Samurai Shodown has recieved some varied guest characters after the series' very own Haohmaru appeared in Soul Calibur VI. First there was the Warden from For Honor, a knight in crusader-inspired armor who looks pretty cool juxtaposed against the mostly Japanese-looking cast. Even those unfamiliar with the character (or should that be class?) should be able to recognise the Ubisoft game he came from. Which is more than can be said for the second guest.
Quick show of hands, has anyone heard of a game called Honor of Kings? AKA Kings of Glory? AKA Wangzhe Rongyao? A few years ago it was deemed the most downloaded mobile app as well as the most popular and highest-grossing game worldwide, earning billions of dollars from millions of regular players and even coming under fire for being so damn addictive, and it's still going strong to this day. By now you might be scrambling to check out this supposedly epic game but I'll save you the effort by telling you straight: it's a Chinese League of Legends clone.
Above: League of Legends
Below: Honor of Kings of Glory
I'm not just saying that because it happens to look and play almost exactly like League, but it was intended to be an almost exact copy from the start. In 2015, Chinese conglomerate Tencent asked Riot Games (a majority of which is owned by Tencent) to make a mobile port of their popular MOBA. Riot refused, saying the game was never intended for smartphones, so Tencent went about making it themselves and releasing it only in China. Honor of Kings was so similar to League on a gameplay and design level that several Riot employees complained. Tencent eventually released an altered version of the game outside of China called Arena of Valor, that has the same engine and UI as Honor of Kings but the heroes were redesigned to tone down the influence from Chinese mythology and League.
Arena of Valor has been moderately succesful, earning cross-promotions with the likes of DC, KFC, Sword Art Online and even getting released on Switch. But the character who ended up in SamSho isn't in AoV, only the original Chinese version. Gongsun Li is a marksman type hero; a bunnygirl dancer who uses a parasol and magic in combat. A weird choice for a guest character to be sure, I remember when guest characters were meant to attract fans of one series to check out another instead of just paying lip service to another company. I mean, I bought Soul Calibur IV purely because Darth Vader was in it, but how many people outside of China will recognise Gongsun Li and say "oh shit, it's my favorite character from that Chinese MOBA. Better see what she's like in a fighting game!" Still, at least she looks fun to play, her design is neat and above all, she's being released for free on August 5. Plus more recognition in the west means the possibility of more lewds, so that's something to look forward to. Here's a trailer where you can see her in action:
So what do you all think of SamSho's latest guest fighter? Is she a valid choice or is she just there as a flex from Tencent? Which guest character would you like to see next in Samurai Shodown? Sound off in the comments!