Get the full interview below.
—During the event you said that this is a completely new Guilty Gear title, not a sequel. Does that mean it doesn’t fall in line with the numbered titles?
Ishiwatari: “It isn’t yet announced whether it’s a numbered title or not. The reason for that is because it’s at the stage where we are still determining what this new title should include. It might be a numbered title, it might not.”
Katano: “I can confirm that it is not part of the Xrd series.”
Ishiwatari: More than calling it a new Guilty Gear title, I’d rather emphasize that this title is a new fighting game by Arc System Works.
—Regarding the Xrd series, would you say it concluded with Rev2?
Ishiwatari: “Game-wise, you could consider it the conclusion. The story continues as it is.”
Katano: “There are no plans to update the Rev2 game version in the future. I’d like to do something as a follow up for those who are currently playing, but I cannot promise anything at this time.”
—Looking at the trailer, it’s easy to see that the visuals have been powered up. As a fighting game, are there any big changes to the system side?
Ishiwatari: “As a fighting game, compared to Guilty Gear more so than the Xrd series, I think that the response will be that the system has changed significantly.”
—In today’s announcement, four characters including May were revealed. I imagine you can’t confirm at this time, but about how many characters can we expect in total?
Ishiwatari: “It’s all being rebuilt, so as it is, we’re working on it. I’m not sure all the characters will be introduced from the timing of the game’s release.”
Katano: “I’m sure that many are curious to know who will appear from Rev2, but we are making this from square one as a completely new title. No parts of previous titles are being re-appropriated, so I’d keep that in mind when anticipating the roster. We want to meet everyone’s expectations as much as possible.”
—In the trailer, there is a completely new character with dreadlocks, what can you tell us about him?
Ishiwatari: “We introduced that character in part to show something entirely unseen before and appeal to the fact that this is a completely new title. I can’t say much more than that other than he has some connection to the previous Guilty Gear history.”
—Many recent Arc System Works titles include a support system for beginners. Will there be some sort of system in this title as well for first time players?
Ishiwatari: “As for having support for beginners, when there are individual explanations, it means that a game is difficult to begin with. Game-wise, I am considering a system that doesn’t require that sort of support. Previous Guilty Gear titles have systems that are complex and numerous; I am developing this game by starting with a clean slate and re-imagining from zero.”
Katano: “Rather than do something aimed at beginners, we are leaning closer to something that is just simple. As I can’t speak concretely, my comments are conceptual, but instead of the structures that other Arc System Works titles have used to support beginners, I think it’s possible for this title to do something different that a broader spectrum of players can play.”
Ishiwatari: “As for making it simple, maybe it’s easier to think of it as taking an approach to shape up the game itself. I’m only saying that entry is simple; not that we are cutting the depth of the game. As we have previously, we want to make this a profound fighting game.”
Katano: “I think it’d be great if we could wipe out the impression that it appears difficult. I think most conventional games have button mash combo systems, which therefore makes them fighting games. But it’s not a situation where if we include that kind of system, we’re good on calling it a fighting game. Even with button mash combos, it doesn’t look easy to those who don’t play fighting games and they may not be sure what is taking place. I want to make sure that players who don’t usually play fighting games can see this and understand what’s going in this title.”
Ishiwatari: “That’s our keyword lately.”
Katano: “It’s currently under development, so everything hasn’t been determined yet, but compared to Arc System Works’ current approach, I’d like to do something different and make a game that will appeal to a broader audience.”
Ishiwatari: “When originally working on the Guilty Gear series, there were points of contention and we couldn’t do something because it was Guilty Gear and we knew it [wasn’t on brand]. Since this is all new, we are amidst revisiting those points to see if we can find solutions.”
Katano: “Even here in Japan, players who have been playing for a long time were strong from the starting line even when a new numbered title came out, that’s the way Guilty Gear has been until now. We aren’t intentionally trying to negate that, however if this completely new title sells, there’s the thought that it’d be better to have a game system that sets an even playing field for a wide variety of players.”
—What kind of new challenges and objectives have you encountered with this new title?
Ishiwatari: “Rather than individual parts, I feel like the game itself is a challenge. With Guilty Gear, until now it was just a matter of considering how to power it up. However, I am taking a stance where we are constructing this title from square one and considering as if everything Guilty Gear brings to the table was temporarily gone but the things that were good remain.”
Katano: “The Guilty Gear series and other Arc System Works games have mostly approached the Japanese market and have been strong titles among Japanese gamers. With this title, I want to challenge approaching an even wider international audience with it’s game system and promotion. I don’t intend for it to be a game that appeals only to original Guilty Gear players or those who were born and raised playing in an arcade. I’d like it to be a game that you can play fairly on any device.”
Ishiwatari: “Guilty Gear until now has mainly been an arcade game and many people play it with a fight stick, and that’s the standard that we developed it with. However, shifting our focus abroad, there are a lot of players who use a regular controller instead of the fight stick. So more than before we are thinking, ‘Well, how will this play on the regular controller?’ Because of the competitive nature of what we were thinking about, the more we delve in, the more difficult it became. In this Guilty Gear, we decided to not focus the competitiveness on doing difficult combos.”
If we delve into it, the difficult thing becomes the competitiveness involved, and it may stop the competing with difficult combos of current Guilty Gear.”
—May appeared in the recent trailer, and it looked like some time had passed and she is more mature. Time-wise, does the story take place after Rev2?
Ishiwatari: “It’s not that the time period has changed, but the design has changed. As for the world setting, it continues from past titles, and the story doesn’t take place in the distant future. The story takes place after Rev2.”
—One of the things that stands out about Guilty Gear is the musical composition and background music, will that be the same for this title as well?
Katano: “The theme song this time was thanks to Naoki Hashimoto, the same as with Xrd. Ishiwatari is in charge of music as well.”
Ishiwatari: “Since the designs have been tweaked, there may be some differences.”
—The most exciting scene from the trailer was when the characters got blown away and the stage change. Considering past Arc System Works titles, I suspect that this is not just for show and has a systematic purpose. Would this be correct?
Ishiwatari: “Our specialty is to put everything into the balance and philosophy of a fighting game. This is surely not just for show.”
—There’s going to be a playable demo at ARC Revo America 2019. Can you tell us what will be there?
Katano: “It won’t have all the features, but you can get an overall feel of the game. Please look forward to future news regarding which characters you will be able to use. Also, while we have announced that it will be released for PlayStation 4, it is not a PlayStation 4-exclusive title. For more information such as other hardware, please look forward to further news in the future.”
New Guilty Gear is due out for PlayStation 4 in 2020.