Guilty Gear 2 is a serious departure from the series. Instead of being a vibrant 2D fighter, Guilty Gear 2 is a 3D tactical action game. The change was so great it made some fans wonder what Arc System Works was thinking when they were developing it. Fortunately we were able to speak with Daisuke Ishiwatari, the Creator of Guilty Gear series, to find out why. We also pulled Michael Manzanares, Producer at Aksys Games, aside to discuss the game’s system and differences from the Japanese release.
When most people think of Guilty Gear they think of 2D fighting games. Guilty Gear 2 is quite different. Why the change?
Daisuke Ishiwatari, Guilty Gear series creator at Arc System Works: I originally loved fighting games as a player, and had been greatly impressed with other companies’ fighting games, which I believe became my motive to create the GG series. Along the way to GGX2, we’d started to get a good response from the market, so as a next step we wanted to create a game that can greatly influence other companies just like they had been such a great inspiration for us. By playing European and American games like FPS, RTS, etc., I got to know there are still so many exciting games left to explore.
So, we finally redirected the ins and outs of our own fighting games and battle games to the new game system as an exciting and exhilarating battle tool called GG2.
GG2 is a battle tool that is intended for battles among players. Although it’s not a 2D fighting game, the game is full of essences of a fighting game and the game allows players to use intricate strategy as well. So, we’d love fans of 2D fighting game to give it a shot as well, especially its battle play.
How does Guilty Gear 2 fit into the Guilty Gear storyline?
DI: GG2 is officially a continuing story of the original GG and the story takes place a few years after GGX2. While GGX and GGX2 series are the sequel of the GG, GG2 is a continuation of the story from the GG series.
The Guilty Gear has tons of characters, but Guilty Gear 2 primarily focuses on Sol Badguy. What happened to Faust, Dizzy, and dare I say Bridget?
DI: Since GGX and GGX2 take place almost at the same time, and in the same world as GG2, the characters from those series continue to go on with their lives somewhere in the world as well. Them not showing up in GG2 doesn’t mean they’re dead, or disappeared.
Who is Raven?
Michael Manzanares, Producer at Aksys Games: In the Guilty Gear universe, That Man has three followers. Raven the Undying Disease is one of his trusted associates. He was first mentioned in GGXX, where it was said that he shares a link with Axl, since he also slips through time.
I saw a DLC patch made Raven playable in Japan. Does Aksys plan to release this patch in the future?
Are there plans to make any other Guilty Gear characters playable?
DI: We hope to make some of them playable in a sequel, but I’m afraid it’s still too early for us to tell.
A lot of people have seen screenshots and thought this looks like Dynasty Warriors. Tell us how Guilty Gear 2 is different from Koei’s series.
MM: Though GG2 may look like Dynasty Warriors in screenshots, it’s completely different beast in motion, gameplay, and overall objectives. In GG2, your soldiers aren’t just scenery or fodder. You must actively manage, maintain, and command them to obtain victory. If anything, it’s more accurate to say that Guilty Gear 2 has more in common with RTS games like Warcraft, particularly its Defense of the Ancients mod.
What are servants?
MM: Servants are the equivalent to units in RTS games; they function in the same way: some units are stronger than others, some units provide heals or defensive buffs, and they won’t move anywhere unless you tell them to.
Did Aksys change the servant AI from the Japanese version at all?
MM: There have been a few tweaks to some servant AI, but they were mostly balance or pathing issues.
Guilty Gear is a technical game when you get down to advanced moves like roman cancels. Is Guilty Gear 2 as complicated to learn and play?
MM: Guilty Gear 2 definitely has a learning curve to get over, but it’s not a technical hurdle like the XX series; it’s more of a mental one for micromanaging units, but that’s true for any game with RTS elements. Thankfully though, that’s what the single-player mode is for. It slowly introduces elements of the game, so you aren’t bombarded with everything all at once. It teaches you the ropes before you get into the real core of the game: online matches through Xbox LIVE. And yes, you will still have access to the more technically demanding skills like roman cancels and psych bursts; though they may have different names, they still have the same application.
Will Aksys release a Guilty Gear 2 demo on Xbox Live?
MM: Unfortunately, it wasn’t something we could do this time around.
I was reading a PDF from Arc System works with a list of new features in a Guilty Gear 2 patch. Things like a training mode, point match mode, replay mode, and a slew of other features. Are these going to be implemented in the US version of Guilty Gear 2?
MM: Yes, all of these new modes are in the US version. (Editor’s note: these improvements are the features Aksys was referring to when they mentioned new skills, and tweaks not found in the Japanese release.)
At Anime Expo you said there was a pre-order bonus that for Guilty Gear 2. Can you share what it is?
MM: The Preorder bonus is the hidden custom created for Sol Badguy, which can be found if you preorder with GameStop.
How come Guilty Gear 2is an Xbox 360 exclusive? This game looks like it could be a PlayStation 3 title too.
DI: It was easier for a small-and-mid-sized developer like us to develop a game for XBOX360 than PS3. Also, since the main feature of the game is the network battle, XBOX 360 with organized network infrastructure was considered more suitable for the game.
This GG2 was the first title that we took the overseas development into consideration and since Xbox 360 had been widely used especially in the U.S., we wanted to challenge the system.
Will the Guilty Gear series return to fighting games, maybe Guilty Gear X3, Guilty Gear XX Super Ultra Core or a brand new installment in the series?
DI: GG series as a 2D fighting game haven’t ended. We’re planning to develop both 2D and 3D series, but it’s still too early for us to disclose any information.
Images courtesy of Aksys.