, ( ) for short, is a fictional character in the Soul series of video games. Created by Namco's Project Soul division, she first appeared in Soulcalibur IV and its subsequent sequels, later appearing in various merchandise related to the series. She is voiced by Yūko Kaida in Japanese, and Julie Ann Taylor in English.
A princess in the fictional European country of Wolfkrone, in Soulcalibur IV she finds her kingdom under attack by Nightmare and his forces. With her father driven insane, she takes control of the kingdom's army and seeks to revive an ancient "Hero King", Algol, in order to bring peace to the land. In Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny, the game's Gauntlet storyline (non-canon) revolves around her search for ingredients necessary to cure her father, interacting with various characters in the series. As a video game character, Hilde's fighting style is unique to others in the Soul series, allowing players to "charge" attack command inputs to increase the strength of their offensive strikes.
Since her introduction, IGN heavily praised the character, citing her gameplay and stating approval for the contrast of her design against other female characters in the series. Other sources stated similar, with some such as Edge and Game Informer describing her as the best new character introduced in the game or its predecessor, Soulcalibur III.
Hilde's look derived from the development team's desire to make a fully clothed "sexy" female character for Soulcalibur IV, and encasing her in armor as a result. Her characteristics and personality were developed after deciding what weapons she would use, a spear and short sword. After developing her appearance and character model, her backstory was developed by a team led by Yoshihiro Nakagawa, and during this process they worked out how to tie Hilde into the plot of the series. In interviews, Soulcalibur IV director Katsutoshi Sasaki has called Hilde "the 'most alluring'" female character in the title, designed as an opposite to characters such as Ivy and characters that "always have their boobs popping out". He added that he felt that as gaming became more accepted, characters similar to Hilde would become more common.
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