Zen United just released Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus and a massive collector’s edition in Europe earlier today. Daisuke Ishiwatari, creator of Guilty Gear, tells us work on a fighting game is never finished. Before we get to the art of imbalance, Ishiwatari explains where he gets ideas for characters like Venom.
When I think of Guilty Gear and BlazBlue, both titles have a unique cast of characters. How do you come imagine designs for say Faust, Testament, or dare I say Bridget?
Daisuke Ishiwatari, creator of Guilty Gear: It’s a combination of things. Sol for example, is very much my kind of character, so he’s very close to my heart. But inspiration can come from anywhere – Venom came about when I was playing pool with friends and I thought a pool cue would make an interesting weapon. And Bridget?
Bridget was actually a very complicated character to create – she has double the frames of animation of all the other characters because of the Yo-Yo. Mori was actually working on this, and had a hard time getting the wrist action to work – to look natural. We all got Yo-Yos into the studio and spent a very long, very frustrating time trying to get the animation to work. I rejected many versions before the team got it right!
Arc System Works re-released different versions of Guilty Gear, like Accent Core Plus, which is coming to Europe. How do you rebalance Guilty Gear for each iteration?
Work on a fighting game is never finished! When something is played to the extent that Guilty Gear is played, it’s inevitable that people discover tricks, combos and imbalances. We do listen to our fans and monitor closely how the community is playing, very often they are discovering things or imbalances that we have also discovered – we take these into account and decide which changes to make. It’s a difficult process, but is important if you want to keep a fighting game being enjoyed by your fans.
Sometimes however I think a little imbalance is healthy. If all the characters were perfectly balanced would this make a game more fun? I don’t think it would. There is something to be enjoyed in using a ‘weaker’ character to defeat an opponent who is using a ‘stronger’ character – I think that kind of battle can be fun.
Are there any ideas for characters that you didn’t get a chance to implement into Guilty Gear?
Yes. Very many – but I think that’s normal for any fighting game! The process of deciding on characters can get quite heated and people can get very attached to them. In the end all characters go through a number of changes, or rejections before the final roster is agreed.
While the graphic style and basic combo system draw players into Guilty Gear, the game is quite deep. How do you balance between having a rich fighting system and making a game accessible?
Guilty Gear is a difficult game to play, with many systems to master. When we balanced the game and made revisions, we listened to our fanbase and made changes we wanted to make – which was to make a very technical, hardcore fighter. This was our intention. I don’t think you can have it both ways. BlazBlue has a good balance I think of being easy to pick up, but still having a depth for more dedicated players to explore. Will the next Guilty Gear be easier? No, I don’t think so – it will be a difficult game. But, I would like to implement systems like a beginner mode to help new players get started.
Crossovers, in all forms, are quite popular. Have you ever considered to perhaps do a BlazBlue or Guilty Gear crossover with a different franchise?
People’s desire to see it happen has definitely been noted at Arc and of course, it has been discussed – but whether it will happen? If enough people request it… you never know!
I have to ask for all the Guilty Gear fans. What’s the future of the series? Will we ever see another game? Learn more about "That man"? Or even a Guilty Gear HD title?
We recently went to Europe for the World Game Cup (Gaming Tournament held in Cannes, France) and Arc System Clash (An Arc System Works event and tournament held in London back in March) and we spoke to many of our fans, and this question was asked many times – it’s great to see that the passion for Guilty Gear is still strong! Let’s just say that you won’t be disappointed! When that new Guilty Gear will come? I honestly don’t know – not because I can’t tell you, but because I really don’t know – but it will happen eventually!