Guilty Gear Creator Reflects Back on Two Years of Strive
Daisuke Ishiwatari, the creator of the Guilty Gear series, is a legend in the fighting game world. He designed some of the most memorable fighting game characters ever, wrote some of the best fighting game music ever, and has been on the scene since the late 90’s. So when I was given the chance to pick his brain for an interview at the Arc World Tour Finals, I jumped at the chance.
IGN: It’s been about two years since the release of Guilty Gear Strive. Looking back, what are you most proud of about the game? Conversely, what do you wish you could have done differently or better?
Mr. Ishiwata: I could say a lot on both ends when it comes to what I’m proud of. We are proud to have gathered so many talented members.
IGN: And is there anything you’d like to do differently or do something about it?
Mr. Ishiwata: So how do you put it? Among various games, I think that fighting games, especially fighting games, have a high barrier to entry. It’s really hard for new people to get into it. So if there’s one thing you want to do better next time, it’s to make it easier. We will make it easier and simpler for people to enjoy fighting games in earnest just by joining the game.
IGN: Previous Arcsys fighting games have had multiple iterations of the base game, like Xrd had Rev and Rev 2. Is this what’s happening with Strive, or is the season pass or free update doing the job?
Mr. Ishiwata: There probably won’t be any physical upgrades like we did with Rev and Rev 2, but using something like a season pass to upgrade what’s in the game each season is the way we want it. It seems that.
IGN: You’ve added a lot to Strive over the past two years, including a digital figure mode, combo maker, and most recently cross play. Do you think Strive is feature complete at this point, or are there still new features you’re looking to add or change beyond what impacts core gameplay?
Mr. Ishiwata: It’s not a question of whether we’re done, it’s a question of whether we have the resources to invest in these ideas. Of course, there are many things we want to put in, change, and add to the players and their satisfaction. But that’s a decision to make as development progresses.
IGN: At this point, you’ve been making games for a long time. Do you think it will be easier or harder to make fighting games in 2023 than it was in the late 90s?
Mr. Ishiwata: Quite a tough question, but if you want to compare, here’s how it’s currently produced: We have a dedicated team, and we have dedicated people working on the individual pieces that make up the game. In that sense, it’s easier to create games. But when you started making games, it was very similar to today’s indie scene, where you had a small team, everyone working together, doing the best they could, pooling all their skills and resources. I am realizing something. It can be difficult in general, but for me it’s much easier and a much preferred way to build a game.
IGN: What do you think of the fighting game landscape in 2023? This year feels like a very exciting time, with the potential for a new Street Fighter, a new Mortal Kombat, and a new Tekken. What are your current thoughts on the state of fighting games in 2023?
Mr. Ishiwata: a little hard to put in [into words], but basically, instead of looking at it like the state of fighting games, fighting games are a tough medium to dive into, and a platform that’s hard to dive into. So I’m looking at a lot of games like Splatoon that people can just pick up and go and enjoy. , from a sales perspective, how do we go from here. What is a game and what is a platform, do you evolve it and take it to another level, or do you continue to push the existing standards even higher? That is, whether the media evolves or continues, and of course it also considers making it easier for new people to step into the genre.
IGN: Where do you see the greatest opportunity for growth in the fighting game genre? Onboarding? Are you teaching new people how to play? Or are there areas where you think fighting games can still evolve?
Mr. Ishiwata: For example, consider chess. Chess is a strategy game, and the way strategy games have evolved is that nowadays there are things like RTS and similar computer games with similar strategy basics. But just because those games exist doesn’t mean chess and people who play chess don’t play chess anymore. It’s something that people still enjoy and that people still continue to do, even at a competitive level.
So in the end it’s something every developer thinks and worries about. Do you keep making the same type of stuff that everyone knows and loves? Will you take it to the next level? And what impact that has on getting players and keeping the genre going, things like that.
IGN: And finally, I would like to ask about the new character Bedman?, who previously appeared in Guilty Xrd. What were the differences between the characters in Strive and what were the challenges in incorporating those highly complex characters into Strive’s new fighting game system?
Mr. Ishiwata: Guessing from a design standpoint of porting the character to Strive, Bedman was on the bed in Xrd, but that character died in that story, so only the bed remains. And all I wanted to do was take a little inspiration from Annabelle and say that Bedman’s fractured feeling still lingers within the bed itself. It is the basic backbone of the character.
At this point, producer Ken Miyauchi stepped in to answer the remaining questions.
Mr. Miyauchi: So let me ask you that question. So, I don’t think Bedman’s design is as complicated as Xrd Bedman’s, but he has quite a few unique move actions. So he’s not an easy character to pick up and play, and compared to Shin from the previous game, he has a lot of advanced and unique moves that other characters don’t have. So he’s a character that’s a little hard to get into in terms of difficulty.
Guilty Gear Strive’s newest character, Bedman?, is now available as the third of four characters scheduled for Season 2. I would like to thank Mr. Ishiwata and Mr. Miyauchi for their time.
Mitchell Saltzman is IGN’s Editorial Producer.you can find him on twitter @jurassic rabbit