the "well, it could have happened and we didn't know about it before" camp.

Fair enough, then I guess the question you ought to be asking yourself is, would these particular authors, while telling this particular story, introduce a major new character (who is one of the primary characters for this entry) whose entire premise is that he is scheming and manipulative svengali archetype, then give him the ability to see the future to assist in those manipulations....just to have all of that go absolutely nowhere in the final analysis? I would say the writing is on the wall as far as that is concerned--but if this debate were as simple as me pointing out the obvious past and present thematics that are governing this story to you, it would have been over six months ago. ;)
 

DanteSC3

[14] Master
if all you really want to just hide your head in the sand and ignore the fact that you're not going to get exactly what you wanted. But it's a piss-poor form of argumentation and it has two implications: one, it fits hand-in-glove with the afore-mentioned confirmation bias, and two, it doesn't really leave the rest of us feeling like there's any point in engaging with you on the topic, because you're just going to retreat to this fortress of feelings in order to reject any evidence that ever runs contrary to your preferred interpretation of things.
I disagree with this sentiment. This is absolutely not what I'm doing or want. You saw this in my resignation that the debate could have finally been at rest with Setsuka truly branching out into a new history... except apparently it isn't, because she's still going to do her Mitsurugi revenge plot after all. I am not an immovable wall, I just have a higher expected burden of proof on the game than the rest of you, it seems. They seem duty-bound to ensure that the future events will play out the same, evidenced by the endings of literally every single Soul Chronicle in the game putting the pieces in play to where they would. And no one yet has acted in a way that will change those events, and they don't seem like they will until maybe SoulCalibur VII.

Cassandra
I didn't mean to assert that those two options were the only valid ones, I only provided two possible examples. I'm not saying my ideas aren't extreme, just one possible fix to a scenario given the facts that Cassandra is aware of. A core of their tragic future stems from Pyrrha and Patroklos, so preventing their existence would definitely be a short solution to their troubles, but I guess that would be too easy? My point remains that Cassandra doesn't do anything of value with her future knowledge in SoulCalibur VI. She might do it in SoulCalibur VII, but she hasn't done it yet in SoulCalibur VI. The problem with her not acting yet, though, presents the possibility that she knew in the original story too, but was also unable to act, in the event of a time loop scenario. We've been over this, that Astral Chaos may be "fate" itself, and intervenes when people try and fight it, which is how/why Cassandra got whisked away.

This isn't an arthouse film looking to make some sort of statement about the inevitable dismal consequences of the philosophical construct of strict determinism. it's a pop fantasy pulp adventure that has a pressure to stay lively and is, indeed, a story which has, perhaps more so than any other single narrative in the history of the industry, has consistently thematic message that people "forge their own destinies from their will", silly and pandering as that message may be. That's the main refrain of the series, echoed at the end of games, character arcs--hell, most individual fights begin and/or end with the announcer shouting out some word salad platitude about how "She will not be bound to chains of fate--she will burn her own path across the stage of history!" or some other assertion along those lines. You literally could not have picked a single story in all of the history of video games that less fits with the general thrust of your pet theory in terms of thematics.
Video games in general do a lot of silly things with their stories. Fighting games are no exception. There's nothing that says it couldn't be ironic with all of those silly over-the-top platitudes being an exercise in futility. If they wanted us to believe that carving your own fate was possible, then this game should have actually shown the characters carving new fates instead of repeating their past lives in greater detail. I will repeat and say that there was simply no reason for a lot of these shoehorned in at the last minute plot beats that indicate we'll be repeating SoulCalibur II and beyond if they actually intended on changing the future.

I would argue that it's equally silly to ignore all of these things as it is that I am allegedly ignoring the minor differences that haven't successfully changed the course of history. I'm not ignoring them, I'm just saying that they're being used in an attempt to frame a more complete and coherent story, which, as we agree on, the earlier games had garbage continuity and silly what-ifs and so many contradictions that it would seem impossible to construct a singular canon, and yet... here we are, and SoulCalibur VI has managed to accomplish this task. I forgive them for taking some liberties to piece it all together. Those differences are not significant in and of themselves to change the narrative, however. I do not dismiss the differences like they don't exist, my point is that the differences don't actually change anything of value and thus don't matter.

I am not doing this for any of the logical fallacies you cited above, at least not consciously. I am remaining consistent, in the standard for altering history means that major plot beats are changed, major characters live or die, or otherwise have their lives altered in a significant way (like I've just mentioned, if something intervenes to prevent Raphael and Amy from becoming malfested, for example). I really am baffled that this is not understood. I find it extremely likely that SoulCalibur VII will actually do this, but it is a factual matter that SoulCalibur VI did not, and it seems like it will not in the future DLC.

And you're certainly right that it ultimately comes down to semantics, but at the end of the day, you're the one who staked out this extreme position that is predicated in precisely those semantics--and indeed, came into Nyte's thread here to vigorusly (one might even say aggressively) assert it, because you felt so strongly about the subject that you had to try to shut down the use of that word, even though it was improbable from the start that this particular story would do what you wanted it to do in this regard. If susbsequent developments int he story have since short-circuited that absolutist argument and painted you into a corner where you have to argue from an increasingly narrow semantic argument, that's on no one but you, amiga! :P
I would argue that this story did exactly "what <I> wanted it to do" if we're defining that as "turned back time to give SoulCalibur V a second chance at existing, because it would have been illogical and poorly received if after six years, the game we got was a remake / definitive edition of arguably the worst received game in the entire series" because that's exactly what SoulCalibur VI is. It contains within it the possibility that the future may change, but they remain absolutely hesitant to do so, going so far as to frame every story where the previous games can also be retold without a hitch.

And I'm not arguing that SoulCalibur V wasn't a trainwreck, but I also believe that it wasn't given its fair shake, either, released in the terrible state that it was. So, rather than repeat history exactly as was done before, they're taking what was one of the better parts of SoulCalibur V, the idea of creating one unified canon story, and retroactively applying it to the games that have come before it, to form a cohesive narrative, to build up to where we were, but better this time, and actually do things the way it should have been done before it.

But there's the nature of why I was so vehement against this topic from the onset, because Nyte is the embodiment of SoulCalibur V should be erased from history, and so his agenda for the timeline divergence is to prevent SoulCalibur V from happening again. That's what I wholeheartedly stand against, and the game agrees with me, or else it wouldn't have alluded to Raphael becoming Nightmare and Amy becoming Viola, to say nothing of other potential less grounded / directly confirmed things, such as Z.W.E.I. or us getting back to the kids.

Fair enough, then I guess the question you ought to be asking yourself is, would these particular authors, while telling this particular story, introduce a major new character (who is one of the primary characters for this entry) whose entire premise is that he is scheming and manipulative svengali archetype, then give him the ability to see the future to assist in those manipulations....just to have all of that go absolutely nowhere in the final analysis? I would say the writing is on the wall as far as that is concerned--but if this debate were as simple as me pointing out the obvious past and present thematics that are governing this story to you, it would have been over six months ago. ;)
Crazy as it may be for you to believe, I actually would answer this question yes. Azwel is, at his core, a plot device that is being used to string all of these ridiculous stories from the legacy of SoulCalibur together into a cohesive narrative. If Azwel didn't exist, then it would have been far more difficult to accomplish this herculean task. It's not that it's "going nowhere", Azwel just simply exists as a means to an end. He is a thread that weaves all the fabrics together, much the same as the Aval Organization itself. Azwel is the one who holds the power, so he's the one causing the most impact. Grøh, by comparison, has amounted to a lot less, and remains a bit mysterious as to what his bigger picture ideal really is, unless he's doomed to guide our original characters through the Libra of Soul branch of the stories moving forward, which is a bit sad, really.

Edit: Using proper quotation formatting broke the formatting of the post and italicized everything after it. Stupid BBCode.
 
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TresDias

[10] Knight
Hellfire and damnation, you guys post fast. =(

Well, I'm going to go ahead and post my reply. Hopefully it's not irrelevant by now.

Also, I suspect Unbreakable Soul isn't canon, given that while it also ran with the idea of 'What happened to Cass post-IV?', it handled it in a different way. US was multiverse hopping while VI was timetravel.
The latter is usually one type of the former. It was also shown as such in "Unbreakable Soul," where Cassandra was able to be reunited with "her" sister (but not really her sister), as Sophitia was still alive in a world where the events of SCIV had not yet taken place.

I don't even think that we really disagree that the plot is moving in the same or a similar direction as it originally did, it's just our process of arriving at that conclusion is so different that we find each other at arms over it, but it seems fairly obvious to me that we're rooted in our ways of thinking and aren't likely to change this. That was the original topic, too, whether or not we would repeat history or create a new, different future, and so far, they seem determined to get us back to where we were rather than do something different, as I've laid out my reasoning many times.

They very well may take us back to where we were, but we would (or should) just call that what it is: a different timeline that went in a similar direction. When "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" established that Judgment Day couldn't be avoided, we didn't say that it was the same timeline as the original or that there was no difference in a timeline where Judgment Day happened in 1997, as it did originally, or happened in 2004 as it came to.

There are very consistent rules to it, as I've mentioned before, a major story beat needs to change, otherwise there's no significant divergence to the chain of causality to actually define it as a "new timeline". No-name NPCs who don't have the power to shape the world don't really qualify. It's not arbitrary, it's just that stems into butterfly effect territory that seriously doesn't apply unless a story is specifically employing that mechanic in its narrative, which SoulCalibur definitely does not seem to be doing.
Again, I'm only presenting this based on the story so far, and what has or hasn't mattered in the past.

The examples that you list in your second paragraph involve key players and yes, those things would actually matter and be different. If Sophitia is saved, that presents a major divergence. If Raphael is preserved from malfestation and doesn't become Nightmare, that presents a major divergence

What you're describing is the epitome of arbitrary, though.

"A major story beat"? "No-name NPCs who don't have the power to shape the world"? "Key players"? These are real-world considerations, Dante, not sensibilities native to the universe of the fictional setting. Just as in our universe, none of us are any more "important to the story" than one another, the same is true of anyone in SC from the cosmic perspective. The setting and its physics don't know they're part of a fictional narrative -- the universe isn't looking in on whether a baker's daughter is living or dead, then shedding its skin accordingly!

Again, where do these arbitrary lines begin and end? I've taken it as far as I can in the cosmic direction, but how about now in the other? Any of our Korean playable characters could die off at the beginning of the next game and no impact would be felt on the Siegfried-Nightmare-Tira-Zasalamel-Alexandra family story. Likewise with Setsuka. Arguably even with Mitsurugi. If everything else up through the end of SCV then played out the same without them (which it may as well have the first time), would that still be the same timeline?

The only consistent, objective rule is "any change is a difference." Anything else is just an infinitely expanding (or shrinking, measured in nanometers) non-model of subjective, speculative markers.

I'm aware that Before Crisis exists, but I'm not aware of things that actually call back to it or reference it in any meaningful way.

"Episode:Shin-Ra" of the "On the Way to A Smile" novella series features several appearances from Veld and the playable Turks from BC, along with explicit references to Elfé and the major events of BC. Meanwhile, "The Kids Are Alright" and "Advent Children Complete" reference the return of the BC Turks to working with Shin-Ra in the aftermath of Meteor.

Moat recently, the FFVII remake incorporates the larger organizational structure of Avalanche from BC, along with the uniforms worn by their operatives in that game.
 

DanteSC3

[14] Master
"A major story beat"? "No-name NPCs who don't have the power to shape the world"? "Key players"? These are real-world considerations, Dante, not sensibilities native to the universe of the fictional setting. Just as in our universe, none of us are any more "important to the story" than one another, the same is true of anyone in SC from the cosmic perspective. The setting and its physics don't know they're part of a fictional narrative -- the universe isn't looking in on whether a baker's daughter is living or dead, then shedding its skin accordingly.
I just don't know what I can say to hammer this point home. Fighting game stories are defined by the interactions between and of the main cast, not the nobodies that don't even have names. Sometimes minor characters who have names can contribute, but they still don't write the story. No-names absolutely do not, they are quite literally fodder. The ones who matter, for the terms of the story, are our named cast of playable characters. I don't find that concept to be alien or arbitrary in any respect.

Again, where do these arbitrary lines begin and end? I've taken it as far as I can in the cosmic direction, but how about now in the other? Any of our Korean playable characters could die off at the beginning of the next game and no impact would be felt on the Siegfried-Nightmare-Tira-Zasalamel-Alexandra family story. Likewise with Setsuka. Arguably even with Mitsurugi. If everything else up through the end of SCV then played out the same without them (which it may as well have the first time), would that still be the same timeline?
The Koreans are named and playable characters, so yes, of course they matter. If Hwang, Mi-na, or Yun-seong die, of course that's important and has impact, even if the core plot remains the same. That is actually a reputable point of divergence, because it's a story point that affects our main cast in a significant way. None of those things have happened though or are hinted to happen, though, so that's where I'm at with saying we haven't changed anything as of yet. Even Han-myeong, he would have a presence too, even if he was only ever a literal clone character in SoulBlade, he still has a pivotal role in the stories of the Koreans, so he matters. Random Korean foot soldiers, naval service members, or students of Seong Dojang? Not important in the slightest, in terms of the narrative.

The only consistent, objective rule is "any change is a difference." Anything else is just an infinitely expanding (or shrinking, measured in nanometers) non-model of subjective, speculative markers.
And I am contesting that with what I just said back to Rusted Blade in my last post, that a difference that is only a liberty taken to take our ridiculously convoluted and multi-layered ridiculous storytelling model of old SoulCalibur games and concatenate it into a single narrative as in SoulCalibur VI, those changes are not reflective to indicate a change to be a difference, but a change that makes the narrative work. You can say it's splitting hairs or is arbitrary, but I really do not see it that way. They either had to change some things or have a story that makes even less sense than it already does or doesn't in its current form, because the stories, word for word, as they were written prior to SoulCalibur VI, did not mesh well enough to just be taken wholesale and mushed together, such was the challenge of the SoulCalibur VI writers, to make it all work. All changes are not equal, and they have yet to make changes in the respects that actually move the story in a different direction or affect the lives of the cast of characters. They have planted seeds, but seeds alone do not produce fruit, that's what I'm getting at.

"Episode:Shin-Ra" of the "On the Way to A Smile" novella series features several appearances from Veld and the playable Turks from BC, along with explicit references to Elfé and the major events of BC. Meanwhile, "The Kids Are Alright" and "Advent Children Complete" reference the return of the BC Turks to working with Shin-Ra in the aftermath of Meteor.

Moat recently, the FFVII remake incorporates the larger organizational structure of Avalanche from BC, along with the uniforms worn by their operatives in that game.
I didn't read On the Way to A Smile, I've only heard about it, so I wasn't privy to the specifics, and I don't even know what The Kids Are Alright even is, but I don't recall anything specific about Advent Children Complete that references that. Unless it's super obscure and you'd only know if you know what transpired in Before Crisis, because the Turks are definitely in ACC, but it was Reno and Rude for most of it, and Elena and Tseng show up later on, but that's really mostly it, I'm not sure what you're referring to. I'm not saying you're wrong, either, that's interesting if they do go more into Turks stuff, but the Turks were pretty conspicuously absent from Dirge of Cerberus, so I wonder whether or not they even followed up on it or if it was just a nod?
 

Metroidwave

[06] Combatant
I just don't know what I can say to hammer this point home. Fighting game stories are defined by the interactions between and of the main cast, not the nobodies that don't even have names. Sometimes minor characters who have names can contribute, but they still don't write the story. No-names absolutely do not, they are quite literally fodder. The ones who matter, for the terms of the story, are our named cast of playable characters. I don't find that concept to be alien or arbitrary in any respect.
Feel I should point out, in SCII Amy was just a name in a backstory. Algol and Arturus were one-off names in a noncanon side mode.

Edit: Almost forgot Patrokolos and Pyrrha, who've been around since SCII and in V did write the story.
 
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DanteSC3

[14] Master
SCII Amy was just a name in a backstory
Not true, she was featured in the opening cinematic as well, where her appearances matches that of her first appearance here in SoulCalibur VI. But Amy would be an example of a named minor character who evolved into having a purpose relevant enough to become a main character. It would be more impressive if she was a no-name whomever like the dudes that Cassandra saved or the endless number of slain mooks, but that isn't the case.

Algol and Arturus were one-off names in a noncanon side mode.
Algol and Arcturus are also names of stars, though, and Algol in SoulCalibur II was just a location, having nothing to do with the Hero King, and I find it happenstance that there was another hero named Arcturus in a side mode, I have excessive doubts that the Arcturus of Weapon Master is one in the same for Algol's son, because Algol the character wasn't yet conceptualized.
 

Rusted Blade

[14] Master
I disagree with this sentiment. This is absolutely not what I'm doing or want. You saw this in my resignation that the debate could have finally been at rest with Setsuka truly branching out into a new history... except apparently it isn't, because she's still going to do her Mitsurugi revenge plot after all. I am not an immovable wall, I just have a higher expected burden of proof on the game than the rest of you, it seems. They seem duty-bound to ensure that the future events will play out the same, evidenced by the endings of literally every single Soul Chronicle in the game putting the pieces in play to where they would. And no one yet has acted in a way that will change those events, and they don't seem like they will until maybe SoulCalibur VII.
Yes, but your willingness to give up the ghost on whether your objections to terminology, is itself still predicated on your own arbitrary analysis of whether certain facts are important enough to be factored in. That's the issue with trying to have a debate about this subject where you won't embrace an objective standard like everyone else. With your Setsuka mistake, you've demonstrated that, yes, there are hypothetical scenarios in which you would drop the stick on the argument, but only where you have already made that determination under you own vague, idiosyncratic feelings, not based on any of the existing evidence which clearly already establishes the fact of a new timeline, as an objective and explicit matter.
If the only person who can convince Dante that this vaguely defined threshold has been passed is Dante, then what point is there for the rest of us to engage with Dante on the subject?

I didn't mean to assert that those two options were the only valid ones, I only provided two possible examples.
Yers, but literally every other thing that she does aside from the two things you have already identified as "sufficient" to make a "real, true" difference, you dismiss as "not a real, true difference; not sufficient". Again, that's the classical logical fallacy known as begging the question, and your entire argument rests on that false logic/subjective, arbitrary analysis. Cassandra's entire narrative in this game, literally everything she does from the moment she is confronted by her older self, are things that did not happen in the original narrative--she doesn't take up arms until years later in that narrative, which is part of how we know she didn't have that knowledge the first go-around (but I would argue that even if that weren't the case, your argument that this isn't really a new timeline story even though that is what is beign manifestly presented as would defy Ockham's Razor).

Video games in general do a lot of silly things with their stories.
Who said a closed time loop would be silly? From an internal storytelling logic perspective, what you propose would be much more logical. Tradional forking timeline stories have always been subject to all manner of paradoxes which the greatest minds of physics, phliosophy and formal logic have been unable to resolve, suggesting that even if time travel were a real physical possibility, it would probably follow closed-causality principles.

So the idea itself is not irrational. What is irrational is expecting those principles to govern here as an external matter regarding a fictional narrative and product. That is not the type of story that Soulcalibur has ever tried to be; it is tonally inconsistent with everything that's ever happened within the narrative of past games or the meta-presentation; it's not the type of story likely to be well-received; and (again, and most relevantly) the story now expressly tells us this is not what is happening--that in fact there are splintering timelines in this narrative, since at least Cassandra and Zasalamel have acted differently/been different people with different thoughts, since receiving their insights. That doesn't make your original closed-time loop concept a fundamentally silly concept itself--it merely makes it silly for you to believe that's what is going on here, despite all context and some indisputable evidence telling you otherwise. :)

There's nothing that says it couldn't be ironic with all of those silly over-the-top platitudes being an exercise in futility.
Indeed not, which as I'm sure you will recall, is something I said myself previously in this discussion: it would be something of a clever subversion. But it just strains credulity to believe that this whole franchise from herein is being positioned to be an artistic statement about ontological determinism, especially given the context: the writers in question, the existing story, the audience, and now the express events of the story itself which clearly disallow that all actions are invariably fixed in the retelling--which is a per se logical predicate for asserting the close causality loop in the first place.

Those differences are not significant in and of themselves to change the narrative, however. I do not dismiss the differences like they don't exist, my point is that the differences don't actually change anything of value and thus don't matter.
Ai....yai....yai....

I am not doing this for any of the logical fallacies you cited above, at least not consciously. I am remaining consistent, in the standard for altering history means that major plot beats are changed, major characters live or die, or otherwise have their lives altered in a significant way (like I've just mentioned, if something intervenes to prevent Raphael and Amy from becoming malfested, for example). I really am baffled that this is not understood. I find it extremely likely that SoulCalibur VII will actually do this, but it is a factual matter that SoulCalibur VI did not, and it seems like it will not in the future DLC.
Fine, but we've been down this road several times before, and I for one have told you at least a half dozen times that I think we can agree that the writers will do the easy thing and return to the same plot beats again and again. Of course they will. But that doesn't make your original full-throated assertion that it's unreasonable for anyone to call this new story a different timeline any more secure, now that we've seen indisputable proof within the story that this it is in fact a new timeline. Nevermind that we can all agree that, given the nature of the story and these particular writers, they are certain to recycle many parts of the story (whether that makes sense from a causality standpoint or not).

And that's really the elephant in the room here, isn't it? You kinda picked a fight with Nyte over a highly pedantic, kinda trivial point of nomenclature, and now that the facts have changed in a way that kinda means you should eat some crow over that, you're instead using an arbitrary standard to dismiss said evidence so you don't have to face the consequences of that pedantry. And hey, I think we can all appreciate that context: having to admit you were wrong and Nyte was right, no matter how small the battleground, can't be a good feeling. ;) I mean, I don't personally know (it's never happened to me), but I can only imagine. ( Kappa / :D / bwahahaha!). But you gotta let this one go, if you ask me. Because you were just categorically wrong about that narrow question, and all the walls of text and subjective dissembling about "major vs. minor differences" isn't going to change the core analysis here. And at this point it just makes you look obstinate and intractable on a subject once you have your druthers up.

I would argue that this story did exactly "what <I> wanted it to do" if we're defining that as "turned back time to give SoulCalibur V a second chance at existing, because it would have been illogical and poorly received if after six years, the game we got was a remake / definitive edition of arguably the worst received game in the entire series" because that's exactly what SoulCalibur VI is. It contains within it the possibility that the future may change, but they remain absolutely hesitant to do so, going so far as to frame every story where the previous games can also be retold without a hitch.
I don't know what could be considered less "hesitant" about displaying one's intention to retell the reboot somewhat differently than the decision to throw in actual timetravelers going back to try to change the past...

And I'm not arguing that SoulCalibur V wasn't a trainwreck, but I also believe that it wasn't given its fair shake, either, released in the terrible state that it was. So, rather than repeat history exactly as was done before, they're taking what was one of the better parts of SoulCalibur V, the idea of creating one unified canon story, and retroactively applying it to the games that have come before it, to form a cohesive narrative, to build up to where we were, but better this time, and actually do things the way it should have been done before it.
We all understand your priorities and why this notion appeals to you. Some of us might even share your preferences in some respects. What we don't understand is why you still think this is on the table.

Crazy as it may be for you to believe, I actually would answer this question yes. Azwel is, at his core, a plot device that is being used to string all of these ridiculous stories from the legacy of SoulCalibur together into a cohesive narrative. If Azwel didn't exist, then it would have been far more difficult to accomplish this herculean task. It's not that it's "going nowhere", Azwel just simply exists as a means to an end. He is a thread that weaves all the fabrics together, much the same as the Aval Organization itself. Azwel is the one who holds the power, so he's the one causing the most impact. Grøh, by comparison, has amounted to a lot less, and remains a bit mysterious as to what his bigger picture ideal really is, unless he's doomed to guide our original characters through the Libra of Soul branch of the stories moving forward, which is a bit sad, really.
Yeah, but Azwel could serve all of those roles without having the ability to divine the future. There's just no reason to add that capability as an element of the story for a villain whose primary character trait is scheming, if ultimately it turns out everything is pre-destined anyway and those visions are just a joke to which he is the punchline. Or at least, there's no reasons to do so that I can imagine are actually the ones which governed those story choices.

But there's the nature of why I was so vehement against this topic from the onset, because Nyte is the embodiment of SoulCalibur V should be erased from history, and so his agenda for the timeline divergence is to prevent SoulCalibur V from happening again. That's what I wholeheartedly stand against, and the game agrees with me, or else it wouldn't have alluded to Raphael becoming Nightmare and Amy becoming Viola, to say nothing of other potential less grounded / directly confirmed things, such as Z.W.E.I. or us getting back to the kids.
Oh, I would have saved my Nyte commentary if I knew you were converging on that aspect of the debate yourself. Ok, yeah, I get it. And of course his arguments were no better or more rational than yours: I didn't even see all of them and I feel confident saying your argument was certainly better organized and more based in an interpretation of evidence than in gut feelings.

But it doesn't matter what Nyte's larger objectives/reasons were when you guys engaged on the question of what to label this new narrative. It doesn't matter even if we all agreed that he fell ass-backwards into being right and you trundled into being wrong following a lot of evidence that seemed fairly solid to you at the time. The fact of the matter is, in light of further revelations, he was in fact right that this new narrative is better described as a very similar parallel timeline, rather than a more fleshed-out retelling of the exact same events. You're just going to have to live with that and try to divorce that one loss, on a very narrow rhetorical point, from the larger debate.

Because if the larger question is whether or not it is histrionic to call SCV a travesty and to assert that PS are trying to erase every single element of it from ever impacting the future of the franchise again, I'm absolutely on your side. That game is far from "100% trash", and its characters and themes are almost certain to have substantial impact on the future design and story of the franchise. Nyte's underlying/broader argument was all kinds of flawed. And knowing him, I'm sure he only opened the thread to hear people agree with him absolutely and flip out any time anything but exactly that happened. And I'm sure he would have been equally unreasonable, regardless of the "timeline" question.

But you can't let his mode of debate drive you to your own rhetorical extremes, especially long after Nyte himself is gone. If the larger question is whether we can expect PS to recycle substantial elements of SCV, that's a point you should be able to get broad support for from rational observers of the content that is this series of video games and all indications from this most recent one in particular. But you're instead picking a battle on a much narrower point that is sabotaging the larger one, because those of us remaining here just can't follow you down that rabbit hole on that smaller point, in light of present evidence.
 
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TresDias

[10] Knight
A core of their tragic future stems from Pyrrha and Patroklos, so preventing their existence would definitely be a short solution to their troubles, but I guess that would be too easy?
Too selfish and malicious more like. D=

I just don't know what I can say to hammer this point home. Fighting game stories are defined by the interactions between and of the main cast, not the nobodies that don't even have names. Sometimes minor characters who have names can contribute, but they still don't write the story. No-names absolutely do not, they are quite literally fodder. The ones who matter, for the terms of the story, are our named cast of playable characters. I don't find that concept to be alien or arbitrary in any respect.

...

The Koreans are named and playable characters, so yes, of course they matter. If Hwang, Mi-na, or Yun-seong die, of course that's important and has impact, even if the core plot remains the same. That is actually a reputable point of divergence, because it's a story point that affects our main cast in a significant way. None of those things have happened though or are hinted to happen, though, so that's where I'm at with saying we haven't changed anything as of yet. Even Han-myeong, he would have a presence too, even if he was only ever a literal clone character in SoulBlade, he still has a pivotal role in the stories of the Koreans, so he matters. Random Korean foot soldiers, naval service members, or students of Seong Dojang? Not important in the slightest, in terms of the narrative.

A universe is not a "narrative," though, and that's not how a Watsonian/in-universe assessment of a fictional work treats its universe or that universe's inhabitants. When we're discussing whether an alternate timeline has emerged in a work of fiction, we're discussing the reality in which the work exists as we would discuss our own: from the perspective of its inhabitants.

Just as if we were discussing an alternate timeline from ours in reality, we would consider it as filled with living, breathing people, and would regard the slightest difference between these realities as constituting genuinely different places.

Dante said:
They either had to change some things or have a story that makes even less sense than it already does or doesn't in its current form, because the stories, word for word, as they were written prior to SoulCalibur VI, did not mesh well enough to just be taken wholesale and mushed together, such was the challenge of the SoulCalibur VI writers, to make it all work.

Why would this call for changing Zasalamel's motivations and objectives -- especially given his original motivations and objectives are acknowledged, contrasted with, and openly said to have changed?

Yeah, but Azwel could serve all of those roles without having the ability to divine the future. There's just no reason to add that element as an element of the story for a villain whose primary character trait is scheming, if ultimately it turns out everything is pre-destined anyway and those visions are just a joke to which he is the punchline. Or at least, there's no reason that I can imagine are actually the ones which govern those story choices.

On Azwel, I agree with Dante that we're meant to understand that he was always involved.
 

sytus

[14] Master
Guys I think it's worth mentioning that the official cannon in the Soul Calibur universe isn't fully fleshed out and I had that indirectly told to me by Hideo Yoshie when I was asking about the specifics in the timeline. While it's great to speculate, it's best not to think too hard on the specifics because they're most likely not even there.

Soul Calibur Cannon.png Soul Calibur Cannon Timelines.png
 

DanteSC3

[14] Master
If the only person who can convince Dante that this vaguely defined threshold has been passed is Dante, then what point is there for the rest of us to engage with Dante on the subject?
I don't feel that way, though I can see I guess how you'd come to that conclusion. I also take issue with "vaguely defined", as I feel I've defined it quite clearly, several times, over the duration of this thread. I've even said as much in recent posts, my qualifications to identify this as a changed timeline.

Cassandra's entire narrative in this game, literally everything she does from the moment she is confronted by her older self, are things that did not happen in the original narrative--she doesn't take up arms until years later in that narrative, which is part of how we know she didn't have that knowledge the first go-around (but I would argue that even if that weren't the case, your argument that this isn't really a new timeline story even though that is what is being manifestly presented as would defy Occam's Razor).
Unless you take the stance, as I have, that we are in a closed loop timeline scenario, as with Azwel, that this did, in fact, happen originally, we just weren't privy to it. Cassandra always did have a pretty firm hatred for the swords, not just Soul Edge, but also Soul Calibur, while practically everyone else always saw them as pure evil and pure good, for better or for worse. The idea that Cassandra served as a threat to the two swords causing the Astral Chaos to swallow her up as an act of self-preservation isn't insane. Cassandra's early romp could potentially cause a manner of disorder to things if she channels her Divine Force powers in some sort of story-relevant way, but as of yet, she hasn't done this. It's a "we'll see" situation, for now.

closed time loop / silliness
If we take Cassandra's vow of silence and secrecy to herself as an absolute, and she never resolves herself to act until it's too late (and she gets sucked up by Astral Chaos when she makes her attempt), then current Cassandra could absolutely be the same Cassandra we've already seen in a closed time loop scenario. As for Zasalamel, his is the hardest to disprove, as I'm sure you've gathered from my thoughts here and there and everywhere. Zasalamel himself is an enigma, however, a psuedo-time-lord who is capable of reincarnating (and apparently not reincarnating, and he figures this out sometime after SoulCalibur III), and he may have fits with trying to break the closed time loop despite his powers, or maybe not even he understands fully the situation that we find ourselves in. Zasalamel's new motivation could, for the sake of argument, turn back to wanting to die again if his attempt to cultivate humanity fails. And maybe it is the failed ritual of death that led to Abyss / Night Terror that teaches him how to keep his current body forever instead of reincarnating, but these are answers for our future selves to maybe find out.

As far as historical / what SoulCalibur has ever tried to be, they were clearly trying to change things up in a new direction with SoulCalibur V, but that didn't work out because the game wasn't finished. SoulCalibur VI is also in itself also doing a new thing in its "reboot" narrative, this is itself a new paradigm and a justifiable cause to believe that they are again trying something new. Maybe they're more clever than we're giving them credit for and they really are pulling the wool over everyone's eyes and I'm the only one who sees through the ruse? Time will tell. (I'm not being totally serious here.)

I don't know what could be considered less "hesitant" about displaying one's intention to retell the reboot somewhat differently than the decision to throw in actual time travelers going back to try to change the past...
Unless we are in a closed-loop scenario and those time travelers are acting in vain, of course. But my particular "hesitant" here is referring to SoulCalibur VI itself refusing to make major changes, keeping us on the hook for a sequel, keeping the possibilities open that they could just do the same things and none of the time travel stuff is having an effect, but it could, but it could not, but it could, but it could not... it's upsetting to see their waffling. Pick a path and walk it, this wishy-washy stuff is just always annoying.

We all understand your priorities and why this notion appeals to you. Some of us might even share your preferences in some respects. What we don't understand is why you still think this is on the table.
Because every story has threads that lead into SoulCalibur II, III, IV, and V? If we were set on a course to avoid that fate, then they wouldn't have done this.

TLDR: How about we call it an "extremely close parallel timeline that, as best we can tell, demonstrates little to no divergence for most characters and purposes, so far." ?
I mean, that more or less sums up my points and my position. It's not so grand a difference to say we're on a totally different paradigm, at least not yet. Though the biggest unanswered question, for me at least, is what exact model of timeline we're using here. If there is only one observable line at any given time, or if different parallel lines are even possible to coexist on an observable level.

Too selfish and malicious more like. D=
I guess my slightly altered perception of humanity that thinks that would be fine is to blame for considering it a valid solution, I dunno. Selfish, maybe, but malicious, definitely not. "For the greater good" bears no malice. It's a less desirable action, but if it prevents other problems, could be worth it.

A universe is not a "narrative," though, and that's not how a Watsonian/in-universe assessment of a fictional work treats its universe or that universe's inhabitants. When we're discussing whether an alternate timeline has emerged in a work of fiction, we're discussing the reality in which the work exists as we would discuss our own: from the perspective of its inhabitants.

Just as if we were discussing an alternate timeline from ours in reality, we would consider it as filled with living, breathing people, and would regard the slightest difference between these realities as constituting genuinely different places.
It again ultimately depends on the timeline model being used. If you're traveling into the past, you alter the past, and it destroys your old future, as opposed to creating a new future that exists on a parallel line, then it's a different scenario. It's important because so far, we've only seen people travel into the past, not the future. The possibility may not be able to exist, if that's the case. And if it is a closed time loop determined by fate, and those involved are doomed to repeat it endlessly ("eternally retold"), then while they may appear to be doing this, it could still be that nothing they do matters and they're always going to be in this loop, no matter what happens. The apparent will of the universe pushing everyone to their same futures despite the new actions and/or things sent into the past seem to make this a possibility.

Why would this call for changing Zasalamel's motivations and objectives -- especially given his original motivations and objectives are acknowledged, contrasted with, and openly said to have changed?
It could be exemplifying the exercise in futility. He might have different goals, but the outcome is the same, because he's imprisoned by fate.
 

Metroidwave

[06] Combatant
It could be exemplifying the exercise in futility. He might have different goals, but the outcome is the same, because he's imprisoned by fate.
Genuine question. Has fate, a truly inescapable fate through prophecy or other methods ever been a thing in the series? Cuz I'm drawing a blank. This series doesn't seem to really use predestination to any degree.
 

DanteSC3

[14] Master
Genuine question. Has fate, a truly inescapable fate through prophecy or other methods ever been a thing in the series? Cuz I'm drawing a blank. This series doesn't seem to really use predestination to any degree.
Aside from maybe looking at Viola's cryptic fortune telling, not especially. Azwel has this ability too, since the Quattuor Orbis was revealed to be his originally in SoulCalibur VI. Otherwise, there's a bunch of dialogue lines by the narrator and some characters about fighting fate and destiny, as we touched on not long ago, but...

I think it's worth mentioning that literally every SoulCalibur VI promotional video has started with the line: "Perhaps it was fate..." It may have been a somewhat subliminal message that's been speaking to us the entire time, if I'm lighting up all my conspiracy theory light bulbs and coiling the tin foil hats.

But other lines from SoulCalibur VI that might be of note:

Grøh to Kilik: "Try to resist... your inevitable fate." -> "Rot away. Your fate is decided."
Zasalamel to Siegfried, Kilik, or himself: "Fate was too much of a burden for you."
 

TresDias

[10] Knight
Guys I think it's worth mentioning that the official cannon in the Soul Calibur universe isn't fully fleshed out and I had that indirectly told to me by Hideo Yoshie when I was asking about the specifics in the timeline. While it's great to speculate, it's best not to think too hard on the specifics because they're most likely not even there.

View attachment 78110 View attachment 78109
Well, "there are multiple timelines in Soulcalibur" definitively answers the multiverse question.
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If we take Cassandra's vow of silence and secrecy to herself as an absolute, and she never resolves herself to act until it's too late (and she gets sucked up by Astral Chaos when she makes her attempt), then current Cassandra could absolutely be the same Cassandra we've already seen in a closed time loop scenario.
Our current Cassandra couldn't be the same because our previous Cassandra never went on this initial quest. She could certainly end up in the same place as the other Cassandra, but if there is going to be a time loop in play here, it hasn't yet become a stable one where there are no variations from round to round and the people involved are literally the same people, memory for memory, thought for thought, and action for action.

Even if that's where we end up going, though, we'll still be looking at one line of time that ran from "Soul Edge" through SCV and then a separate line of time with its own distinct specifics perpetually looping back on itself. The prior line will never be affected by this, nor contain events like Cassandra's new inaugural expedition, Zasalamel's 1590 epiphany, and whatever specific thoughts and actions stem from these newly introduced variables.

I mean, that more or less sums up my points and my position. It's not so grand a difference to say we're on a totally different paradigm, at least not yet.

Okay, well that's not an objectionable position to hold. A separate timeline (what I've been identifying) doesn't automatically entail a different destination (what Nyte was insisting).

I guess my slightly altered perception of humanity that thinks that would be fine is to blame for considering it a valid solution, I dunno. Selfish, maybe, but malicious, definitely not. "For the greater good" bears no malice. It's a less desirable action, but if it prevents other problems, could be worth it.

But Cass has no reason to believe that preventing her own sister's children from being born is for the greater good. Saving Sophitia is a desirable goal, and inarguably a good one, but it isn't necessarily the most important one -- certainly not to the extent of treating the children's demise as inherently preferable.
 
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