In yet further confirmation that the once-esteemed developer has abandoned their own creative integrity in favor of making a quick buck, ArcSys CEO Minoru Kidooka and CCO Daisuke Ishiwatari have confirmed that the future of the fighting game studio will center on appealing to “global standards”.
Kidooka and Ishiwatari laid bare their plans for ArcSys during an interview given to Forbes’ Ollie Barder in honor of the Dragon Ball FighterZ developer’s 35th anniversary.
Asked by Barder for their thoughts on the evolution of the Guilty Gear series as a whole, Ishiwatari bluntly admitted, “I’m so sorry for all the navel gazing answers, but I don’t consider the series to have evolved.”
“Of course, over time, technology, accessibility, game size, etc. have improved,” explained the series’ creator. “However, the highest priority concept for Guilty Gear has been ‘ensnare your attention at first sight’, and ‘the more you engage, the more you discover.’ The changes to expression and plays are the result of each era’s attempt at protecting those concepts. However, as a creator, I have had several changes to the way I think about games.”
“In the first game, capturing the feel of an action game, rather than a fighting game, was important to me,” recalled Ishiwatari. “When the series arrived to the arcades for the very first time, my point of importance was to make an immaculate ‘tool’ of a fighting game. And after hearing stories of players who have made both friendly and romantic connections through this game and learning about the overseas user community, I have come to recognize that games are really a ‘hymn to humanity’ that can connect people around the world.”
To this end, both executives then expressed extreme gratitude towards the series’ fans, particularly highlighting how their support is one of, if not the major reason for its continued existence.
“The fighting games our company makes have been blessed for a long time to have very good players,” praised Ishiwatari. “They continually support our work and were very active in expanding the community. Fan art is one such example of that. Even when we are unable to provide sufficient marketing materials, the exposure of fans’ art to the public provides opportunities for people to know our games. I believe Guilty Gear is what it is today thanks to the accumulated efforts of the fans.”
“We brought Guilty Gear into the world in 1998,” added Kidooka. “However, it is precisely the fans and players who have nurtured us over the proceeding 25 years. We intend to continue taking reckless challenges so that our fans will continue to grow and continue with us.”
“In Japan, there is a strong game arcade culture, and the Guilty Gear community has grown and developed within this culture,” the ArcSys exec continued. “Now, there are global tournaments held by the fighting game community and the Arc World Tour exists within that community. In this sense, we would like to continue to hold such gatherings for players and fans to enjoy within the fighting game community.”
However, despite this praise of the series’ established fanbase, Ishiwatari would undercut his own respect for them by announcing the one thing no veteran fan of any IP wants to hear, declaring “I don’t believe the definition of esports is fully shared by people, countries or organizations yet. But if there is to be a future where video games are treated on the same level as physical sports, then at the very least they should not be in violation of global standards of compliance.”
“Violent expression is not uncommon, especially in competitive action games, fighting games included,” he argued. “From the portrayal of characters to the treatment of real countries, to the world setting, to even a single line of dialogue, expressions that hurt anyone should not be the goal.”
“As Guilty Gear has a relatively strong authorial style, it might be difficult to fit these criteria exactly,” conceded Ishiwatari. “And this may not be a sincere response to those who love these games. But presumably, most games are not made with the intention of doing harm. Tolerance for expression, recognition that it is entertainment, and dialogue about the issues themselves are important processes for me right now. At the same time, we believe that we should continue pursuing what is needed for the best gaming experience.”
Curiously, in stark contrast to Ishiwatatri’s deference to ‘global standards’, Kidooka would assert in follow-up, “We are grateful to have been able to work with a variety of companies over the years and will continue to grow as a company that never forgets its original intentions, continuing to take up new challenges, and never betraying player expectations.”
ArcSys’ next title, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising, is currently on track to release at some point in 2023.
Ahead of the EVO 2023 tournament, Rising will be holding an open beta. Sign-ups open on July 5th and close the 16th, while the actual beta itself starts on the 26th.