Our Email Interview With Guilty Gear Strive Developers is More Hell Than Heaven

Our Email Interview With Guilty Gear Strive Developers is More Hell Than Heaven

While effects of COVID-19 on the video game industry run deep, another casualty of the pandemic are in-person interviews. The joy of in-persons interviews is that press gets to ask developer questions face-to-face and get answers on the spot. The developer has little time to think, but many go through what is known as “media training” so they have a general idea of what to say in tough situations. Sure, press reps are standing by to make sure everything goes smoothly, but sometimes developers just want to talk about their game, and rightfully so.

With COVID-19 in full effect, in-person events and interviews have declined, with email interviews being the main way for the press to ask developers hard-hitting questions. While English-speaking developers can generally schedule a Zoom call, Japanese teams don’t always have that option.

So today, we are going to share one of the worse interviews we’ve ever conducted. In retrospect, the lack of nuance is lost in the text of the emailed questions, only fueled by the lack of attention each question received. We weren’t going to run this, but we also spent a lot of time putting these questions together.

The questions were answered by various members of the Arc System Works development staff. For context, these questions were submitted in January 2021 and received in May 2021; enjoy.

Azario Lopez: The Guilty Gear series has always had this punk rock attitude surrounding it. In Guilty Gear Strive, was keeping true to that style important from its early development?

Arc System Works: While rock isn’t the sole defining feature of Guilty Gear, it certainly played a big part in the development of Guilty Gear -Strive-.

AL: Since this is the first Guilty Gear entry to release on the newest hardware, the PS5, did you feel liberated to push the game’s performance to a level that you couldn’t achieve before? Do you think the last generation release has any limitations to its current generation counterpart?

ASW: The quick load times were definitely a welcome improvement. Although due to the inherent nature of having crossplay with the PS4, certain load sequences will have to be the same regardless. For those who can, I wholeheartedly recommend playing Guilty Gear -Strive- on the PS5 for the best experience.

AL: The Guilty Gear series has typically been more geared, no pun intended, towards the hardcore fighting game community. Are you continuing this approach to gameplay in Guilty Gear Strive, or will there be added accessibility options for casual players?

ASW: The Guilty Gear series has always been lucky to have a large variety of different players. Of course there are many hardcore fighting game fans, however, there are also those who like the characters and story of the game, but don’t really play fighting games. We’ve only been able to come this far as a series thanks to each and every one of our fans who have supported us. That’s why we wanted to make a game that has something for everyone.

AL: You held a closed beta, which led to a delay of the game, amongst other factors related to a global pandemic. Do you feel the delay made the game’s experience better? What is something significant that you gathered from feedback and implemented?

ASW: Apologies, we cannot answer this.

AL: Recent fighting games have implemented season passes to expand their roster over time. What are your post-launch plans, and can players expect new characters to be added to the roster?

ASW: Guilty Gear -Strive- will have 15 characters available at launch. We will also be implementing season passes for the game, and we aim to introduce 5 new characters per year. We hope that players will support us in making this a title that they will continue to play for a long time to come.

AL: The character “That Man” has yet to be playable, but hypothetically speaking, if he were to be, what kind of fighter do you think he will be? Or, you could just tease us about his inclusion in Guilty Gear Strive.

ASW: Apologies, we cannot answer this.

AL: Some Guilty Gear campaigns border on visual novel levels of storytelling. What are your thoughts on going all-in to release a modern visual novel game set in this universe? We aren’t opposed to pitching ideas of otome spin-offs.

ASW: Apologies, we cannot answer this.

AL: Arc System Works has expanded their fighting game portfolio over the past few years to include a growing list of licensed fighters, each with impressive systems. Did that experience find its way into Guilty Gear Strive? And how does the Guilty Gear series stand out in a market of so many great fighters?

ASW: Naturally, Guilty Gear -Strive- is the result of the development experience we’ve gained from all the series and characters that we’ve worked with over the years.

AL: Looking at how Guilty Gear Strive has evolved over its development. Do you feel like its mechanics are an extension of what fans remember from Guilty Gear Xrd, or did the team focus on new mechanics to make it feel like a completely brand new fighter?

ASW: We are essentially approaching the development of this game as if it were an entirely new game.

AL: Do you have any words for those awaiting the release of Guilty Gear Strive?

ASW: Unfortunately the release has been pushed back to June, but what it means is that we’ll be able to provide a game of even higher quality to our fans.

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