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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Arc System Works CEO Doesn't Want Guilty Gear and BlazBlue to Compete With Each Other

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When it comes to fighting games, Arc System Works is at the top of the food chain. Between Guilty Gear Strive, BlazBlue, Dragon Ball FighterZ, DNF Duel, GranBlue Fantasy Versus, and others, ArcSys is the most active developer of quality fighting games in the business right now, and as such, there's no shortage of dream games that fans would love to see the developer tackle. At the Arc World Tour grand finals, I got a chance to sit down with Arc System Works CEO Minoru Kidooka to talk about some of those potential dream games, the future of BlazBlue, and his commitment to pursue new IP collaboration opportunities.

IGN: I believe we spoke at EVO last year and you mentioned that you wanted to be more aggressive about pursuing opportunities to collaborate with new IP owners. Is this still a major priority for you and in the intervening months, do you feel like you've made some progress in that regard?

Kidooka-san: I wouldn't necessarily say it's a priority at this point, but what we did say at Evo about trying to create more IP collaboration games is… Before EVO, during EVO, and after EVO, we're still making steps towards that goal. So as a goal for ourselves and for our company, we really want to make something that makes the fighting community happy. So whether that's using other IP or using our own games, we are just going to keep pushing forward to continue to make the members of the FGC satisfied.

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For example, our previous games were with Bandai Namco, CyGames, as of today Nexon and [we are] in talks with other people about possibilities. We're continuing to push forward so that the community can enjoy. So, I can't go into details obviously at this point, but essentially that is the answer to your question.

IGN: Reflecting back on two years of Guilty Gear Strive, how do you feel about the performance of Strive and the future of the Guilty Gear series as a whole?

Kidooka-san: So regarding just Guilty Gear Strive, it both hit and kind of exceeded all of our projected expectations. Along with that, of course, we've put out the two seasons that we have already and we want the game to continue on and continue strong. So we plan to continue making those seasons available. But in terms of planning for the next game, in the Guilty Gear series, for now, we're sticking to the seasons.
So of course, there's still a lot to be done for the game. But once that is finished then they can start thinking of other things. But that's a long ways to go.

Regarding Guilty Gear Strive, it both hit and kind of exceeded all of our projected expectations.


IGN: Another thing that we talked about back at EVO was BlazBlue. Where you said that you have a plan, but that your first priority was to expand Strive. With Strive now being on every major non-Nintendo platform, cross play being implemented, and we're now going through season two, are there any updates to your plan regarding BlazBlue?

Kidooka-san: We're very proud of how the community has interacted with [BlazBlue]. One thing that we're concerned with, one thing that we're thinking about right now is that we don't want to really have Guilty Gear and BlazBlue competing with each other. So we are focusing mainly on Guilty Gear. But of course BlazBlue is a title that the community loves. The community has put so much effort into making it what it is today, and keeping that in mind, we do want to touch back on the series at some point. So it is definitely not the case that BlazBlue is done. It is something that will be in the future. But for now, Guilty Gear is the main.

We don't want to really have Guilty Gear and BlazBlue competing with each other.


So if you think about the Guilty Gear series, when we moved into 3D, Xrd and Strive, that had a really strong impact and really strong reaction from the fans and that's something we're always pushing forward to. So when we make the next BlazBlue, we want to take a look at the technology of the time and see how that can create as equally strong an impact for the players. So as always, Arc System Works motto is to keep pushing forward and to keep having something new, exciting, and impactful for the users. And that's something we're going to be considering eventually when we do put out BlazBlue, something that has an equally strong impact as when you move to 3D with Xrd.

IGN: Switching gears to DNF Duel. You collaborated with Eighting, who is a very beloved fighting game developer themselves. Can you talk a little bit about that collaboration? Is that something you're interested in continuing, both within the world of DNF Duel and beyond DNF Duel?

Kidooka-san: So something to keep in mind is that Arc System Works is not actually a very big company. We have around 200 members under our house, and with that limited amount of people, it's a limited amount of resources we can put towards games. So working together with companies, like Eighting and other companies as well, really allows us to put out the games that we put out. Even Guilty Gear Strive was not 100% in-house. We had a lot of collaboration with artists and programmers outside of the company to help put that forward. So yeah, of course moving forward into other titles, into other games, we plan on continuing working with other developers to help us out and create those great games that Arc System Works is known for.

IGN: Finally, I'm going to bring up a game that is, I think a dream game in the idea of fighting game fans and it's something that often gets brought up as something that they want to see Arc System Works do. Do you have any thoughts about potentially ever doing a One Piece fighting game?

Kidooka-san: As I said before, I want to work with other people and use what resources we have to create a fun game for the FGC to really rally behind. However, One Piece is something to think about. I can't say whether we're thinking about One Piece specifically. I can't say, "oh yeah, One Piece, yes or no." I can't say either way, but it doesn't mean it's decided or doesn't mean it's outside the realm of possibility.

You really have to understand that we're a small company. We can't take up any project that comes across, we have to consider resources.


Mitchell Saltzman is an editorial producer at IGN. You can find him on twitter @JurassicRabbit

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