Guilty Gear Strive interview: Bedman, balance, and Xbox Game Pass

Prior to Saturday's Arc World Tour Finals, Shacknews had a chance to chat with Guilty Gear Strive Producer Ken Miyauchi about Strive's latest character, determining balance changes, and what Xbox Game Pass has meant for the game.

Arc System Works

This past weekend was an exciting one for Arc System Works and the fans of the Guilty Gear series. In addition to crowning the top Guilty Gear Strive player in the world, the Arc World Tour finals was also home to the reveal for Strive's next DLC character. It's a returning character... sort of, as players were reintroduced to Bedman.

Things are a little different for Bedman since he was last seen in Guilty Gear Xrd Sign. For one thing, there's a question mark at the end of his name. The reason for that is, the person attached to Bedman is dead. That only leaves the actual bed itself as the fighter. There's some heavy backstory to this, as well as information on what players can expect from the new-look Bedman. To learn more, Shacknews spoke with Producer Ken Miyauchi just prior to Saturday's final day of competition.

Shacknews: One of the more exciting reveals that we're seeing this weekend is the announcement of Bedman coming to Strive. What is different about Bedman since the last time we saw him in Guilty Gear Xrd Sign?

Ken Miyauchi, Guilty Gear Strive Producer: [Bedman] was quite a technical character when he first came out in Guilty Gear Xrd. Now he has a different backbone when it comes to Guilty Gear Strive, because story-wise, he is kind of gone. In Guilty Gear Strive, the character will be very different and there's a lot of different backbones to it. I wish players to play the Arcade Mode to go over the Bedman story.

Gameplay-wise, so I would say. The character is not as difficult as the Xrd Bedman, but the way the character acts or moves are very unique compared with the other characters. So it does still have like a Bedman aesthetic, but it's quite a different character when he comes to Guilty Gear Strive. That's why we named the chapter Bedman with a question mark. I'm expecting players to figure out how he feels in Guilty Gear Strive.

Shacknews: We thought that Bedman's story was over with his physical death at the end of Guilty Gear Xrd Sign. What made the team want to bring him back and what makes him a good fit for the Strive roster?

Miyauchi: First of all, he is indeed in the Guilty Gear Strive Story Mode. Actually, we would say the Bedman is not the the Bedman himself. It's sort of like part of his spirit is in the bed itself. It's not like really the Bedman himself that's moving around. Because it has a part of his spirit, he tries to protect his sister, Delilah. We thought it would be interesting to put this character, this design into a battle character.

Bedman in Guilty Gear Strive

Source: Arc System Works

Shacknews: Going into the previous DLC, how have you felt about the response to Bridget and Sin and their new mechanics so far?

Miyauchi: Let me start from Season One. When we first released characters like Jack-O' and Happy Chaos, they are both very difficult-to-use characters. They're very complex and unique, but people were saying that the season pass characters were very difficult to use.

So what we decided for Season Pass 2 is to release the easier-to-access characters first. That's why Bridget and Sin were compared to Happy Chaos or Jack-O'. They are quite accessible, much simpler to play, and still have deep gameplay. We get to have a lot of players get to play that both Bridget and Sin. That met our objective, so we're happy about that.

Shacknews: As you continue to balance the game, you see a lot of the feedback about characters like Happy Chaos and Ramlethal being maybe a little too strong, whereas a character like Anji will struggle. But you also have the access to the data to see for yourself. How do you determine what to address based on both the player feedback and also what you see for yourself in the game?

Miyauchi: We've always received a lot of different player feedback. Interestingly, player feedback changes by region or where they play, especially when they have, for example, very strong Happy Chaos players or Ramlethal players. Then the player feedback from that area becomes, "Hey, these characters are too strong."

We've been receiving many different player reactions, but we try not to simply reflect the player feedback, because in the background data, that could be different in a more global sense. So we don't have an accurate answer to how we are reacting to the player feedback regarding the battle balance, but we are always thinking about how we should balance characters. If there's a character that's maybe viewed as strong or maybe have having a little difficulty playing against some other characters, then we look into it and always keep thinking about how we try to balance characters.

Shacknews: Guilty Greer Strive recently made the jump to Xbox and it also made the jump to Xbox Game Pass. Have you seen an influx of new players and new fans through the Xbox Game Pass release?

Miyauchi: We've been recording a lot of gains for active users because of Xbox Game Pass and we are quite happy about that. We are seeing a lot of people who are playing Guilty Gear for the first time because it came on Xbox, Xbox Game Pass, and also Windows. We are seeing the result and, currently, because of huge gains on the user base, we've had a little bit of a struggle on server issues and we are currently prioritizing to resolve those issues.

Shacknews: Have any balance changes been inspired by anything you might have seen on the Arc World Tour? Have the competitors shown you a character who might be a little too strong? Or is there a character that you almost never see used competitively that make you think maybe this character could use a buff?

Miyauchi: It's going to be a lie if I say, "No, we don't read into those results." I can't really answer to that question, like if that's going to impact our balance patch or a future balance patch. But I personally would like to see if there's any way a character can be buffed, like those characters who aren't really seen in the competitive scene, to be spotlighted. But overall, the final decisions, I trust our battle game designers' ideas, so we'll see how that turns out.

Look for Bedman to join the Guilty Gear Strive roster on April 6 as part of the game's Season 2 character pass.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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