Daisuke Ishiwatari On The State Of Fighting Games And How ArcSys Got Arcana Heart 3

By Spencer . May 5, 2011 . 5:35pm

ishiwatariThe creator of Guilty Gear, Daisuke Ishiwatari, knows his fighting games. While the genre took a backseat for a few years, one-on-one fighting games are back in the spotlight with Street Fighter IV, Mortal Kombat, and BlazBlue.


When Siliconera spoke to Ishiwatari-san we asked him about the future of fighting games and the company he works for, Arc System Works.


Fighting games are back in vogue now. What do you think of the state of the genre today? How can it be improved and what pitfalls do you see ahead?


Daisuke Ishiwatari, Producer: On a very basic level, nothing has changed. The essential rules of the game have remained the same. You have two players – one loses, one wins. It’s what surrounds that experience that is important – with arcades not as big as they were in the west, online plays a big part – in getting people to experience human vs. human competitive play. I don’t think you can truly replace having someone sitting next to you while you fight, but the means of experiencing competitive play is now much easier than it was. The community that builds up from this is essential to keep that spirit alive.


I think it’s also important for fighting games to prove themselves as ‘Entertainment’ not just as ‘Fighting Games’. BlazBlue does this well with its story mode for example – giving newcomers a different kind of experience outside competitive play. Also accessibility needs to be there – new players need to be introduced to the games systems without scaring them away, so better tutorials more beginner modes are important, and we’re seeing more fighting games do this now…


What was it like working with the Nintendo 3DS and bringing BlazBlue to that platform?


On the technical side – you’d be better asking Toshimichi Mori (the creator of BlazBlue) that question – taking a game from 360 and PS3 and putting it onto portable hardware always has challenges in terms of memory, for example, or reworking artwork. I think the 3DS definitely has that visual impact, when you see it for the first time you think – WOW! However, for me, this is just cosmetic – I don’t think it’s going to radically change the process of games creation.


What are your thoughts on the 3DS, NGP, and portable fighting games?


Portable fighting games are very important to us as it opens up a new audience to our games. We’ve found that people who play our fighting games on portable machines tend to be much younger and play on their own more – this is a great way for us to introduce our games to new players. On the DS and PSP this has been due to the relatively low price of the hardware – rather than by a PS3 and HDTV, which is expensive for younger players, a PSP or DS is a much easier way of playing. Now 3DS and NGP are obviously going to be more expensive – it will be interesting to see how this changes things…




While not a crossover, Arc System Works worked with Konami on Hard Corps: Uprising. The anime style Arc System Works is known for worked well with that game. Is Arc System Works planning on working with other companies?


It’s definitely something we’re open to. The work Arc did on BlazBlue – delivering that standard of HD 2D art – got us a lot of attention which is very flattering. I think people are starting to recognize an Arc style.


You also published Arcana Heart 3 in Japan. AQ Interactive used to release the Arcana Heart games before. How did you strike a deal with Examu?


We’ve known Examu for a very long time. When you’re a hardcore 2D fighting game developer in Japan, it’s a small world! Examu deliver very high quality 2D fighters with unique gameplay systems – so it’s not hard to see how both Examu and Arc have a lot of mutual respect for each other! For Arcana Heart 3, Examu saw what we’d done with BlazBlue from arcade to PS3 and 360 and wanted to use some of our know-how – specifically, some of our rendering techniques and technologies as well as the BlazBlue netcode. This was something that AH3 didn’t have, and something that BlazBlue did very well – so the netcode itself, the matchmaking system, all of these are now in Arcana Heart 3. Actually, AH3 has a very much improved version of BB’s netcode.


It’s not just the tech-side either, its about developing the fighting game community as well, Arc System Works are committed to keeping that spirit alive, and to help bring great quality, unique fighting games to the community to help it grow to nurture it. This partnership helps us do that.



Arc System Works made a Guilty Gear melee game and a platformer spin-off for DSiWare. Are there any other genres you’re interested in trying with either BlazBlue or Guilty Gear?


We did Guilty Gear 2 which was more of an action strategy game – so it’s something we’re always thinking about. We’d love to look at new genres of course, whether or not they’ll use the BlazBlue or Guilty Gear universes I don’t know. However, we are looking to bring in new staff and train them and challenge them with bringing new kinds of experiences to Arc in the future.


Check back tomorrow where the topic changes to everything Guilty Gear!

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  • I don’t think you can truly replace having someone sitting next to you while you fight…

    Someone gets it! I’m not all that great at fighting games, or multiplayer in general to be honest, but nothing beats playing with someone in the same room, on the same TV, etc.

    Breaks my heart that arcades were all but dead in the West by the time I really got into gaming. Online multiplayer feels far too impersonal and I haven’t played any multiplayer in years as a result.

    • PrinceHeir

      agree, nothing feels better than beating people face to face especially pulling a miraculous comeback after a long grueling battle.

      “Examu deliver very high quality 2D fighters with unique gameplay systems – so it’s not hard to see how both Examu and Arc have a lot of mutual respect for each other!”

      Examu is awesome not to mention Arcana Heart 3’s gameplay is fast paced and badass. to bad haters like SRK trash this game just because it’s a all girl fighting game. pretty stupid if you ask me.

      the thing i like about Arc System Works is the modes they have introduced throughout the history of BB. i mean we now have gallery mode, tower mode, abyss mode, tutorial and challenge mode, dual audio, ability to change resolution to fit the screen or stretch, ability to change text to english or japanese(regardless of any version), a awesome network code, and the most important of all, ability to pick any music and stage.

      people take this for granted, and i thank arc system for producing not only one of the best looking 2D games of all time, but also pack with modes so that for fans can spend hundreds of hours of content and practice.

      now imagine Guilty Gear having all these content and in HD with even more awesome netcode. that would be mind blowing O_O

      i think more companies should follow Arc System Works in terms of content. would love if Arc System ports Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code with all this content or SNK following a similar path *Hint KOFXIII, Dream Match or Samurai Shodown VII

      • z_merquise

        Gotta agree with you there. One thing I love with Arc Sys is that they REALLY put some love and care in their games especially in their characters even if it wasn’t really a big deal gameplay-wise.

        Samurai Shodown VII in HD-2D? Hattori Hanzo, Ukyo and Iroha in glorious HD-2D? God, I really wish for that for a long time.

        • PrinceHeir

          oh my god, just looking at your avatar, i can’t imagine Iroha in HD.

          it’ll probably blow my mind O_O

          and yes it’s been a long time since we saw a proper Samurai Shodown

        • raymk

          Yeah Give me my Iroha and Hanzo in glorious HD snk. Well we all gotta help snk with this kof XIII guys or their gonna be a goner.

      • PurpleDoom

        Yeah, I love the effort Arc puts into their home console ports!

  • Kris

    I want this man to adopt me.

    • Apollonis

      For real! You can tell he knows his stuff, and he looks exactly like you would think a GG/Blaz producer would :D

      Next time y’all chat with him, be sure to tell him I think he’s damn cool. Get on it. :P

  • eilegz

    make a crossover game guilty gear vs blazblue

  • z_merquise

    Interview is short but it’s a nice read. Looking forward for the 2nd part of the interview. Thanks for this, Siliconera!

    Oh and to the Siliconera crew, I hope it’s okay for you to ask you this but would you conduct an interview with Platinum Games or Grasshopper Manufacture (especially with Suda 51) someday?

    • Apollonis

      Isn’t Suda kind of elusive? I feel like I haven’t seen many interviews from him

      • For the record I interviewed Suda51 before for No More Heroes. He’s not as elusive as you think :P

      • Ereek

        Spencer you. . .you. . .changed your Avatar.

        I don’t know what to think.

        • Yeah, it’s this neato wooden dinosaur toy I picked up. I think I need a better picture of it though!

          • Zero_Destiny

            lol I thought it was a pet snake or something.

          • Tommy Lee

            You definitely need a better picture of it. Not sure if it’s the angle, the lighting, or something else, but something is making it look a bit awkward.

        • Tommy Lee

          That was my reaction when I first saw it too.

      • z_merquise

        Whoa, I never knew that before. It must be because I still wasn’t a regular visitor of your site at that time.

  • Exand

    I loved everything about this interview. Except the mention of handhelds. Serious vs fighting games do not belong on handhelds. At least as long as we’re unable to hook up a stick or pad to a handheld device to play it!

    • M’iau M’iaut

      Try some of the Neo Geo Pocket fighters before making that a totally blanket statement. Then again, that system HAD a wonderful stick controller that did everything one could expect of it.

      • Zero_Destiny

        I second this Neo Geo Pocket Color has the best darn joystick around. Especially for a handheld. ^_^

      • Exand

        Or maybe read the context of why I wrote the comment…

        The gist of my post was “vs fighting games don’t belong on handhelds as long as they don’t have good controls”. Gee, that statement excludes handhelds with good controls! How shocking….

        So lets fast forward to modern day handhelds. I don’t see games being made for the the Neo Geo handheld or say the Wonderswan color anymore, do you? No, of course not because they’re dead handhelds :P We have touch controls on the iPad, we have crappy knobs and dpad on the PSP, and don’t get me started on the DS’s controls.

        I’ll point to the other repliers comment too “best darn joystick around… especially for a handheld”. It was good for a handheld sure, but it still doesn’t compare to a good pad or arcade stick.
        If a game genre ever needed a precision controller, it’s vs fighting games.

    • Apollonis

      Oho, but I think the point of that was that you can’t have everything be “serious” all the time and expect it to survive and thrive; from what I’ve played of Blaz on PSP it’s actually quite fun as long as you don’t feel a strong desire to count frames or anything. (and even if you do.. well, I wouldn’t know)

      I’m sure they’ll continue putting stuff on whatever systems they can, no reason to limit things to only one or the other.

  • Yay, Daisuke! He’s a cool guy and it’s always fun to grill him on GG haha XD Good article :3

    • Apollonis

      Oh I see, rubbing our faces in the fact that you can “grill” him anytime you want, eh? All right, we get it.

      :P (you have a sweet job)

  • I’m glad Arc System Works is still here, dishing out new fighters. Now, while Arcana Heart 3 gets bashed for NOT being Marvel VS Capcom 2, its system got me interested to it.

  • RagnaXBL

    Arc vs SNK PLZ

    • BadenBadenPrinny

      That would be godlike

      • Guest

        Groove on Fight, GG, BB, AH3 vs SNK charatcers

    • PrinceHeir

      oh yes please :D

      that would be the Dream Match of the Decade O_O

  • mikanko

    Dear SNK,

    Let Arc System Works port KoF XIII =/


    The only chance people will get to play your game

    • Kris

      Man, I never even considered that. I wouldn’t mind Arc and SNK working together at all! That would be delightful, especially with Arc’s netcode and knack for presentation.

      • mikanko

        It’s pretty much the first thing I thought of when Arc got to publish AH3. It’s just I kinda think the people at the head of SNK don’t seem to care enough to have the same thought since their game division seems to lose money and pachinko is the only thing keeping them afloat.

        Even though it’s been more or less confirmed through rumor that KoFXIII is getting a home port this fall where there aren’t other fighters being released, the fact the producer for KoF XIII quit his job, and the port is supposedly being outsourced gives me very little confidence. ><

    • For all I know, SNK is going to need all the support they can get. They’re one of the few gaming development companies I really, really want to redeem themselves. :(

  • Quite the informative and knowledgeable fellow. It seems he actually understands gamers and the scene at the moment. He also seems very down to earth. Daisuke and ASW make a great team!

  • Aiddon

    Ah Daisuke, definitely one of the most unique composers around

  • AnimeRemix

    I still wouldn’t mind seeing a Blazblue X Guilty Gear game…

    I’m interested and what other types of things they’ll try out in the future…

  • MisterDandylion

    This was an excellent article! I’m a Huge fan of Guilty Gear – in case you idn’t notice my avatar- (Order Sol: “YAMADA!!!” “GUN FLARE!!!”).

    Still, I have a question: Where’s my Jam/Litchi crossover cat-fight!? xD
    Or What about Rachel vs Slayer? Ky vs Jin anyone?

    When I grow up I wanna be like Daisuke-san! :D

  • Guest

    what sucks is that this game is online only so not only do I have to wait tillPSN is back up, but I cant bring a copy over to my friends house to play

  • xxx128

    Fighting games died when yoshiki okamoto left capcom.

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