Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

Cloud Strife was Almost a Guest Character in the PS2 Version of Soul Calibur II


Lest we forget, Namco pretty much invented the "fighting game guest character craze" with the console versions of Soul Calibur 2. Localization producer for Soul Calibur 2, Nao Higo, was recently featured in GiantBomb's "8-4 Play" podcast. During the podcast, Higo revealed that Final Fantasy VII protagonist Cloud Strife was originally planned as a guest character for the Playstation 2 version of SC2, but the plans fell through - and Heihachi Mishima took his place in the stage of history.

About 1 hour and 20 minutes into the 8-4 Play podcast, Higo claims "The deal fell through on that one - it was supposed to be someone else. I think it's been long enough. So, apparently, they were working out a deal with Cloud. It would have been incredible, [but] at the last minute it got canned."

Soul Calibur 2 hit consoles back in 2003 - about 6 years after the mega-hit Final Fantasy VII released on PS1. Cloud Strife as the PS2 version's guest character in Soul Calibur 2 seems like it would've been a match made in heaven...

However, let's not forget Cloud (and several other characters from FFVII) previously appeared as guest characters in the obscure 3D fighting game, Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring in '98-'99... a game published by both Namco and Square. Cloud was even on the PS1 cover artwork of the game. While Ehrgeiz developed a cult-following and received mostly positive reviews, it wasn't a hugely successful title and didn't even get a sequel.

Fun Fact: Ehrgeiz sold 222,000+ copies in Japan in 1998, maxing out at 340,937 by December 2004...
These numbers were low for a fighting game at the time, considering TEKKEN 3 sold 7 million.

This begs the question... did Cloud's guest appearance in the under-performing Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring possibly kill his chances to appear in Soul Calibur II?

With Cloud already appearing as a "guest" character in a fighting game (a gutsy new idea for back then), perhaps Squaresoft's high-ups were a bit hesitant to allow their FFVII poster-boy to "co-star" in yet another fighter. The idea of "redundancy" is a particularly touchy subject for fighting games. The fighting genre was also in a slower-paced, transitionary phase back in 2003. However, Soul Calibur 2 still managed to sell 4.5 million copies across all 3 platforms - the PS2 being the best-selling version at 2.06m.

Don't look so sad Cloud... there's always Soul Calibur 6.

If Cloud's appearance in Ehrgeiz was a factor, I'm sure it wasn't the only reason that Cloud missed his chance to square off with Soul Calibur's best. We'll probably never know the exact details... but in any case, Namco's own Heihachi Mishima did hold things down as a badass guest character in Soul Calibur 2~TFG Webmaster / FYagami

Sources:  Giant Bomb  
  Related News:  (7-18-2017): Geese Howard Joins TEKKEN 7 as Guest Character in Winter 2018
Related TFG Links:  Soul Calibur 2SC2 HD OnlineEhrgeizCloud StrifeHeihachi   
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