Soul Calibur VI: General discussion

DanteSC3

[14] Master
The only other art would be like this type but in the highest resolution and also just the backing emblem like has been released for other characters.

I don't believe they've released fully high resolution versions for Amy and Cassandra, however.
 

sytus

[13] Hero
To give an example of what gallery art is missing when it comes to the DLC characters it will be in a similar vain as these. There's definitely stuff missing for Amy and Cassandra but I don't know if there is any for 2B.

sc6_ch_035.pngsc6_ch_036.pngsc6_ot_035.pngsc6_ot_036.png
 

Nyte

Fu-ma's Shadow
So actually having a look at the SteamDB items, do you think the new entry could be a premature confirmation of a season 3? It's totally offset, the AppID:







The DLC7-DLC14 will probably be jumbled up, looking at the first season pass, but there's definitely enough slots for it. If it was, for whatever reason, some kind of extra free bonus, it's maybe a little odd that the number is after the season pass numbers, though if it wasn't planned, and a surprise just added, it could still be whatever. It's probably not related to the second season pass, though, if the numbers amount to anything.
I find it hard to believe that's for a Season 3. Mainly because they haven't even finished making Season 2 yet. Remember, it was only made after SCVI's success. I'm sure they have all of S2 planned, but they still have to program everything and test it all out.

My biggest hope? A good schedule with clear communication.
 

Crash X

[13] Hero
How would you feel if they threw in Lizardman as a free bonus DLC character, like Shizumaru Hisame in Samurai Shodown? That would be pretty cool.
I think quite a few have been hoping for that since his fighting style is already in the game.
 

FluffyQuack

[14] Master
I have done... science!

A couple of pages ago we talked a bit about the SoulCalibur Legends artwork, which is only available in low resolution.

Here's an example of that artwork:
Mitsurugi.png


It's low resolution and it has a low colour depth (less than 256 colours). Can this be fixed!? Yes! With our good old friend, Skynet! He's also known as ESRGAN, which stands for Enhanced Super-Resolution Generative Adversarial Networks. It's a program for upscaling pictures using models created from AI-learning so it has a good idea of how everything should look at a higher resolution.

So, first of all, I used a model called "dedither" to increase the colour depth, and then I used a model created called "cartoon" (as you can guess, it's made by using images from cartoons) to upscale the image.

And voila:
Mitsurugi_rlt_rlt.png
Wow it's so tiny! Okay, you need to click to view the full version as it's actually huuuge.

A little bit blurry when viewed at full resolution, but it does an okay job to upscale it. But can it be even better!?!?!

I've wanted to learn how to train models for ESRGAN, so I did just that. I collected a bunch of high-resolution artwork (from SC2, 3, 4, and 5) made by Kawano (the lead illustrator for SC since SC2) and started training a model using that data. After 48 hours of training (yes, it's a very slow process, and you can let it keep training as long as you want, the longer the better the end result), I figured it was about time to test the capabilities of the model.

And here's the same Mitsurugi picture using my SoulCalibur upscaling model:
Mitsurugi_rlt_rlt.png

Aaaand it looks... okay-ish? Maybe slightly better than the other model? Okay, the result of this wasn't as groundbreaking as I had hoped. I think one problem is that I trained the model using official character illustrations which has this sketch-like quality when you see it at high resolution, but I think the in-game Legends artwork is supposed to look very clean and very smooth.

But!! It turns out the model works amazingly well for upscaling some other artwork. Here's some SC2 and SC3 artwork from the SC6 gallery (which is only available in low resolution in the game itself, and finding high-resolution artwork from these games is extremely hard in general):
sc2_ch_005_rlt.pngsc2_ch_006_rlt.pngsc2_ch_033_rlt.pngsc2_ch_037_rlt.pngsc3_ch_005_rlt.pngsc3_ch_025_rlt.pngsc3_ch_027_rlt.pngsc3_ch_028_rlt.png

For reference, here are the same images in the resolution they were upscaled from:
sc2_ch_005.pngsc2_ch_006.pngsc2_ch_033.pngsc2_ch_037.pngsc3_ch_005.pngsc3_ch_025.pngsc3_ch_027.pngsc3_ch_028.png

All of those I think ended up looking extremely good. You might think the SC2 artwork looks a bit weird with its blurry details but super sharp edges, but that's actually how it's supposed to look at high resolution. Here's an example of SC2 artwork at high resolution (not upscaled. this is a promotional asset released for SC2 back in the day):
RAPHAEL0.jpg

And for the sake of reference, here's one high-resolution image from SC3 (again, this is official promotional artwork which is available at high resolution):
SC32D1_tira_copy.jpg

Right now the model gets skin colour a bit wrong now and then (it's very obvious in the SC3 Cassandra picture), so I think I'll let the training run a bit longer to see if it can improve colour accuracy, but otherwise, I think the model is as good as it will get.

I don't really have a proper end goal in mind with this, but I guess I could upload random SC artwork upscaled from the SC6 gallery if people want it.
 
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Rusted Blade

[10] Knight
I think quite a few have been hoping for that since his fighting style is already in the game.
I'd be surprised to see any character with their own style ever given away as a freebie, regardless of whether the foundation for their moveset was already complete at the point of the main game's launch. If we're getting Lizardman as a playable, fully developed character, I'd say its almost certainly in a season pass.

But, to answer Nyte's question, I'd be pretty psyched about it: things like that buy a lot of fan loyalty, I feel, but given the budget and development constraints this game labours under, I very much doubt PS can get Namco to greenlight anything beyond what they are already doing (the occasional free CaS item, possibly the new stages, and who knows, maybe Edge Master as a mimic at some point) as a freebie. Contrary to the assessment that "the game clearly is selling really well, since they authorized a second season pass", I don't think we can really be certain of this. Namco made some vague statements back in the first quarter suggesting that the game was selling well (relative to whatever metric they were using/pre-release target projection they were aiming for), but the company has a vested interest in playing up its level of satisfaction with sales. The reality is that the best data we have suggests the game's lifetime sales will probably not much exceed SCV's 1.5 million.

All of that considered, one might well ask "Well, isn't the second season itself an indication that the sales, lackluster as they might be compared against the more successful fighters, are at least sufficient (relative to the game's budget) to justify further investment?" And I think the answer to that question is yes and no. I think the real motivation here is that Namco is now seizing every opportunity it can get to normalize season passes as the status quo for its fighters--this has long been an objective of developers and publishers (particularly in the fighting genre) who do not have enough market share to offset the spiraling costs of production relative to a fixed cost for the base game, but consumers have pushed back against it (sometimes for good cause, but more frequently from a poorly reasoned sense of entitlement, and to their own detriment, imo). Now Namco (and other devs) see their moment and really want to set up this new continuing support purchase model, so that they can start making their fighters as big as they used to be (or indeed, bigger) while being able to scale the price they ask for all of that content.

So it would probably make sense for Namco to support a second and third season for Soulcalibur even with it's at-best-moderate sales, just to give more push to establishing this as the new standard content model. But on top of that, there's also the fact that they can actually make a potentially much larger profit--relative to the amount of work/resources put into the amount of content--from DLC than they do from the base game (though it depends on their meeting a certain sales threshold). So there's that too. But I don't think sales have been so stellar on any element of the game that they are likely to just start giving away full characters, with complete movesets: such content represents a substantial commitment of resources in a 3D fighter, and I don't see them given that away. I still hold out hope for Edge Master as a freebie, however. Surely someone on the team must have floated the idea at some point in the last two and half years.
 

Nyte

Fu-ma's Shadow
I'd be surprised to see any character with their own style ever given away as a freebie, regardless of whether the foundation for their moveset was already complete at the point of the main game's launch. If we're getting Lizardman as a playable, fully developed character, I'd say its almost certainly in a season pass.

But, to answer Nyte's question, I'd be pretty psyched about it: things like that buy a lot of fan loyalty, I feel, but given the budget and development constraints this game labours under, I very much doubt PS can get Namco to greenlight anything beyond what they are already doing (the occasional free CaS item, possibly the new stages, and who knows, maybe Edge Master as a mimic at some point) as a freebie. Contrary to the assessment that "the game clearly is selling really well, since they authorized a second season pass", I don't think we can really be certain of this. Namco made some vague statements back in the first quarter suggesting that the game was selling well (relative to whatever metric they were using/pre-release target projection they were aiming for), but the company has a vested interest in playing up its level of satisfaction with sales. The reality is that the best data we have suggests the game's lifetime sales will probably not much exceed SCV's 1.5 million.

All of that considered, one might well ask "Well, isn't the second season itself an indication that the sales, lackluster as they might be compared against the more successful fighters, are at least sufficient (relative to the game's budget) to justify further investment?" And I think the answer to that question is yes and no. I think the real motivation here is that Namco is now seizing every opportunity it can get to normalize season passes as the status quo for its fighters--this has long been an objective of developers and publishers (particularly in the fighting genre) who do not have enough market share to offset the spiraling costs of production relative to a fixed cost for the base game, but consumers have pushed back against it (sometimes for good cause, but more frequently from a poorly reasoned sense of entitlement, and to their own detriment, imo). Now Namco (and other devs) see their moment and really want to set up this new continuing support purchase model, so that they can start making their fighters as big as they used to be (or indeed, bigger) while being able to scale the price they ask for all of that content.

So it would probably make sense for Namco to support a second and third season for Soulcalibur even with it's at-best-moderate sales, just to give more push to establishing this as the new standard content model. But on top of that, there's also the fact that they can actually make a potentially much larger profit--relative to the amount of work/resources put into the amount of content--from DLC than they do from the base game (though it depends on their meeting a certain sales threshold). So there's that too. But I don't think sales have been so stellar on any element of the game that they are likely to just start giving away full characters, with complete movesets: such content represents a substantial commitment of resources in a 3D fighter, and I don't see them given that away. I still hold out hope for Edge Master as a freebie, however. Surely someone on the team must have floated the idea at some point in the last two and half years.
What do you mean? The sales have been reported as being better than SCV. Plus there’s digital. I estimate that physical and digital combined the sales are somewhere from 1.5 to 2.
 

mokamoka827

[13] Hero
As cool as it would be, Lizardman being free isn't at all realistic. What moves of his that are in the game make up around a fraction of a full proper moveset, so they'd still need to complete his moveset which takes too much time and money to be a free character. If we ever get a free character, I feel like Edgemaster's the only likely candidate, unless they decide to de-mimic him for some reason.
 

Rusted Blade

[10] Knight
What do you mean? The sales have been reported as being better than SCV. Plus there’s digital. I estimate that physical and digital combined the sales are somewhere from 1.5 to 2.
What are you basing that estimate on? Because if this game had already sold 2 million units, I guarantee you, Namco would not be keeping their hat on that information: it would constitute a runaway success for a game of its profile: not even Tekken 7 (from Namco's vastly more popular and lucrative franchise) sold 2 million in 10 months. As to the sales of SCVI being reported as better than SCV, that's not technically true: as I said in the previous post, all we know with certainty is that Namco claims to have been happy with the first quarter sales. Which, A) companies always put a rosey spin on sales, and one should be especially skeptical about those assertions when the company doesn't also decide to disclose the actual sales figures, and B) even if that sentiment was more or less genuine, those reports come from the first quarter, after which sales can (and typically do) fall off precipitously for most games.

Now, while we don't have official figures, there are analyst sites that attempt to create projections based on indirect marketplace data. The best case scenario (highest sales) projection that I could find in that regard suggests maybe 1.2-1.3 million in sales. Which if accurate would put it on track to overtake SCV during its lifetime sales, but just barely (for most games, very few sales take place after the first year). This would seem to be more or less consistent with the rather lackluster level of activity we see for the game on all the platforms it has bee released for. Sadly, I think the notion that SCVI completely "revitalized" the series is more myth than fact--a story the community fabricated for itself based on one piece of positive spin put out two months after the game released (which is presumably precisely why Namco publicized the information to begin with, to help drive the idea of the game as a success, to drive sales). Beyond all of that, even if the game had significantly outsold SCV, it still wouldn't necessarily mean much, given V was a commercial flop.

Mind you, I'm not saying that SCVI is a failure, but rather that it was only a marginal success. I think most vets are in agreement that it is an improvement, in many (but certainly not all) respects, over SCV. So it has probably helped improve the franchise's standing in the genre, and it could very well be the beginning of the series clawing its way back up to prominence. And actually, the continuing support/season pass model may draw out the lifetime sales some--it's hard to say, since this kind of truly long-term continuing support sales model is somewhat uncharted territory for this part of the industry. All I'm saying is that I think we can attribute the decision to go with two (and indeed, I suspect eventually three) season passes for this game has to do with factors that go beyond this one game, and the existence of season two does not indicate in itself that SCVI was a runaway success. In fact, in some respects, I would say it's almost the opposite: Namco is doing the continuing support model because it knows (and like all other fighter publishers, has known for a good long while) that it can't continue to stay truly profitable on this type of game based just on the sales of the base product, which has a locked pricepoint.
 
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Nyte

Fu-ma's Shadow
It was an estimate. We know that the physical sales of the three versions are somewhere above 1 million and digital is absolutely massive nowadays. Also, it was reported to have sold better than SCV, Namco spoke positively of the sales, and Okubo confirmed we only have S2 because it sold well enough.

Anyways, Samurai Shodown is a smaller game and has a much better Season Pass. That's funny, and why I think SC could learn something from it.