When Project Soul ships Soulcalibur 5 next year, it will feature between 20 and 30 fighters. Over half of them, I was told, will be entirely new warriors.
In the behind-closed-doors demo I saw at E3 this week, we were shown an extremely early version of the upcoming fighter. Only 15% into development, it was only a small taste of what to expect. Running on an entirely new engine, Soulcalibur 5 is faster than its predecessors, addressing concerns that previous games in the series weren't brisk enough for competitive fighting.
Project Soul wasn't ready to talk too many details about any new fighting systems, but we did spot a "special" gauge in the top corner of the screen. This new addition we're told is kind of like the "Critical Edge" system from Soul Edge. This is an indication, we're told, that the team hopes to tap into the essence of and the best of some of the older titles in the series.
Regarding the roster, outside of the note that more than half the fighters would be fresh, they're not ready to announce them just yet. We saw four in action -- old faces Mitsurugi and Siegfried, as well as newcomers Patroklos and Pyrrha. Details on who else will be included will be revealed in the coming months. Whether the game will get console-exclusive fighters (Soulcalibur 4 for Xbox 360 featured Yoda, the PlayStation 3 got Darth Vader) is still up in the air, but the shifty glances and roundabout answers I got when I asked indicate there's something in the works.
Soulcalibur V is out next year.