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According to a timeline released by Namco in its Soul Archive site, Soul Edge's events take place in 1584.

Soul Edge's story tells the tale of warriors searching for the ultimate sword, "Soul Edge". It has been given many names throughout the story, such as "The Sword of Salvation", "The Sword of Heroes", and "The Ultimate Sword" among others. Many strong warriors searched for years, but very few actually found it. The sword, now in the form of a twin pair of long swords, appeared mysteriously in an auction. They were taken by the dreaded Captain Cervantes. Nothing was known of his fate thereafter...

Now, nine warriors from around the world search for the sword for different reasons. Some for power, others for revenge; some believing it's a benevolent sword, searching for its support; while others knowing of its evil nature, seeking its destruction. Nothing is known for certain about the sword, except for one thing: it brings misfortune to those seeking it.

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