Sophitia in Soulcalibur IV
|First game||Soul Edge|
|Designed by||Aya Takemura (Soulcalibur II–IV) |
Takuji Kawano (Soulcalibur II–IV, Legends)
|Weapon||Xiphos and shield|
Omega and Owl (Soul Edge)
Omega and Elk (since Soulcalibur)
|Origin||Athens, Ottoman Empire (present-day Greece)|
Sophitia Alexandra (ソフィーティア・アレクサンドル Sofītia Arekusandoru), better known as just Sophitia, is a fictional character in the Soulcalibur series of video games. Created by Namco's Project Soul division, she first appeared in Soul Edge and its subsequent sequels, as well as appearing in various merchandise related to the series.
A baker-turned warrior, Sophitia became involved in the search for the cursed sword, Soul Edge, following the blessings of the god Hephaestus. The affair soon affected her other family members as well, including her sister, Cassandra, and later her children, Pyrrha and Patroklos. The character has received positive reception, often noted for her sexualized portrayal in the series.
Sophitia's life as a warrior began when she was chosen as one of the two dozen warriors to receive an oracle from the Olympian god of fire and forge, Hephaestus. He suddenly appeared and told her of the evil blade Soul Edge: that the existence of such a powerful blade would put shame to his name, as he had not created it, and that if anyone were to discover it, it would bring much pain to the world. Hephaestus ordered her to come to the Eurydice Shrine and receive a holy weapon, the Omega sword, so that she could destroy Soul Edge.
During the events of Soul Edge, Sophitia eventually found Soul Edge in a port in Valencia and dueled its possessor, the dreaded pirate Cervantes de Leon, destroying one of the twin blades. However, shards of the evil sword flew wounded her too greatly to finish the fight. Just as Cervantes was about to finish off Sophitia, the demon huntress ninja Taki arrived to save her and to kill Cervantes. After the battle had finished, Taki removed most of the Soul Edge shards that damaged Sophitia, but she was unable to remove the one embedded near her heart. She then carried Sophitia back to Athens, where her sister, Cassandra, had been waiting for her. Cassandra was the only member of her family or group of friends to believe her story at the time.
After recovering from her wounds she suffered, she returned to her life as the daughter of a baker and spent her days peacefully. However, one day, when she was out for shopping with Cassandra, Sophitia had a vision of the demon Nightmare and the true Soul Edge, and collapsed was rescued by a local swordsmith named Rothion. They fell in love and got engaged. Later, she received a second oracle from Hephaestus to destroy the remains of Soul Edge. Hephaestus then supplied her with holy metal which Rothion used to forge a new Omega sword and Elk shield; she set out on a second quest. While she was unable to find the cursed sword, it was ultimately shattered by Xianghua anyway, thus Sophitia returned home where she married Rothion and gave birth to a daughter, Pyrrha, and later a son, Patroklos.
Four years afterward, Rothion received a shard of Soul Edge from a mysterious customer, and his and Sophitia's children began fighting over the shard. The evil aura the fragment emanated caused Sophitia's old wounds to ache, as they had been infected with the evil energy of the Soul Edge seven years previous, explaining her children's predilection for the bizarre aura. Cassandra, desperate to save her sister, grabbed the shard from her grasp and run away from home. A couple of weeks later, Sophitia decided that if she was to free her children from the curse and ensure her sister's safety, she had to embark on a third journey. Because Cassandra had taken Sophitia's previous weapons, Rothion forged her new set to destroy Soul Edge once and for all. Her journey took her to Ostrheinsburg Castle, where she encountered the evil warrior Tira, who threatened to kidnap her children in order to set them up as sacrifices for Soul Edge. Sophitia therefore resolved to destroy Soul Edge for the sake of her children. Upon returning to Ostrheinsburg, she discovered Tira had made good on her word and abducted Pyrrha, who was kept alive, but left under Soul Edge's influence for so long that she could not survive if it were destroyed. Distraught, Sophitia then decided to protect the evil weapon, preventing anyone else who would try to destroy it so her daughter could be kept alive, going so far as to attack her younger sister, Cassandra when she arrived at Ostrheinsburg.
In the conclusion of Soulcalibur IV, Soul Edge was destroyed for good by Siegfried despite of Sophitia's insistence to protect it. Because Pyrrha cannot live without the influence of Soul Edge, Sophitia decided to sacrifice herself by removing a shard of Soul Edge embedded near her heart to sustain Pyrrha's life. Tira had since raised Pyrrha in place of Sophitia and presumably also stole her weapons for Pyrrha's use. Her death impacted many characters, including her husband, Rothion who tried to search for her and Pyrrha in the next seventeen years while hiding the reason of their absence from Patroklos, but ultimately had to tell the truth to him in his deathbed, sparking Patroklos' journey to find his sister and take revenge against Tira for apparently murdering his mother (though he does not know the true reason of her death). Elysium, the physical manifestation of Soul Calibur, takes form of Sophitia to further convince Patroklos to obey her orders.
A young Sophitia returns in the reboot game Soulcalibur VI. The game serves a retelling of the events of the original Soulcalibur. While on her quest to rid the world of Soul Edge once more, she comes across Siegfried, recently freed from the cursed sword's control after being defeated by Kilik as Nightmare. Sophitia uses her blade's powers to partially purify the knight's soul, inspiring Siegfried to seek out Soul Edge to take out the evil blade for good.
Sophitia appears as a playable character in the spin-off game Soulcalibur Legends, set between the events of Soul Edge and Soulcalibur. She is also featured as a playable character in Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny, Soulcalibur: Lost Swords, and Soulcalibur: Unbreakable Soul.
Outside of the Namco Bandai property, she made a guest appearance in the Tecmo Koei hack and slash game Musou Orochi 2 Ultimate. According to that game's story, Sophitia was transported to Orochi's dimensional realm through time distortion during the events of Soulcalibur IV. She meets Masanori Fukushima, Nene, and Sun Jian, who are part of the Coalition and want to recruit her. While Sophitia is in struggle to find a way to go back to her world so she could return to care her children, she decides to put aside her goal and join to provide help for the Coalition.
A Sophitia-themed in-game costume DLC was released for Sony Computer Entertainment's LittleBigPlanet 3. Yujin released a four inch tall immobile figurine of Sophitia as part of their "Namco Girls Series #3" line of figurines for gashapon. Other commercial items bearing Sophitia's likeness include a resin kit designed by Hiroshi Satou for manufacturer Kurushima. A 12-inch collectible statue of her comes with the special edition of Soulcalibur VI.
Character design and gameplay
As a character introduced in Soul Edge, Sophitia's weaponry, a sword and shield combination designed to be unique amongst the other weapons in the game, were selected before other elements of the character. Her design and concept were then built to revolve around it, starting with gender, then physical measurements, and lastly background details. After her appearance and movement were fleshed out by a concept artist, her character was rendered as a 3D model by a design team that worked solely on her, and then animated by Tomoe Yamashita using motion capture to create her in-game movements. Yamashita, who additionally created the "struck" movements for many other characters in the game, noted particular fondness for Sophitia while designing her.
During her creation, designers focused on maintaining an innocent appearance for her face, to give the character a sense of feeling fresh and young. Freedom of movement between the sword and shield were emphasized, with the intention to allow for the blade to rotate around the shield for cyclonic attacks. Besides Cassandra, her moveset and weapons formed the basis of the character Lizardman, introduced in the first Soulcalibur. An alternate character named Azola/Azora (ゾーラ), a brunette clad in asymmetrical armor, was conceived during the development of Sophitia's secondary outfit in Soul Edge, but was abandoned. The character concept would later be revisited in Soulcalibur IV, appearing as an ally character in Sophitia's story mode and using her fighting style. While developing Soulcalibur VI, Sophitia and Mitsurugi have been the first characters to be created and then used "as a foundation" for the decisions regarding the other characters' movements, visuals, and so forth.
Sophitia has always been one of the most fan service oriented characters in the series. Already the Japanese release of Soul Edge included cheat codes enabling to change the color of Sophitia's underwear (white by default); it was removed in the North American version but returned for Sophitia and also Seong Mi-na in the iOS port of Soulcalibur. In Soul Edge there are also two secret characters named "Sophitia!" (in a more revealing costume) and "Sophitia!!" (wearing a swimsuit). Sophitia has become increasingly larger breasted and skimpier clothed over the course of the series. Her originally sometimes reddish brown hair became purely blond in later games.
According to Computer and Video Games, the key in using Sophitia in Soul Edge is in trickery and her ability to frustrate the human opponent, as she lacks neither the brute strength of Rock nor the extreme speed of Taki. Ultra Game Players' guide to Soul Edge opined that "while she does have the speed, she lacks the variety of attacks of such characters as Taki" and advised not to rely on her combos too much and instead to use her large assortment of kicks and strikes. Electronic Gaming Monthly opined Sophitia in Soulcalibur II "excels at offense and has a wide assortment of juggle combos. She's beginner-friendly, but sometimes predictable." GamePro guide to Soulcalibur II lists her strong points as having good balance of speed and power and being easy to pick up by a novice player, but opined she is hard to master and "can become boring quickly." According to GameSpy, "unlike Cassandra, Sophitia isn't built for the world of Soul Calibur 2, so people may have a hard time winning with her, but it's possible," especially when played offensively like her sister, putting to use her high damage potential, fast foot speed, and poking attacks; her listed weaknesses are weak throw attacks and being relatively easy to evade by sidestepping. Soulcalibur VI producer Motohiro Okubo also recommended her to various types of players, including beginners.
The character was very well received by the media and general public alike. Of the latter, she was voted the Soul Edge players' choice in Japan. In a 2002 official poll by Namco prior to the release of Soul Calibur II regarding their favorite character, Sophitia placed second with 18% of the tally, behind Seong Mi-na. In the "Miss of Video Games 2012" poll by Poland's PSX Extreme, Sophitia won in the 'Soul Calibur' category. In 2015, Sophitia was voted the 11th most popular Soulcalibur character in the West in another official poll by Namco Bandai and emerged as the winner of the Round 2 vote in 2016.
Sophitia was chosen as one of the 20 "muses" of video games by Brazilian magazine SuperGamePower in 2001. In 2003, GameSpy named her one of their top ten women in gaming at number five, stating Sophitia "became one of the most easily recognized characters in the series" and "remains one of Soul Caliber's most memorable babes since the days of her swimsuit debut in Soul Blade." In 2007, she was listed by Tom's Games as one of the 50 greatest female characters in video game history, for being "a virtuous heroine who's as brave as she is cute." UGO placed her seventh in the 2008 list of top Soul series characters. That same year, Chip ranked her as the eighth-top "girl of gaming". She was ranked as the sixth top mother character in PlayStation games by PlayStation Revista Oficial - Brasil in 2016.
WomenGamers.com praised her strength as a character in the series, noting "Sophitia is probably one of the most important and pivotal of all the seekers of the twin blades." Additional praise was given to her personality in contrast to more common anti-hero characters, as well as the realism of her fighting style approach, stating that all combined made her role in the game "uniquely positive." Sophitia has also become one of the more popular subject of Soulcalibur fan art.
The 2004 book Race, Gender, Media: Considering Diversity Across Audiences, Content, and Producers used Sophitia as an example of most sexualized female characters in video games, describing her body and clothing as being created solely for the viewing pleasure of players, often males, and Leigh Alexander used Sophitia from Soulcalibur IV as a primary illustration of the article "In Defense of Breast Physics". Naming Soul Edge as the fourth top PlayStation game to date in 1997, PlayStation Magazine wrote: "Favorite Moment: Finally figuring how to change the color of Sophitia's undies. Every fighting game should have this as an option." Official Dreamcast Magazine, having her voted by the readers as the second-top "girl on the Dreamcast" in 2000 (third in the magazine's Spanish language edition), commented: "If there's one girl who we wouldn't mind beating us into submission it would have to be the lovely Sophitia. With legs that go up to her armpits, flowing golden hair and looks of a model she truly belongs on the catwalk." Official Xbox Magazine called Sophitia the "Hellenic goddess of our dreams."
GameDaily described her appearance as "angelic", adding "despite looking homelier than the other girls, [she] is still jaw dropping," and gave her mentions and praise in several articles for her character strength and evolution along the series. Notably, GameDaily ranked her number five in two different "hottest game babes" lists in 2008. She placed 38th in UGO's 2011 list of top "videogame hotties", called "a force to be reckoned with in the Soul Calibur series," and was listed by UGO's Aubrey Sitterson as one of "fighting games' finest female fighters". Maxim named her as one of the hottest video game females of 2008, calling her "literally, the best thing since sliced bread." In 2011, GameFront ranked her breasts as the "26th-greatest boobs" in video game history, while PSU.com featured her among the sexiest PlayStation game characters, adding "Somebody say MILF?" Complex ranked her as the sixth-best-looking "sideline chick" in 2011, further including her on the list of ten "hot MILFs" in video games. Complex ranked Sophitia eight in their 2012 list of the "hottest" video game characters, calling her "essentially a female Leonidas, by which we mean a gladiator with massive cleavage. We'd take watching her over Kurt Russell any day." That same year, IGN Spain as the sixth sexiest woman in digital entertainment. In 2013, Scott Marley of Daily Record ranked her as the fourth-most attractive female video game character, while Steve Jenkins of CheatCodes.com declared her the "ninth-hottest video game girl" of all time. La Nueva España included her among the top ten sexiest video game characters of both genders for her "pneumatic curves" in 2014, noting her as the only mother on that list, and Thanh Niên ranked her as the ninth sexiest female game character in 2015.
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