Hello and thanks for reading "Developer's Backyard." This is Akira Katano, Director of Guilty Gear -Strive-.
I'd like to thank you all for the many responses to Volume 1.
(Please read Volume 1 here if you haven't already.)
As our goal is to create a dialogue between us here at Arc System Works and all of you, this time we'll be sharing the latest information about our developmental intent and our direction going forward.
About Roman Cancels
Before we get into answering your questions and comments, I'd like to introduce a crucial system mechanic in this game, the Roman Cancel.
What is a Roman Cancel?
As the name implies, a Roman Cancel allows you to "cancel" your character's move.
You can use it in many situations to get different benefits as you make your next move, in exchange for using meter.
Effects of Roman Cancels
Now, let's look at the different effects and uses of Roman Cancels depending on the situation.
In Guilty Gear -Strive-, when you activate Roman Cancel, a shock wave comes out around your character that slows down the movement of your opponent if they are in range.
Judging the distance between you and your opponent is key to mastering Roman Cancels.
When activated as you hit the opponent, the shock wave will cause the opponent to bounce up slowly, making it easy to combo into moves that wouldn't normally connect.
The shock wave comes out even when you're not attacking.
In this case, the shock wave doesn't blow the opponent back, but it does temporarily slow them down.
You can take advantage of this slow down to beat your opponent's attack, or make good use of moves that are usually too slow on start-up.
When used before an attack hits or as it ends, you can cancel the recovery of the move.
This also slows down the opponent if the shock wave touches them.
This means you can counter the opponent if they were trying to punish you.
When activated while blocking an attack, the shock wave will push the opponent back, giving you a chance to get out of a sticky situation.
You can get the upper hand in any situation, both on offense and defense, just by making good use of the Roman Cancel mechanic.
Next, I'd like to introduce some trickier uses of the mechanic, for those of you who are veterans to the series or fighting games as a whole.
Techniques Using Roman Cancel
The slow down from Roman Cancels lasts until the clock shown above the character's head disappears.
Because the slow-down continues even after landing your attack, you can use this to launch a strong offense.
Also, if you input the motion for a dash just before the Roman Cancel activates, you will move swiftly in that direction during the Roman Cancel.
You can use this to move closer for a combo, move away to dodge an attack, or land quickly from the air.
Also, a Roman Cancel itself can be cancelled with special moves directly after activation only.
As you can move even more quickly than usual afterwards, this can speed up your offense and allow for follow-up attacks to make good use of the starter move.
These special techniques can be used simultaneously, as well.
These techniques are simply examples, however, and I'm looking forward to seeing what further discoveries the players will make.
Answering Your Questions
Next, we'd like to answer some of the comments and questions we received in response to Volume 1 of Developer's Backyard.
As with last time, Akira Katano and General Director Daisuke Ishiwatari will respond.
"I believe that the UI moving as the health bar decreases is connected with the idea of decreasing the eye movement required to check each gauge you mentioned last time. What is the idea behind this?"
Our goal was to make it so that the player could check their health bar and Burst gauge in a single glance.
As a result, however, the player could no longer look at a fixed place on the screen to check their gauge, meaning they had to search for it.
We've heard your feedback and reconsidered our own thinking, so we are planning to change the UI's movement.
"In the previous interview, you mentioned that you want to create a greater degree of freedom in combos than the previous games. However, in the closed beta test, using the same move multiple times in a combo (Bandit Bringer, for example) was extremely simple and powerful, so it seemed like everyone was using the same combos. (I apologize if this impression is incorrect.) I feel this is a departure from your intent. How do you intend to correct this?"
By itself, the existence of combos including the same move more than once isn’t against our developmental intent.
We really wanted to remove the concept that, for example, “Move A only combos into Move B.”
However, in the beta test, there was almost no advantage to using complicated combos instead of simple, easier combos.
One flaw we discovered in the test was that only one combo route left an impression, and there wasn't enough to inspire players to experiment.
As far as how we will fix this, I apologize but I can't give a generalized answer.
We are continually making adjustments to many elements of the game, such as damage, proration, attack properties, meter, the impact of previous moves, as well as mechanics new to the series.
"I have a question for Mr. Ishiwatari as the character designer.
I'd like to know your intentions behind the re-designs in this game.
I'd also like to know if there’s a theme behind the design of Guilty Gear -Strive-."
"I have a question for Mr. Ishiwatari as the composer.
I’d like to know why there are so many vocal character themes in this game.
Also, are the lyrics to the character themes based on the character's feelings and perspective?"
I said this last time as well, but our intent first and foremost in making this game is to create something entirely new, rather than a continuation of previous games. This includes our direction with the music and designs as well.
The reason for changing the character designs is that it makes it clear at a single glance that this is a new series within the Guilty Gear franchise.
As for the direction behind the character designs, my goal is to make simpler designs that are easy for players to remember.
My ideal is to create designs where even if someone draws a rough sketch of them, you could tell what character they're drawing. (To be honest though, I don't think I achieved this for every character...)
Introducing vocals to the BGM is for the same reason, to make it completely new.
For me, that doesn't mean just writing new songs, but rather taking on a challenge that could create a new era for the series.
The lyrics reflect the characters' perspectives and backgrounds.
"I'm curious about these new iterations of GG characters and their moves.
Whilst some characters like Sol and Potemkin have movesets very similar to their previous incarnations, some characters like Chipp, Axl, and May have lost iconic tools and have been very much redefined as characters. Respectively I'm talking about the loss of Chipp's teleport, the loss of Axl's defensive specials like Benten, Parry, and Raiei, and the loss of May's ability to set up Mr. Dolphin to attack later.
How are you 'striving' to find a balance between something totally new, and something recognisable in regards to character playstyles?
Furthermore, can you offer insight as to why those moves and others had to be removed?"
We aren't using previous titles as a base when thinking about changing the characters' moves.
We are redefining each character from the ground up for this new game.
Naturally, the concepts behind the characters from prior titles form a basis for that redefining, but at the very least we aren't developing them with the idea of removing things from previous games.
To roughly outline some of those redefinitions,
Chipp: He has extremely fast movement, but many of his specials are risky.
Axl: He excels at long range, but is heavily at disadvantage at close range.
May: She has very simple ways to get big damage, but doesn't have many tricks.
Those are some examples.
We plan to introduce more detailed explanations of them and other characters in future volumes of Developer's Backyard.
"Can you guys talk about the new airdash?
Before you've mentioned this was an attempt to add some depth and address the issue of old airdashes requiring too much practice to react to. This goal may have been accomplished, but with how poor anti-airs seems to be in relation to the strength of jump-ins, and how many options the new air dash creates, the situation still seems skewed heavily towards aggressing in the air but now with no real regards for neutral interactions and no strong way to punish this kind of play.
Additionally, the 'feel' of the air dash just isn't as clean as the old one. Maybe it's more complex, but do you think it's worth the impact to game feel/flow?"
First of all, as for the balance between jump-ins and grounded anti-airs in the beta test, we also noticed this problem.
Specifically, jump-in attacks had relatively small hurt boxes relative to their hit boxes, making it common for jump-ins to beat out anti-airs.
We hadn’t put enough work into this aspect at the time of the test, and we are planning to extend the hurt boxes of aerial attacks downwards.
After considering the pros and cons between the intuitive feeling of old air dashes and the new mechanics in this game, we have decided that the current new direction will create something more interesting than the prior version. We're proceeding with development in that direction.
"In the Closed Beta for Guilty Gear -Strive- the wall break mechanic was an interesting addition and I quite liked the idea of rewarding the attacking player with meter while giving the losing opponent another chance by resetting neutral. However, the increased tension was often considered 'not worth it' by players, so they would try to not cause a wall break by not finishing their combo or not using certain moves. Are you considering changing the way wall breaks work in order to prevent this behaviour? Or perhaps changing the reward upon a wall break?"
To be completely honest, as of the beta test we believe that there is greater merit to breaking the wall rather than staying in the corner.
Of course, we will continue play testing, taking your feedback into consideration, and adjusting the balance before release.
However, we do not intend to completely deny the choice not to break the wall.
I feel that is one element of freedom, and "mischief" in the good sense.