Guilty Gear -Strive- is a 2.5D sci-fi fantasy fighting game developed and published by Arc System Works for the PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and PC on June 11, 2021. An arcade version was later released in Japan on July 29, 2021 for Sega's ALLS UX hardware (digitally via the ALL.Net P-ras MULTI Version 3 service).
The eighth main installment of the Guilty Gear series (after Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- and its revision), Strive builds on the stylized 3D cel-shading of Xrd -Revelator- (with new effects from the upgraded Unreal Engine 4) to give the illusion of CG anime. It also adds a new ultra-stylized UI, a high-octane soundtrack, and revamped character designs.
The gameplay is also revamped, removing some mechanics from Xrd (such as the "Blitz Shield") while adding new ones (such as the "Wall Break"). As the title emphasizes the "IV" in Strive, it is inteded to be the fourth installment both with named installments (after Guilty Gear, Guilty Gear 2, and Guilty Gear Xrd) and "X" installments (Guilty Gear X, Guilty Gear XX, and Guilty Gear Xrd).
Similar to Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- and Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator-, the game presents its Story Mode as non-interactive CG anime split into multiple chapters. The story itself takes place shortly after the events of Xrd -Revelator- and is intended to conclude the series' main plotline.
Much of the gameplay mechanics from Guilty Gear Xrd -Relevator- are retained, with some changes and additions:
- Continuously damaging opponents who are wallstuck can now "break" the wall (Wall Break), ending the combo with a stage transition. Performing a Wall Break improves the attacker's Tension Gauge gain for a short time.
- The Roman Cancel system was further revised, using four different color-coded RCs with different properties: Red (during an attack's recovery), Purple (during an attack's motion), Blue (while in a neutral state), and Yellow (during a blockstun). All RCs now use up 50% Tension Gauge. Yellow Roman Cancels are a replacement for Dead Angle Attacks.
- Players can now use a Dash shortcut button for dashing in either direction (f/b + Dash).
- Guarding an attack with a precise Faultless Defense (similar to an Instant Block) now performs an Instant Faultless Defense with increased pushback.
- The Instant Kill, Blitz Shield (w/ Blitz Attack), Danger Time, Homing Dash, Burst Overdrive, and Operation Type mechanics are removed.
The game includes 12 playable characters from Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 and three new ones (one of which was last playable on Guilty Gear XX Accent Core) for a total of 15. Additional characters were added as post-release DLC, with a Seasonal Pass system.
- Giovanna, Superpowered Secret Service Agent - A professional secret service agent who is aided by her wolf spirit companion (named Rei), who can possess her to give her superhuman abilities. As her Tension Gauge gets filled, she gains additional damage output and damage resistance.
- Nagoriyuki, The Noble Vampire Samurai - An immortal Nightless and a noble samurai of large stature, armed with a large katana. Performing special abilities raises a special "Blood" gauge that, if not satiated by hitting certain abilities, drains his vitality and puts him into a temporary powerful "Blood Rage" state. He is the final boss and secret boss for most characters in Arcade Mode, the latter of which always has him in his Blood Rage state.
- Anji Mito, Elegant Martial Dancer - A Japanese dancer who aids "That Man" and fights with magical hand fans "Zessen" and wind-based abilities. Some of his special moves bypass enemy attacks. Returns from Guilty Gear XX Accent Core.
- Ky Kiske, Almighty All-Rounder - He is the final boss and secret boss for Bridget in Arcade Mode, the latter of which always has him in his Dragon Install state.
Season Pass 1
- Goldlewis Dickinson, Secretary of Absolute Defense - The United States Secretary of Defense and right-hand man of president Colin Vernon. Along with his large stature, he fights with a coffin that he carries around (containing a mysterious life-form that appears to be extraterrestrial). He has a unique regenerating "Security Level" gauge that can be expended to augment some of his abilities. Released on July 27, 2021.
- Jack-O', Hyper Energetic Marshal Fighter - A "Valentine" life-form who has restored the soul of the scientist Aria in her, now working alongside Sol as a bounty hunter. Along with her iron pumpkin flail "Dorpos", she fights with small robot minions (or "Servants") that she can summon and control. She has a unique regenerating "Servant Gauge" for both summoning Servants and issuing commands. Released on August 27, 2021 and returns from Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2.
- Happy Chaos, Gunslinging Broken Messiah - The "Original" who taught humanity about magic, only to create conflict to amuse himself. He fights with his revolver "Crescent Moon" and is the game's "shooting" character, utilizing two different stances for aiming his weapon. Along with an Ammunition gauge (which must be manually reloaded using certain abilities), his weapon abilities rely on a unique "Concentration" gauge (which regenerates over time). Released on December 3, 2021.
- Baiken, The Unfaltering Awakened Samurai - A wandering one-eyed one-armed samurai from the Japanese Colony. Along with a katana, she has a variety of hidden weapons. Some of her attacks cause her opponent to "tether" onto her with a rope (pulling both herself and her opponent closer together if they stray apart). She also has a unique counter-attack technique. Released on January 31, 2022 and returns from Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator-.
- Testament, Elegant Grim Reaper - A knight of the Holy Order who was captured and unwillingly transformed into a Gear. After being manipulated by the Conclave to restore Justice, they began to slowly regain their humanity and briefly cared for the half-Gear Dizzy. Along with some demonic familiars (EXE Beast and Succubus), they fight with attacks formed from their own blood (including their scythe's blade). Some of their special abilities puts a unique "Stain" de-buff on the opponent, where further attacks can cause a follow-up explosion. Released on March 28, 2022 and returns from Guilty Gear XX Accent Core.
Season Pass 2
- Bridget, Free-Form Tricky Spinner - A famous bounty hunter from an English village that was superstitious about male twins (leading her wealthy family to raise her as a girl). Her success led to this superstition fading, but also leaving her without a purpose, and she now journeys to understand her true self. She fights with a variety of attacks and techniques with her yo-yo and weaponized teddy bear Roger. Released on August 8, 2022 and returns from Guilty Gear XX Accent Core.
- Sin Kiske, Ever-Growing Wild Boy - Ky's immature Human-Gear son, who was raised by Sol as a bounty hunter, using a war flag as a makeshift polearm. He has a unique regenerating "Stamina Gauge", which allows him to follow-up certain special moves and perform lightning dashes. Released on November 24, 2022 and returns from Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2.
- Bedman?, Error-Prone Guardian Machine - A mechanized bed frame used by the original Bedman, reprogrammed shortly before his demise to protect his younger sister Delilah. An unorthodox fighter, Bedman? cannot double jump and can instead air-dash in any one of eight directions. Its special attacks also have delayed follow-up attacks, which can be altered with special commands. Released on April 6, 2023 and "returns" from Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2.
- Asuka R♯, Master of Sorcery - A scientist who, under the alias of "That Man", used his genius and mastery of magic to create the Gears in an effort to bring peace to humanity. One of the most complex fighters in the roster, his gameplay mechanic involves drawing random one-use Spells from one of his three 30-Spell "Test Cases" (like cards from a card deck) in his tome, of which he has 26 total unique Spells. He also has a unique Mana Gauge that is used for maintaining Spells. Released on May 28, 2023.