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New Interview Explains Why Strive Had to Change Guilty Gear

4 min

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New Interview Explains Why Strive Had to Change Guilty Gear
Out with the old, in with the new.

When Guilty Gear Strive released in 2021, it let to some amount of controversy. The game looked good, and a lot of people were extremely enthusiastic about Guilty Gear making a huge comeback while featuring *actually solid* rollback netcode, which was a huge deal at the time.

However, even back then, you'd have many series veterans express pretty skeptical opinions regarding the series direction. The game was noticeably slower, traditional gatlings were severely restricted, characters lost some of the special moves that made them more unique, and there were many other additions that made it resemble a wholly new game, rather than a new iteration of Guilty Gear.

In the new interview with Dexerto, the usual trio of Akira Katano, Ken Miyauchi, Daisuke Ishiwatari alongside ASW CEO Minoru Kidooka reveal why this is the case. There's no real way to talk about the reasoning they cite without first mentioning that it's very prone to misinterpretation.

I've already seen people say that this is a part of some shift towards appealing to American sensibilities, or that ASW somehow hate Xrd despite putting in the money and time to make it run on rollback for the sake of people who still play it. Zack (Shini), bless that man, even updated the packaging on the Steam store, so that people who wanted to get into Xrd won't get bogged down by having to google how to even buy it properly.

Now, back to their actual reasoning. I'm paraphrasing for the sake of brevity, but there are two major quotes in that interview. First one is that they wanted for Strive to "destroy" Xrd. For sake of that, Xrd was treated as a failure, with Strive being a new entry that would try to be different, rather than rethread the same steps. It certainly might sound harsh, but we have to keep in mind that Japanese is a very different language to English, and nuance tends to be lost in translation. In this case, I doubt that any animosity towards their prior game was even implied. Xrd is a labor of love that continued to get lasting support, but it also never was a particularly popular game. It makes sense that ASW would want to explore a different direction for the game, the same way Street Fighter tends to make drastic changes between different iterations. It didn't land with the veterans quite as well, but we can't ignore that it did perform better than other Guilty Gear games.

The second major quote is that, as per Akira Katano, ASW used to be limited in their world view when making Guilty Gear games. A small Japanese company that made games for the Japanese market. However, it's well known at this point that the majority of fighting game sales, and sales of Japanese games in general, happen outside of Japan. This is something that Katsuhiro Harada commented on in one of his Harada's Bar videos, when talking to Virtua Fighter's producer, Seiji Aoki.

All this typically means is that the developers did additional research to see what sort of things people might expect out of a video game. Rollback, for example, is not something that you really need if your game is only targeting Japan, with everything else being a bonus at best. It could also help in terms of visual design, accessibility options, game features, and many other things. We all have our biases, so naturally people might ascribe different meaning to this, but I think it's more productive to be charitable when interpreting somewhat vague statements.

You can find more detail by reading the original interview over at Dexerto.

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