Last week Arc System Works had a livestream showcasing gameplay of the upcoming Guilty Gear game (Guilty Gear 2020, since there has not been an official title presented). We saw the presentation of two returning characters (Axl Low and Potemkin) and a bunch of gameplay and developer input on the game changes and mechanics.
HiFight (@HifightTH on twitter) made a summary of the new game system on his twitter.
It is clear that this early-stage presentation of the game has raised many questions amongst fans, mainly due to the latest trend in fighting game design philosophy of “simplifaction”.
Some of the changes for the new Guilty Gear seem to follow that trend, like the changes to gatling combinations (you can no longer gatling from P or K attacks) or the changes to air and ground recoveries. Most of these have left a bitter taste in casual and pro players alike, arguing that “dumbing” down the game was detrimental.
However, just because something is simple, it does not mean it is not complex or deep (think of Einstein’s E = mc², a simple formula that holds a massive significance behind it); simple does not mean less complex, it means less complicated, and this seems to be the perspective from where some fighting game developers stand (to various degrees of success and/or acceptance) with one clear goal at mind: attract new players.
Guilty Gear, more than many other fighting games, has always been perceived as a rather difficult game, with daunting mechanics and player interactions, but it still managed to get a solid fanbase. It is then understood why some of the changes shown received some rough backlash. Yet, changing things up is not necessarily bad, it just means that we have to learn from square one, which is the whole point of fighting games, or any competitive game for that matter: learning how to become better than your opponent and your past self.
Many fighting games in the recent times that have tried this simplification method (although I agree is not the most efficient way to go in order to attract new faces to the game), have shown that in spite of having one system removed, the level of nuances are held elswhere and (due to the nature of fighitng games themselves) the games have retained their layers (again with varying degrees of success and acceptance).
In Guilty Gear 2020‘s case, some of the franchise’s core mechanics remain (instant air dashes, roman cancels, etc.), and we have to understand that this is not the final product that we will get next year, so as long as the game retains its identity and remains fun (as Arc System Works have done for the last decade), these changes can be embraced in order to enjoy ourselves while playing.
Players will have the chance to test the showcased version of the game during the ARCREVO America 2019 on November 15-17.
For more on Guilty Gear, check out our previous coverage.