Cervantes de Leon
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (March 2013)|
|Cervantes de Leon|
|Soul series character|
Cervantes de León, as he appears in Soulcalibur V
|First game||Soul Edge|
|Voiced by (English)||Warren Rodgerson (Soulcalibur II)
Wally Wingert (Soulcalibur III-Soulcalibur IV)
Patrick Seitz (Soulcalibur V)
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Takashi Nagasako (Soul Edge-Soulcalibur III)
Jin Urayama (Soulcalibur Legends-Soulcalibur V)
|Birthplace||Valencia, Habsburg Spain|
|Fighting style||Possessed (Soul Edge)
Memories of Soul Edge
|Weapon||Wicked sword "SoulEdge" (Soul Edge)
Longsword & Pistol sword (Soulcalibur-Soulcalibur V)
|Weapon name||Soul Edge (double) (Soul Edge)
Soul Edge & Nirvana (Soulcalibur II-Soulcalibur III)
Acheron & Nirvana (Soulcalibur, Soulcalibur IV, Soulcalibur V)
Cervantes de León (セルバンテス・デ・レオン Serubantesu de Reon?) is a fictional character in the Soul series of video games. Created by Namco's Project Soul division, he first appeared in Soul Edge and its subsequent sequels, later appearing in various merchandise related to the series.
Creation and conception
As a character introduced in Soul Edge, Cervantes's weapon was initially a rapier, selected before other elements of the character and designed to be unique amongst the other weapons in the game. As development progressed, the development team felt that the weapon choice made the character seem too "gentlemanly" (although the concept would later be used for Raphael Sorel), and changed it to a pair of swords, which were expanded upon to be the first appearance of the series' recurring weapon, Soul Edge. His design and concept were built to revolve around them, starting with gender, then physical measurements, and lastly background details. After his appearance and movement were fleshed out by a concept artist, his character was rendered as a 3D model by a design team that worked solely on him, and then animated by a motion designer using motion capture to create his in-game movements. The inspiration for a pirate as the game's antagonist was derived from two other fictional pirates, Captain Hook and Long John Silver.
When developing his swords, many different styles were considered, including the concept of the swords appearing as wisps of spiritual energy. Elements of these designs were utilized subsequent appearances of the Soul Edge weapon in later titles. When the character's design was modified to appear in Soulcalibur, one of the swords was changed to a pistol sword, with the curve on the weapon's blade emphasized in comparison to its counterpart.
In video games
Cervantes de Leon was the son of Philip de Leon, a privateer who was sent on a mission by the King of Spain to loot in the name of Spain. Following a disastrous attack on an English warship that killed Philip, Cervantes forsook his allegiance to his king and became a pirate. Receiving an order from a wealthy merchant, Vercci to find the cursed sword Soul Edge, Cervantes voyaged through the sea and eventually found the sword in the possession of an English dealer. However, the sword gradually corrupted him until his soul was devoured by it. Having killed all his crew, Cervantes boarded his ghost ship, the Adrian, on a reign of terror for twenty years until he was defeated and killed by the combination efforts of Sophitia and Taki.
However, Cervantes was accidentally resurrected without his memory by Nightmare because of the Soul Edge fragments lodged in his body. For the next three years, he decided to search for the cursed sword despite knowing that it had robbed him of his free will while slowly recovering his memories. Upon the shattering of Soul Edge, Cervantes began his quest on collecting the fragments of the cursed sword for four years which melded to form a weapon for him, attacking other ships that came close to his sea. When the presence of Soul Edge's other half vanished, Cervantes's body began to weaken as the fragments that sustained him crumbled. He was informed by a servant of Soul Edge, Tira, that a powerful entity was the one responsible, so Cervantes sought to defeat the entity and preserve his life. Eventually, Soul Edge summoned all pieces of itself back to it. Cervantes followed its trail, intending to wield the sword once it completed itself. Along the way, he devoured the soul of his illegitimate daughter, Ivy, but after the latter had survived thanks to her artificial soul, Ivy retaliated and defeated Cervantes, releasing all souls he had consumed, including hers. His body beaten and his mind shattered, Cervantes was swallowed by a dimensional rift opened by Soul Edge, the Astral Chaos.
Seventeen years later, during the wake of the 17th century, people reported the presence of Cervantes' ship, the Adrian, voyaging through the sea; Cervantes had been released from the Astral Chaos, now free from Soul Edge's control and at his height of power.
In the non-canonical Gauntlet storyline of Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny, Cervantes' soul was required as payment for Ivy to create a potion for character Hilde and her party to cure her father. Though they attempted to renegotiate, they were forced to find and take Cervantes' soul by force.
During development, several designs were considered for Cervantes, with the initial concept appearing as a clean-shaven man with long hair tied in a pony tail and a raised-collar coat. This and several subsequent designs were eventually rejected, however, as the development team felt they were either too reminiscent of nihilistic pirates or gentlemanly in appearance. Taking a different approach, they designed his appearance as a tall male with a trim mustache and white hair extending to the base of his neck. A blue coat with an extended tail covered his upper body, with thick gloves extending past his wrist and a large hat covers his head. White pants cover his lower legs, surrounded by leather armor on his upper thighs, and armor plating covering his lower legs and upper chest, with a neck scarf resting atop the breastplate. His design was intended to orient the viewer's eye towards his left, with his hat angled in the opposite direction.
When designing the character's appearance in Soulcalibur, several zombified designs were considered, with varying states of decay. As the series progressed his mustache was expanded into a growing beard, while his skin tone developed a purplish hue. His pupils were additionally negated, giving his appearance either solid white or red glowing eyes, depending on the game. His attire developed a more pronounced barbed appearance as well, with the gradual expansion of his breastplate, and the addition of a red loin cloth by Soulcalibur IV.
In contrast, his secondary character model has remained throughout the series. Originating as a full body suit of armor with faceplate, initial appearances incorporated a large cape and small metal face mask, initially intended to cover Cervantes' entire face. In Soulcalibur, large spikes were incorporated into the arms and legs of the armor, while the cape was adapted into a metal "tail" for the lower half. In Soulcalibur III an open-face helmet replaced the mask, while in Soulcalibur IV, elements of both were combined together. While the purplish hue added to his skin was retained as the series progressed, his facial hair changed game by game, either appearing clean shaven or with a simple mustache, depending on the title.
Cervantes was designed in mind to be something of a ghost pirate. Starting with Soul Edge, Cervantes had peach skin, long white hair with a violet tint and blue eyes and sported a full mustache. His attire consisted of a traditional pirate captain's uniform. When under the influence of Soul Edge, his skin gained an unnatural purple tint and his eyes turned yellow with the scelera turning black. He retained this appearance with very minute modifications into Soulcalibur. After returning from the dead as a specter, his skin even paler than before and his eyes purely white, although his mustache has grown past his cheeks and reaching his hairline. His attire had also changed to feature lighter colors and armor with the additions of gauntlets and greaves and wore a new jacket loosely on his back. In Soulcalibur III, his skin pigment became a light purple and his hair turned fully white and becoming spiky. His appearance showed off more skin to reveal impressive musculature with his facial hair now fully forming a long beard. His clothing was now similar to his earlier appearance but has also taken on a purple, darker sheen, and his gloves are now the same color. In Soulcalibur IV, his appearance seems to have been even further corrupted than before, with claw-like shoulder pads with purple eye decorations with an additional one on his hat and his coat becoming wing-like with segmented metal linings.
As of Soulcalibur V, he seems to have reverted to normal and his look is similar with his original Soul Calibur appearance, his hair and skin's pigment returned to their natural color and his clothing although he keeps his facial hair and length. His clothing returns to a more traditional appearance but now featuring a red and black color scheme and a Jolly Roger emblem on his boots and belt. His coat opens up to reveal his bare chest, showing off chest hair. His bonus costume on the other hand, gives him a suit of armor but his physical body appears to give off a fiery glow and aura with his face seemingly internally consumed by fire, resembling Soul Edge to an extent.
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Cervantes utilizes his two swords in combat to execute a variety of moves that take advantage of both weapons, many of which involve impaling his enemy or firing the pistol from the short sword for a long-range attack. Perhaps his most recognizable move is the "Flying Dutchman", in which he crouches and delivers multiple stabs to the enemy's midsection with extreme speed. This attack has been featured in several games as one of his signature techniques. In Soul Calibur II, many of his weapons are named after the rivers of Hades, such as Lethe, Phlegethon and Styx.
His fighting style also seems to be inspired in part by Niten Ichi-ryū, as evidenced by his normal stance.
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Since his introduction Cervantes has been well received, with his fighting style serving as an element to compare to for later characters in fighting games. In 1997, PSM included "a wickedly evil villain" among the three reasons why Soul Edge "is the best Namco fighting game ever." In a 2002 poll by Namco prior to the release of Soulcalibur II regarding their favorite character, he tied with Maxi for fourth place with 11% of the tally. UGO.com ranked Cervantes at seventh place in their "Top 11 SoulCalibur Fighters" article, describing him simply as "a big jerk" while praising him as one of the stronger characters in the series. IGN listed him third on their list of the top ten characters in the series, citing his offensive techniques as a large part of his appeal. They additionally named him one of their ten favorite sword-wielding characters in video games, describing him as combining two of their favorite elements-"big swords and pirates"-into a singular character, adding that his pistol weapon "makes him even more awesome". Den of Geek editor Harry Slater shared the sentiment, naming Cervantes the seventh best character in fighting games and adding that while the character had become overshadowed by others in the series, he was "a brute, plain and simple". In 2012, Complex ranked Cervantes as the 41st "Most Dominant Fighting Game Character". In 2013, they enlisted the 20 best characters from the series, ranking him the fifth best character.
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