When I first opened the the dev unit for the PS Vita, I was seduced by the screen’s beauty: high resolution, saturated colors, and the quick response time all contributed to my next thought: “I’m sure 2D fighting games would look beautiful on this baby.”
That was when it all began. At the time I was the coordinator and director of BlazBlue, if only by title, so I wasn’t directly involved in the development of the PS Vita version; nevertheless, I heard stories from our dev teams and needless to say, they, too were impressed with Vita’s performance.
The idea of bringing Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus to the Vita was tossed around during meetings and in the office, but the general consensus of our top brass was that it wouldn’t have much of an impact, and the idea was shelved.
I think it was in Spring of 2012, a little while after Guilty Gear on the Vita was shelved. Our Arcade release of the game underwent major balance changes, (+R) at which point I was put in charge of the entire Guilty Gear project.
Development for the PS3 digital version of Accent Core Plus was already underway, so I knew I had to schedule the +R update for the PS3 and a +R release of Vita on our development roadmap.
Creating the game on Vita was not as much trouble as we had expected — the bigger issue we tried to solve was the fact that the Vita’s screen was 16:9, and the game was designed around 4:3. We did some research and played around with the camera to maximize the screen real-estate, but during all of our tests, the essence of Guilty Gear’s fighting style, which was, “Knock your opponent down, and go for the okizeme” was inherently lost in the transition. We made the executive decision to keep the game in its native 4:3 resolution.
Now, for the two most important parts in a fighting game: characters and balance.
In Accent Core, the characters were extremely streek-y, and a good player could in theory turn the match around from a single hit-confirm — it was indeed a very aggressive tuning. So the question became, how do we make +R using Accent Core as our foundation? I was presented with the choice of pushing the game further in the aggressive direction, or toning it back and sanding down the “unique” edges.
That was when the father of all that is Guilty Gear, Daisuke Ishiwatari, gave me his two cents. “There are two things that need to be emphasized in this update: Number one: It’s not a minor change. We need to give the game a fresh skin and feel. Number two: Why sand down the edges now when we’ve developed such a uniquely flavored game?”
In the end, we gave the weaker characters more weapons and options, and adjusted the higher tier characters’ battle style.
Lastly, characters. While there are no “brand new” characters, Kliff and Justice, formerly boss characters, are now added to the playable roster. And as much as I would’ve liked to see two overpowered characters thrown into the mix, we had to struggle with our balance tuning. My suggestion of giving them more supers was rejected instantly…
I hope everyone in the states will enjoy +R as much as we enjoyed working on it. Since it’s technically the first time the game will hit its shores, let us know your thoughts.
Hopefully we’ll have more to show you soon… Real soon.