Guilty Gear -Strive- : Roundtable reveals new character, new gameplay, a release date, and more

Over the weekend, fighting game developer Arc System Works had a multi-hour roundtable discussion to talk about their new flagship fighting game: Guilty Gear -Strive-. Originally slated to come out at the end of this year, development was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the team was willing to talk a new release date, new characters, mechanics, and more.

New Character – Giovanna

A special operations unit bodyguard for the president of the United States, Giovanna is a woman who sounds rude all the time despite having well intentions. Also, she has a wolf spirit companion who channels its back legs through her own back legs and her neat wolf-paw shoes. The result, a character who kicks… a lot.

She is very clearly a mix-up oriented rush down character. She has a fantastic crossup, attacks from dashing, the ability to jump low to the ground to do instant aerials, and much more. In fact, she seems to play a lot like a King of Fighters character, and her character design very clearly takes inspiration from prominent female KOF roster members such as Vanessa, Blue Mary, and King.

Gameplay reveal – Nagoriyuki

In fact, this philosophy of crafting characters to be reminiscent of other fighting games seems to extend to the last character reveal of Nagogriyuki. Nago cannot air dash nor can he run, but he does have a huge sword with a ton of range that hits like a truck, making him something of a Samurai Shodown analogue. Not only that, but his special moves have a restriction.

Nago is a vampire and thus can use a variety of blood magic to teleport, create blood clones, and otherwise increase his mobility and attack repertoire. However, using a special move fills his “blood” meter one stock. It’s actually a bit of a misnomer calling it a blood meter, it’s actually more like a rage or frenzy meter. Basically, if Nago taxes himself too much, he will go beserk from lack of blood. Thus, he cannot spam his special moves, limited to about three before landing normal hits in order to suck the opponent’s blood and reduce his own meter.

It’s not entirely clear what going berserk does, but despite it being a “power-up” it’s more of a detriment to his gameplay style. In the top-level gameplay showcase, he did not go berserk once, and that’s apparently the gameplan.

General Gameplay

It appears as if character gatling options are still limited, by design. Combos are short, hovering around four or so hits. Corner combos, however, are more deadly averaging about eight hits with extra wall-splat hit-stun. A counter-hit corner combo can take off 50 percent or more.

The game will be designed to be played on a standard gamepad, though arcade sticks will still be usable.

The company will be completely changing the lobby system and netcode from the first beta. They have assured us that the next beta will be much better. 

Arcsys included a half-hour long pro-player showcase. They allowed pros to play for two days before participating in this small round of exhibition matches.

New Character Teaser – Anji Mito

Series staple Anji Mito is coming back to Guilty Gear as he was shown in a short teaser after the Giovanna trailer.

UI Overhaul

The UI has been changed to be more readable. Now, the burst meter no longer moves along with the life bar. It sits right underneath it next to a timer. Underneath that is a character’s RISC gauge, though it is very small and could use a bit of a signal boost. The UI, in general, has been “raised” from the screen, getting prominent black outlines and stylistic flourishes. It’s still, unfortunately, hard to read for colorblind people.

Release Date and Release Versions

Arcsys was finally comfortable giving the public a release date. The game will be available April 9, 2021, internationally. However, it will also be offered in three different versions. The standard version will be available April 9 while the Deluxe and Ultimate editions will open up April 6 (for PlayStation platforms only, PC users will have to wait).

The standard version will get you just the game, that’s it. However, if you pre-order this or any other version of the game, you will get special recolors for Sol and Ky. Sol gets a Ky color and Ky gets a Sol color, and it even changes the color of their flame and lightning attacks to make it look like Sol is using lightning and Ky is using fire.

Ordering the Deluxe Edition will grant you a season pass 1, which will come with five DLC characters over time. It will also give you five new costumes for each character, two new stages, and a new chapter for the game’s story mode.

Ordering the Ultimate Edition will give you the season pass, a digital soundtrack and art book, and special costumes for each character exclusive to the Ultimate Edition.

Note that early access for Deluxe and Ultimate editions will be slightly limited. For example, you cannot play the Story Mode past the prologue. You will also only be able to use 13 of the game’s base 15 character roster, which is every character that has been revealed up until today.

There will be another beta for GGS sometime in early 2021. It will be console only, unfortunately. Anyone who has pre-ordered the game on PlayStation platforms will gain access a day early… whenever the beta date is announced. More details about the beta will be coming in the near future.

Extra bells and whistles

Arcsys going all out for the GGS release. They will be releasing a series of decals meant for stick or PC customization themed after the GG series of games. In addition, they are teaming up with Fairy Tail to release two perfumes based on Sol and Ky. When you wear them, you will “know the smell of the game.” They will also be selling watches, portraits, tote bags, and many more. You can brand yourself out to the Guilty Gear series.

Hidden Info

In a trailer, one piece of gameplay made the community go crazy. We see a shot of Sol calling in Ky as an assist like he would in a tag game. This has lead people to speculate about whether or not there is a 2v2 tag mode or a “dramatic battle” mode. This would change things up in an immense way, and might even change the tournament standard for GG.


The plot will take place after the plot of Revelator. Arcsys, however, wants this to be a jumping-on point for people who are new to the Guilty Gear franchise, and thus are making the entirety of the original Guilty Gear XRD story available to watch on their YouTube channel as a movie. It is unclear if the new story mode will have gameplay attached since the last game had a completely cinematic story mode.

Watch the entire roundtable here: