Guilty Gear is a franchise consisting mostly of 2D fighting games, starting with the original Guilty Gear (later subtitled "The Missing Link") in 1998 for the Sony Playstation. The series was created and designed by Daisuke Ishiwatari, who said he wanted to create a fighting game where every character had a unique look and fighting style, hoping to appeal to anime fans as well as traditional video game players.
After leaving vocational school, Ishiwatari pitched his idea to the head of developer Arc Systems Works, later leading a team of 12 people to create the first Guilty Gear game. The franchise went on a brief hiatus after 2007, while Ishiwatari and ASW debuted a similar but new franchise named BlazBlue, though they continued updating the XX line of titles. However, the main Guilty Gear franchise re-appeared in 2014 with the release of Xrd.
In 2180, magic is used as a power source for everything and former weapons for mankind, known as Gears, have turned on their creators. The Sacred Order of Holy Knights rose up to defend humanity from these Gears with their own magic, and managed to defeat their leader, a Gear named "Justice." However, a new Gear named Testament planned to free Justice, so a tournament was held to bring forth strong fighters who would defeat this threat. A bounty hunter named "Sol Badguy" managed to defeat both Testament and Justice, but problems remained.
Several months later, a new "Commander Gear" named Dizzy was spotted and a bounty placed on her head for whoever could defeat her before she could lead another insurrection by the Gears. However, upon discovering that Dizzy was a little girl, Sol couldn't bring herself to kill her. Ky Kiske later found her, and turned her over to infamous pirates Johnny and May for safety.
Afterwards, with Dizzy supposedly dead to the world, more shadowy figures began plotting behind the scenes, including the "Post-War Administration Bureau" (PWAB) and the supposed creator of the Gears known only as "That Man."
Guilty Gear 2 introduced the "Baptisma 13 Incident," where a woman known only as "Valentine," one who bore a strong resemblance to Sol's former lover, tried to access a Cube created by That Man and reshape the world according to the will of her "Mother." Valentine controlled an army of "Servants" and threatened the new country of Illyria, whose king was none other than Ky. When Sol and Sin, Ky's son, rushed to the rescue, Valentine brainwashed Sin and tried to use him to access the cube. However, she was later beaten by Sol and company, even after turning into a massive Gear, before vanishing.
Despite her disappearance, more Valentines appeared in the world. Ramlethal.Valentine released a message publicly declaring war on all of humanity, while the PWAB quietly struck a deal with her to remake the world in their image. After uncovering the secret of resurrecting a dead body to life, they began their plan while Ramlethal wiped out an entire city as Sol and Ky could only watch.
Guilty Gear (The Missing Link)
Released in 1998 exclusively for the Sony Playstation, this game was the first of the whole franchise. GG consisted of the first ten characters in the series (plus three more that could be unlocked in Versus Mode). It also introduced the "Tension" meter, which could be used for super attacks, or gambled entirely on an Instant Kill move that would instantly end the match if it hit the opponent.
Guilty Gear X
A sequel to the original, released on the Sega NAOMI arcade hardware. Added four new characters to the game, while removing Kliff and Justice who died at the conclusion of the original game. GGX saw the returning cast's movesets drastically changed, and had a total overhaul of the gameplay mechanics, introducing the base of what the series would become. Notably, this game introduced the "Roman Cancel" mechanic, allowing a player to instantly cancel their move halfway through its animation to defend or use another attack instead. Also introduced was the "Faultless Defense" maneuver, where all damage from an attack could be negated if blocked just as it hit the character. Guilty Gear X received ports to the PC and Dreamcast.
A console port, Guilty Gear X Plus, was later released for the PS2, which saw Kliff and Justice return as unbalanced bonus console characters. This port also introduced a "Survival" mode, where the player was expected to fight through as many AI-controlled enemies as possible on one bar of health.
An updated release, titled Guilty Gear X ver 1.5, was made for the Sammy Atomiswave arcade hardware, and received a limited release. This version saw more overhauls of the mechanics, bringing the game more in line with its sequel, Guilty Gear XX.
There was also a portable port for the Game Boy Advance titled Guilty Gear X: Advance Edition.
Guilty Gear X2/XX
The most prolific version of the main Guilty Gear games, X2 has gone through no less than five updates, beginning with the original X2 (subtitled "The Midnight Carnival" in some editions). X2 contained 23 playable characters (3 of which had to be unlocked for versus mode play), including the original cast lists from previous GG games and four new characters. X2 introduced the "Dead Angle Attack" mechanic, allowing a defensive player to push an aggressive opponent away at the cost of half their tension meter.
X2 added another game mechanic used in many 2D fighting games since: the Burst Gauge. Doing so would allow a character to briefly "burst" the air around them and knock back the enemy, useful for defense against aggressive players. However, it could only be used once each round, and would need to fill up again before it could be used a second time.
The home version of X2 added additional modes to the game, such as:
- "M.O.M." or "Medal of Millionaires": Players earn medals by performing certain combos on AI enemies, attempting to get as many as possible.
- Mission Mode: Up to 50 different "missions" where the player must win under specific conditions, such as fighting whiile poisoned, or only being able to harm the enemy with super attacks.
#Reload was the first update to the game. Along with re-balancing the fighters, it re-tooled Robo-Ky into an original character, selectable in the arcade release and suitable for competitive play. It also doubled the number of levels available in Mission and Survival modes.
Slash was the second update to the XX series, adding two more characters to the playable roster: A.B.A, from the Guilty Gear Isuka spin-off, and Order-Sol, a past incarnation of Sol-Badguy with a different appearance and moveset.
Accent Core saw more balance adjustments, but also saw major UI changes, and re-recorded all characters' voice clips, replacing some voice actors with new ones. This update also saw new mechanics, including Slashback, a defensive mechanic acting as a parry. Another new mechanic was the Force Break, a new set of powerful special moves costing 25% of a character's Tension meter, allowing for more offensive options for meter usage.
Accent Core Plus was a console release provided as a bug fix to correct many of the errors in the prior porting job. As a bonus to purchasers, it re-added Justice and Kliff, albeit without balancing them for competitive play. Previous gameplay modes such as Survival and Mission mode were further enhanced, and a revamped Story mode continued the story from earlier XX titles. A new "Gallery" mode was added, including new never-before-seen illustrations for the game. An alternate voice option for Sol Badguy and Holy Order Sol was added, too, allowing players to choose either their original voice actor (series creator Daisuke Ishiwatari), or their new voice actor from Guilty Gear 2: Overture.
Accent Core Plus R was the last updated version of the game, about 10 years after the original X2 was released in arcades, and five years after the release of Guilty Gear 2: Overture. All characters, including Kliff and Justice, were re-balanced for fair play. The HD console ports of Accent Core received this game as a free downloadable update.
Guilty Gear 2: Overture
A hybrid of the Real-Time Strategy genre, and the Fighting and Action genres released on the Xbox 360 in 2007. This game saw the series transition to 3D for the first time. Taking place five-years after the original Guilty Gear, Sol and Ky are the only previously playable characters to still be selectable. Players pick characters each with unique movesets, and unique Servants to command, and must take control of strategic points around the map to allow them to create more Servants. Upon being defeated, players respawn by their Masterghosts, a defenseless main base, in exchange for some of its lifebar. Victory is achieved by depleting your opponent's Masterghost's lifebar to zero this way, or by attacking it directly. The game features online versus play (both 1 vs. 1, and 2 vs. 2) via Xbox Live, along with a story campaign. The game also received an additional playable character via Downloadable Content.
Guilty Gear Xrd
After Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R saw the series as a 2D arcade fighting game one last time, Guilty Gear Xrd returned the series to 3D. It is the first 3D fighting game in the series. Xrd was released to arcades in 2014. The game was developed in Unreal Engine 3, but effort was made to port the existing system into UE3 in order to preserve much of the feel of the older games.
Many previous gameplay elements were removed, in an attempt to simplify the game. Slashbacks were replaced by the Blitz Shield mechanic, which has a larger window for success and is easier to capitalize off of. Force Breaks were removed entirely, leaving Overdrives as the only moves to cost Tension meter. In exchange, Roman Cancels could now be executed even if the opponent wasn't hitstun, with the addition of Yellow and Purple Roman Cancels (different from the Yellow Roman Cancels included in Accent Core's Survival mode). Another new mechanic is Danger Time, which triggers once per round randomly after two attacks clash, in which attacks have massive increases in damage and hitstun for a short time.
The initial arcade release had a playable cast of 12 returning characters, and Bedman, a brand new character. Ramlethal Valentine was initially an unplayable boss character, but was added in playable form to an arcade update. Sin Kiske was added to the console release, with Elphelt Valentine and Leo Whitefang added as DLC.
The home version saw the addition of several modes, such as a Story mode, Combo Challenges, an in-depth Tutorial, and a revamped M.O.M. mode, which saw the previous game's M.O.M. mode combined with elements of Accent Core's Survival mode.
Revelator was the first update to the game, and focused on re-balancing the game's system mechanics rather than the characters themselves. Among the system changes, Blitz Shields were altered, and Overdrives can now be powered up at the cost of the player's Burst. The visual presentation was enhanced with new shaders. The initial release of Revelator saw the return of Johnny, and new character Jack-O'. Jam Kuradoberi returned in an arcade update. A character poll was held utilizing the arcade version's Player's Guild store, allowing players to earn in-game cash by playing which they could turn into votes, with the promise that the winning character would be added to the game. Dizzy won and has been added to the console and arcade roster as well as the new character Kum Haehyun.
Revelator 2 further updated the game and added two new characters to the playable roster, bringing back fan-favorite Baiken and the previously unplayable character Answer.
Guilty Gear Strive
A soft reboot of the Guilty Gear franchise and the first full new mainline title since Xrd ~SIGN~ was released in 2014.
|Guilty Gear (The Missing Link)||1998||PS1|
|Guilty Gear X||2000||ARC, DC, WIN, PS2, GBA|
|Guilty Gear X2 (The Midnight Carnival)||2002||ARC, PS2|
|Guilty Gear XX #Reload||2003||ARC, XBOX, XBL, WIN, PS2, PSP|
|Guilty Gear XX Slash||2005||ARC, PS2|
|Guilty Gear XX Accent Core||2006||ARC, PS2, WII|
|Guilty Gear 2: Overture||2007||X360, WIN|
|Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus||2008||PS2, WII, XBL, PSN|
|Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R||2012||ARC, XBL, PSN, WIN, VITA|
|Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-||2014||ARC, PS3, PS4, WIN|
|Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-||2015|
ARC, PS3, PS4, WIN
|Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2||2017|
ARC, PS3, PS4, WIN
|Guilty Gear -STRIVE-||2021|
PS4, PS5, WIN
Guilty Gear Petit
Released on the WonderSwan in 2001. A heavily simplified fighting game, based loosely off of Guilty Gear X. It received a sequel on the same platform, Guilty Gear Petit 2, later that year. This series of spin-offs featured the exclusive character Fanny, a nurse who fights with a giant syringe in a way somewhat reminiscent of Faust's giant scalpel.
Guilty Gear Isuka
A four-player fighting game-beat 'em up hybrid released in 2003 for the Sammy Atomiswave arcade hardware. Among other major system changes, characters no longer automatically turn around due to the four-player nature of the game, and the Dust button added in Guilty Gear XX has been replaced with a Turn button. Introduced the character A.B.A, who would later appear in the main series of fighting games. The console release also introduced Robo-Ky Mk II, a fully customizable fighter. Saw ports to the Playstation 2, PC, and Xbox. The Xbox version of the game was the only port to contain online play. Was added to Steam in 2014 as part of Arc System Works's ongoing effort to move their library onto the platform.
Guilty Gear Dust Strikers
A pseudo-sequel to Isuka's Arcade mode, released in 2006 on the Nintendo DS. Retained Isuka's four-player battles and manual turning. Battles take place on vertical stages spanning both of the platform's dual screens, with platforms to jump on. Robo-Ky Mk II doesn't return, but his predecessor, Robo-Ky, is customizable in the same way with moves unlocked via seven mini-games. Robo-Ky is the only of game's 21 characters to not have his own story mode, however. Dust Strikers only featured local multiplayer, not having online play in any form.
Guilty Gear Judgment
A pseudo-sequel to Isuka's side-scrolling beat em' up Boost mode, released in 2006 on the Sony Playstation Portable. In contrast to Boost mode, each character received their own story, and their movelists were heavily re-tooled for beat 'em up gameplay. The series standard Punch, Slash, Heavy Slash, and Kick buttons were replaced with Light, Medium, and Heavy attack buttons, and a Jump button, respectively. The cast was based off of the Guilty Gear XX #Reload release, however Robo-Ky was removed. The game's boss is an original character named Judgment, and is unlockable for play. Judgment featured local cooperative play.
Pro Jumper! Guilty Gear Tangent!?
Released as DSiWare in 2011, Pro Jumper! is a 2D side-scrolling platformer starring Chimaki, Sin's beloved childhood stuffed toy, and series mascot according to series creator Daisuke Ishiwatari. Chimaki attempts to get to a hot springs, but must navigate a level filled with berserk spa items, brainwashed by the mysterious "Rival." To do this, Chimaki walks, runs, jumps, spins, and attacks enemies by slapping his towel on them.
Guilty Gear Vastedge XT
A pachinko slot machine (or pachislot), also known as Pachislot Guilty Gear, released in 2013. The story continues directly after Guilty Gear 2: Overture, and features new character designs for the 15 returning characters, as well as all-new characters. The game was ported to iOS and Android mobile devices in 2015, following the release of Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-, which takes place a year after Vastedge, and directly continues its events.
2 novelizations, a manga, several drama CDs. [fill this]