Guilty Gear 2020's First Gameplay is Receiving Mixed Reactions

Guilty Gear 2020's First Gameplay is Receiving Mixed Reactions

It looks stunning, but system changes have some feeling wary.

The new version of Guilty Gear will be playable later this month, and so last night, Arc System Works debuted its new look for the game. It's unsurprisingly gorgeous, but some players are concerned with some placeholder UI elements that seem to indicate what the new direction of Guilty Gear looks like.

First, Arc System Works unveiled the last two characters that will be part of its upcoming six-character demo. Alongside Sol Badguy, Ky Kiske, May, and Axl Low, two more series mainstays are joining the fray: ninja-turned-president Chipp Zanuff and revolutionary grappler Potemkin.

But what Guity Gear fans and fighting game players have been talking about isn't just the new fighters, but the live stream that accompanied the announcement, where the devs answered a few questions and showed off the actual gameplay of the new game.

The UI alone has a few pretty startling shifts from fighting game convention. You can see the character portraits, rather than static on either end of the players' health bars, are attached to the tail of their health and slide down, indicating the remaining health each player has for the round. The character select screen lays out each fighter by their own playstyle as well; Sol and Ky are Balance fighters, Chipp holds down the Speed category, May and Potemkin bring their own takes on Power, and Axl gets his own spot in Tricky. Each one also gets a star rating for how easy to use they are.

It looks very unlike Guilty Gear, but the playstyles and ease-rating will probably help fresh players looking for a main. | Arc System Works

Gameplay-wise, it's still very Guilty Gear on the surface, with Roman Cancels and air throws, but many of its smaller systems and mechanics have had changes introduced. This video, via HiFight, translates the Japanese stream and highlights some of those changes, like the option to dash with a button press and no chip kill or Danger Time.

It's certainly more cinematic in general, with some counter-attack options panning the camera around and wall combos breaking the screen, resulting in a screen transition.

Reactions are unsurprisingly mixed, though it's worth remembering that Arc System Works is saying much is still subject to change. There will be a closed beta in spring 2020 for the game and it'll have the six-fighter demo playable at the upcoming ArcRevo finals in Irvine, CA, but fans are already posting up some reactions online.

Guilty Gear (2020) is looking like a very interesting new step, but I'm still a little cautious on some aspects. There is some undercurrent of fear about oversimplification I can understand, because Guilty Gear's layered complexities have been its calling card in the scene, but making the game a little more accessible isn't a bad thing.

I also trust that the wheat can get sorted from the chaff to make an excellent game. As Jiyuna noted above, Xrd Sign also didn't look like a Guilty Gear game at first, and it became an incredible entry in the long-running series. Let's see how it looks next year, after some hands-on time and a few player feedback sessions.

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Eric Van Allen

News Editor

Eric is a writer and Texan. He's a former contributor to sites including Compete, Polygon, Waypoint, and the Washington Post. He loves competitive games, live music, and travel.

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