Transcending history and the world, the Soulcalibur series has long been a fan favorite for 3D fighting game fans. I remember playing the first title, Soul Edge, in the arcades as a child. The desire to play more unleashed from the tether of quarters and tokens was a primary motivation in buying a PlayStation and copy of Soul Blade alongside it. The series is so well-loved that it only made sense for Bandai Namco, in the then-nascent age of HD remasters and online marketplaces, to put both Soulcalibur and Soulcalibur II on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2008 on Xbox for the first game and 2013 on both platforms for the second. Hell, with backwards compatibility, those games are even playable today on Xbox consoles.
In the past year, though, Bandai Namco has quietly and slowly removed the games from sale from nearly all available territories. This in and of itself is strange, but not unprecedented. Sometimes licenses lapse for things like music or even contracts with outside character designers and the publishers were short-sighted about how long these games would be made available.
What’s curious in this case, however, is not that these Soulcalibur HD remasters have disappeared, it’s that Bandai Namco has said nothing about it, and will not tell me why despite repeated inquiries.
If this were something as simple as, say, the inclusion of Todd McFarlane’s Spawn in Soulcalibur II HD Online — which at one point got removed and then put back without the word “Online” in the title — expiring within a decade, I would think that annoying but not unreasonable. But that has happened before and traditionally publishers have not declined to explain this. After all, why would you want to take the blame for removal when you could easily point to a third-party problem?
After a few weeks of trying, unfortunately I’ve hit enough brick walls that I don’t think I’m going to find out. So this story will have to suffice as a PSA: Hey, Soulcalibur HD and Soulcalibur II HD are not for sale anymore. If you can get a code, at least for Xbox, those codes should still work [edit: though people on Twitter tell me this is not the case for Soulcalibur I HD]. Until or unless Bandai Namco decides to publicly say why this is the case, it’s possible we’ll never really know.