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Ezio confirmed for Soulcalibur 5

Release date! Pre-order bonus! More!

Ezio Auditore, star of Assassin's Creed, is a playable character in upcoming fighting game Soulcalibur 5.

Eurogamer went hands-on with the guest character at a Namco Bandai event this week.

Ezio is powerful at close and long range. He has six available weapons, including his Roman Longsword, Stiletto, Crossbow, Hidden gun and his Hidden blade.

Indeed, Ezio has more weapons at his disposal than any character in the game. Project Soul said during a demonstration in London that the team is currently working to balance the character so he is viable for tournament play.

"When we were thinking about the next guest character we asked, which would be the best possible match for the world of Soulcalibur?" producer Hisaharu Tago told Eurogamer. "It was always right there in front of our eyes that it was Assassin's Creed and Ezio. He was just a perfect match. At that point we contacted Ubisoft.

"They were very cooperative and eager to work with us. It was a lot of fun to work with Ubisoft once we got started, because they really love Ezio and the Assassin's brand. They provided us with this overwhelming volume of direction and information. That might seem like something that would be irritating and get in the way of our development, but that wasn't the case at all. They were very open in giving us a lot of guidelines.

"As developers, we have a similar way of thinking. So it was very easy to work with them."

Ezio features in both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the fighting game, as does a stage inspired by Assassin's Creed and background music lifted from the Assassin's Creed universe.

The Ezio in Soulcalibur is the younger version of the character taken from Assassin's Creed 2 and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, rather than the older Ezio from the upcoming Assassin's Creed: Revelations.

"When we first began to talk to Ubisoft it was around the time Brotherhood was coming out, so we had that background," Tago explained. "Additionally, we have a lot more mature characters in Soulcalibur 5, around the age of this version of Ezio. So we felt it was a perfect match."

And Ezio's inclusion makes sense story-wise, too, Tago said.

"In Soulcalibur the story begins at the beginning of the Renaissance. Ezio also exists in the Renaissance. Ubisoft was actually very giving with us, saying he could exist in the world of Soulcalibur through the power of the Animus, so they were able to provide us with that story.

"That's why at the beginning of the trailer you see all those Animus type reboot sequences."

Is Ezio the only guest character in Soulcalibur 5?

"No comment."

Meanwhile, pre-order the game and you'll get con artist Lord Geo Dampierre, from Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny, as a playable character on the day of release.

The Collector's Edition comes in a specially designed "book" box, and includes an art book, original soundtrack CD, making of DVD, a DLC card for the Black Knight and Paladin armour sets, original artwork and a letter of appreciation signed by Project Soul.

And finally, Namco Bandai announced a Soulcalibur 5 release date: 3rd February 2012 in Europe and 31st January 2012 in the US.