Are you ready to rock? Well, better slow down, champ. Fighting games are the current talk of the town thanks to EVO’s all-online announcement but one series that will miss its chance on the big stage this year–both online and offline–is Guilty Gear Strive, the next entry in the long-running ArcSystemWorks franchise. A confluence of events has swirled together to make the launch of Guilty Gear Strive in its original fall 2020 release date an impossibility. While the easy blame is on coronavirus and how the pandemic is wrecking studios and their ability to get work done on time, Strive had another issue: Fans were unhappy and the developers don’t appear to be too pleased with the game’s quality either. In a post to social media made yesterday, Producer Takeshi Yamanaka announced that Guilty Gear Strive is now delayed to 2021, which may end up being a good thing.
— ArcSystemWorks Staying Inside (@ArcSystemWorksU) May 15, 2020
Why all the hubbub about quality? It’s simple: The beta test was a hot mess. If you remember the complete dumpster fire that was the original Street Fighter V beta test then you already know what happened. Rampant connection issues, server timeouts, and random bugs plagued the entire test phase, with ArkSys even at one point shutting the thing down due to a bug that kept players from finding matches if the game lobby was too full. Yikes. Yamanaka said in the statement “Due to the spread of COVID-19, every aspect of our development schedule has faced delays. In addition, we have decided to set up a schedule to further improve the quality of the game responding to everyone’s help and feedback from the recent closed beta test.”
Understandably, the pandemic has ruined the plans and releases of many a game, but it’s good to know that ArkSys is looking to address the technical and gameplay issues that fans are making known to the producers. These days–and especially when nobody can go out to actual, in-person tournaments–a fighting game is only as good as its net code and ArkSys games have a reputation for falling flat in regards to the online experience. Let’s hope the team can figure it out before they launch Guilty Gear Strive in 2021.