The Soul Calibur franchise is famed for its fluid combat and pixel-perfect mechanics... but since the second game, it has become (in)famous for its platform-exclusive guest characters. We've had Todd McFarlane's Spawn, Tekken's Heihachi Mishima, Nintendo's Link and even the Star Wars crew getting involved in the eternally-retold tale of souls and swords.
We know that a new Soul Calibur is in development, and naturally, one of the biggest questions is who'll be bulking out the roster this time! Project Soul have got videogames, films and even comics from which to pluck their characters, so without further ado, here are the top ten heroes we'd love to see in the next game.
You might be surprised by some of the choices.
This one's a bit unlikely, what with the God Of War already starring in the PSP version of Soul Calibur and turning up in Mortal Kombat. But you'd better believe that Project Soul are thinking about it signing him again. His varied arsenal, brute strength and surprising speed make Kratos an unstoppable force of bloodthirsty horror, as well as a perfect fit for fighting games.
Plus, let's face it, PS3 fanboys would have thrown a right old tantrum if I hadn't put him in the list. Moving on... to another fan favourite.
9: Master Chief
Sigh. You knew this was going to happen at some point, so let's get the big green galoot out of the way early. Bungie created a whole new female Spartan for the Dead Or Alive series, but we reckon that 343 Industries wouldn't be above pimping out their favourite cash cow for some more exposure. We've had anime shorts, Marvel comics... so why not a cameo?
The idea of wielding a plasma sword and Hunter shield sounds pretty good to us, actually.
8: Darth Maul
Yes, we know that Star Wars has already been done. But it hasn't been done properly. Darth Vader is slow and ponderous, Yoda is a cheap little sod and The Apprentice is instantly forgettable despite his cackhanded fighting style. If only there was a Star Wars character who wielded a unique double-bladed weapon... and blended his strikes with balletic and fluid movements.
Wait, what? Darth Maul does exactly that? Well then, it's time for a mulligan.
7: Jack Cayman
The psychopathic and charismatic star of MadWorld has a retractable chainsaw on his arm.
6: Alex Mercer
Alex Mercer is boring as all hell. But the star of Prototype is also capable of manifesting massive blades, armour, spikes and spines at will to crush, slice and cleave his enemies with.
Put your irrational hatred for Prototype aside and actually think about it for a second. Mercer would play like a cross between Necrid, Nightmare and Ivy; switching between combat styles on the fly and surprising foes with unpredictable new weapons at every turn. You know it makes sense.
5: All Those Androgynous, Whiny Final Fantasy Characters With Terrible Hair And Inexplicably Ridiculous Swords
We love Dissidia. We really do. But in our heart of hearts, we really want to see them on a big screen in HD. It'd be a major coup, and frankly, we'd love to see Cloud, Squall, Sephiroth and even that Blitzball-playing d-bag from Final Fantasy X face off in the arena of champions. They've all got terrible hair, whiny personalities and massive swords that'd do some serious damage in combat.
Don't bother with FFIX's Zidane, though. Stick in Steiner instead. He's an utter legend... and he's got one hell of a sword.
4: Travis Touchdown
Looking for an exclusive character for the Wii version? Look no further. Travis is obsessed with leaving his everyday life behind and becoming the world's best hitman - and whilst he's a master of the Beam Katana, there's no doubt that Soul Edge would give him the boost he needs to be ranked number one.
He's got the blade. He's got the style. He's got the one-liners. And he's got the blisteringly-fast techniques and fluid strokes to leave his foes in his dust.
3: Afro Samurai
When you're on the trail of the #1 headband, you might as well take some time out to search for the ultimate sword. Takashi Okazaki's seminal manga and anime spawned one of the darkest and most memorable animated sagas of recent memory as well as some visually-striking and immensely powerful combatants. The titular stylish Samurai and his psychotic childhood friend Jinno would be a no-brainer for the next Soul Calibur... and there are plenty of arenas to choose out of the myriad beautiful backdrops that the anime has to offer.
This is something we want. Make it happen, Project Soul!
2: The Dishwasher & Yuki
The Dishwasher 2 contains the most fluid, brutal and visceral combat to have arguably ever graced a videogame; and as an XBLA-exclusive, its two psychopathic protagonists are a perfect fit for the Xbox 360 version of Soul Calibur. The Dishwasher is adept at fast and furious swordplay, grabs and horrific finishers - whilst Yuki's more than capable of wielding a massive syringe that's bigger than her entire body. And she bites people's heads clean off.
Okay, maybe they'd be a better fit for Mortal Kombat. Nonetheless, we want to see Jason Silva's horrendous creations literally rip the smug smile from Kilik's face... and impale him on his own staff.
1: Scott Pilgrim
Soul Calibur's roster already contains a bunch of aggravating tweens... but we reckon that Scott Pilgrim is more than capable of taking on the lot of them. He's already a handy videogame character in his own right, and packing the twin swords of love and self respect, he's a fighter to be reckoned with. Who knows what new trials await him behind the final door?
Scott would be a fine addition to the Soul Calibur series, but he comes with ready-made friends to pad out the lineup. Knives Chau mixes blinding fast bladework with the ability to blow pink letters at people, and Ramona makes Astaroth and Rock look like complete pansies. That's one hell of a hammer. Perhaps the two girls could be platform exclusives?
Throw in some iconic arenas taken from the comics and film, and quite frankly, you're onto a winner. It's time Soul Calibur got a life.
Right, it's time for you to get involved. Who would you like to cameo in the next Soul Calibur? Fancy laying waste to my painstakingly-crafted list? Have your say in the comments!