Talking to Gamasutra in a rare Western interview, Guilty Gear creators Arc System Works have criticized Street Fighter IV for its lack of accessibility, while apparently revealing that Sega now essentially owns the Guilty Gear franchise.
The Yokohama, Japan-based developer Arc System Works, which has been in existence for more than ten years, was formed by SNK veterans such as chief Guilty Gear designer Daisuke Ishiwatari.
The company's designer for its new hi-res 2D fighting title BlazBlue, Toshimichi Mori, intriguingly discusses his views of Capcom's Street Fighter IV and its accessibility in the interview:
"I'm not trying to pick a fight with Capcom or anything, but with Street Fighter IV, they made a big deal about how the game was designed to be accessible to people new to the genre.
I remember when I first read that in an interview, I was like, "What? How can they say that?!" I thought maybe I was seeing things. I think they need to take a second look at the list of moves for that game before they make a claim like that.
Sure, people like us who work with games, or fans of fighting games can do a hadouken or a shoryuken without thinking much about it, but for somebody just getting started? Those moves are pretty tough! You can't expect new players to just whip those moves out every time.
To fill your game with moves like that and then emphasize how simple it was for beginners to pick up seemed irresponsible to me. Street Fighter IV is not a game geared toward people who've never played fighters before. If they were really interested in making a beginner-friendly game, they should've made included a few impressive moves a player could do with the press of a button."
The company's Ishiwatari also confirmed Internet reports that, although Arc System Works created the Guilty Gear franchise, publisher Sega officially owns it -- and in fact, Arc is no longer working directly on updates for the fighting game series. Ishiwatari notes in passing that "...we were involved directly with the series up through Guilty Gear XX #Reload".
However, the company is not completely divorced from the franchise it created. A recent Arc System Works-developed title, the Dynasty Warriors-style Guilty Gear 2: Overture, was set within the franchise -- but didn't feature many of the series' famous characters.
Indeed, Ishiwatari told Gamasutra about rumors that Sega now owned the franchise's IP: "I can't really talk about it much... except to say that they're basically true."
Thus, Arc System Works has now moved on to create new fighting game franchises such as Battle Fantasia and BlazBlue, and the full Gamasutra interview with the developer includes lots more detail on those and design challenges for today's fighting game.