Heaven or Hell? Aksys Games Speaks Out On Guilty Gear XX Accent Core

June 28, 2007

While Capcom may have ruled the 90s arcade fighting game scene with Street Fighter II and its armada of sequels and spin offs, the modern arcade has produced a number of successors to that throne, the most worthy arguably coming by way of Arc Systems Works’ Guilty Gear. Designed by Japanese game developer Daisuke Ishiwatari (Last Blade), Guilty Gear took 2D sprite based fighting to a more frenetic level than before, with high flying acrobatics and a grinding heavy metal score, which was also composed at the hands of Ishiwatari as well.

While the series’ freshman outing for the original PlayStation in 1998 garnered little more than a cult following, subsequent releases for both the home and arcade markets made Guilty Gear’s quasi-futuristic heroics a favorite among video game enthusiasts.

Numerous additions and enhancements have been added to the franchise over the last nine years, including the addition of a side scrolling brawler and even some rather manic four-player combat in 2004’s Guilty Gear Isuka. However, none of these alterations look to measure up to playing Guilty Gear using the Wii’s motion sensitive controls, something made possible by the series’ latest sequel, Guilty Gear XX Accent Core.

With Aksys Games (Hoshigami Remix) at the localization helm, the game, which will also be released for the PlayStation 2, will be available for North American audiences to play for the first time this coming weekend during the annual Anime Expo [AX] 2007 at California’s Long Beach Convention Center. In the days leading up to this event, Snackbar Games was able to speak with Aksys’ director of marketing Gail Salamanca about this game, the convention, and why Guity Gear on the Wii is a win for casual gamers.

First, I must say that obtaining the rights to Guilty Gear XX Accent Core seems like a substantial boon for such a young company. Was this a difficult license to obtain? Was is a challenge to convince Arc Systems’ that you were the right studio for the job?

Gail Salamanca: We have a great working relationship with Arc System Works which we’ve been cultivating for the past few months when we first licensed Hoshigami Remix, which will hit shelves on the 26th. So, I think it was only natural that we’d try to build upon what we’ve already done with them and help get GGXXAC published in the US.

And Accent Core will be available for players to try first hand at the Anime Expo?

GS: Yes, the first English version of the PS2 version of AC will be there for gamers to try out.

Why is this event important to you company?

GS: AX and the multitude of Anime conventions throughout the year are definitely a great way to spread the word about games especially ones like Hoshigami and Guilty Gear. There’s a lot of video game crossover with the anime demographic as evidenced by the number of video game cosplayers that can be found at any anime conventions. In general, it’s a great way to get the games in front of the very influential and outspoken and anime community.

Of course the big question about the game is how it will work on the Wii, especially since Guilty Gear‘s fighting can be complicated, but also fast and frantic. Which version of Accent Core do you feel offers the definitive experience, PS2 or Wii? Which do you prefer?

GS: Having only played a preliminary copy of the Wii version I can’t really say which one will give you the ultimate GG experience. It will most likely come down to your controller of choice, but there’s something about having the choice to play with the Wii Remote and nunchuk that’s intriguing to me. I think it would be great for casual gamers who aren’t used to complicated fighting games. They’ll be able to jump in, flail away, and be competitive with someone familiar with Guilty Gear using the same controls.

The decision to also support GameCube controllers is exciting, but not all that common for the Wii. Why was the decision adopted?

GS: It’s really about giving end-users as many options as possible to control the game the way they want to.

Why do you feel that more companies don’t include this option with their Wii titles for those game that might play just as well with a conventional controller as opposed to the ‘waggle’ of the Wii remote?

GS: I think it’s because developers want to take advantage of the unique control schemes possible on the Wii. Whether they actually make the game better or worse is another question entirely. In the case of Guilty Gear, you definitely need a control pad or joystick to play the game how it was meant to be played in the arcade. So, I think in this case it was very necessary to give users the option of using a conventional controller.

What are the new gameplay systems and modes introduced by Accent Core and how do they work?

GS:The three new gameplay systems are as follows: Slash Back, Throw Break and Force Break. The Slash Back is a defensive move that allows your character to counter attack immediately by inputting the Slash Back command. However, this is a high risk / high reward move and if not done properly will leave you open to a combo. The Force Break is an enhancement of one of your character’s normal moves that uses 25% of your tension gauge. The Throw Break lets you escape from an opponent’s throw attempt. This is on top of all the new moves and gameplay adjustments to each character.

Accent Core features all the requisite Arcade, Versus, Survival and Training modes that are indicative of the GG series. Medal of Millionaire mode is a mode carried over from GG X2 #Reload where hitting opponents with combination moves increases the Medal Gauge and raises your Medal Level. The higher the Medal Level, the higher your score.

How many characters are in the game? Can players expect some new faces, as well as some old favorites?

GS:There are 23 characters selectable off the bat with EX versions of each. There are 2 characters that were introduced in GGXX Slash that didn’t make it to the US; Order Sol and ABA.

Who is your favorite character in the game?

GS: Well, being the total button masher that I am in any GG game… I’ve been playing Chipp ever since I worked on the original PSOne version. His fast moves and frantic style complement my erratic and noob play style.

Switching gears, Aksys also has Hoshigami Remix coming soon as well. This is a title that was not particularly warmly received by the player community and press when originally released for the PlayStation. Why is it an appropriate fit for the Nintendo DS?

GS: The main problems with the PSOne version were the insane difficulty and the clunky interface. Both of which have been addressed in the DS version not to mention all the other additions we’ve made to the game. The game is much more enjoyable and accessible, with the absence of load times and the different control options on the DS. There are few games on the DS now that will give you the amount of gameplay and replay value that Hoshigami has.

Aksys will be offering exclusive in-game items for players of Hoshigami Remix during the Anime Expo. How will these items be distributed? What sorts of items are we talking about?

GS: We’ll be using the trading function in the game to send these special weapons to gamers who bring their copy of Hoshigami to the show. Basically, these are weapons that you won’t be able to get through the course of the game and have crazy stats.

Finally, do you know if there plans to offer such items, maybe not these exactly, for download for other players at a later date?

GS: Hopefully, we’ll be able to do more events like AX where we can have the other items available for download.