Arc System Works announced it was working on a new entry in the Guilty Gear franchise at Evo 2019. Last night, series director Daisuke Ishiwatari published a short letter explaining how the new Guilty Gear is looking to branch out.
The letter, posted to Arc System Works' Twitter, says the Guilty Gear team has disassembled Guilty Gear into the pieces that make it "unique and charismatic," in order to do a "complete reconstruction." Ishiwatari says Guilty Gear is being developed with one goal in mind: to create a game that both new and existing players will want to play.
"The core concept this time is unlike those of the past titles," Ishiwatari writes. "It is neither 'evolution' nor 'returning to the roots;' nor is it an addition or subtraction of elements to the existing title. What we're pursuing is a brand new experience for Guilty Gear."
It's an exciting undertaking that Ishiwatari says is a "full-frontal confrontation with the essence of the Fighting Game genre," but it also might make longtime Guilty Gear fans shift uncomfortably in their seats. Some point to the lower barrier of entry in games like Dragon Ball FighterZ and BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle, compared to the notoriously complex Guilty Gear. Others point to other issues they feel should be higher priority, like better netplay.
The Guilty Gear director knows it's a high-risk move, but he seems confident in his team's ability and resources. "Although we do not know what this path awaits us ahead, we as the development team look forward to the future of this never-ending pursuit," Ishiwatari writes.
Just from the short glimpse we got at Evo 2019, it's clear that Guilty Gear (2020) already looks gorgeous. And while the most recent Guilty Gear iteration-Xrd Rev 2-only came out in 2017, Arc System Works has been busy in the in-between. It's possible that working on games like the excellent Dragon Ball FighterZ encouraged the developers to explore new frontiers, rather than stick to the blueprint. As someone who plays a lot of Arc System Works games, I'm interested in whatever a dissection of the genre might look like from them.