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[Guilty Gear Esports] Elphelt Valentine Enters the Strive Roaster, but Will It Be Enough to Save the Fandom?

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Elphelt Valentine Enters the Strive Roaster, but Will It Be Enough to Save the Fandom?

[Image: guilty_gear_strive-1.jpg]
Figure 1. Guilty Gear Strive

Guilty Gear is a franchise that has had a roller coaster of a journey since the early 2000s. As it rose from niche obscurity to become one of the best 2D fighters on the market. Behind this was the back-breaking effort of its legendary developer Arc System Works. A studio that due to Guilty Gear's success is now hailed as the best studio for developing anime fighting games. A statement that is not to be taken lightly as Bandai Namco themselves collaborated with them to create the best Dragon Ball Z game since the PS2 era. But despite all of this praise the most recent endeavor by Arcs in the Guilty Gear Strive franchise has caused a lot of strife in the fanbase and the long-term fans.

[Image: guilty_gear_strive-character-2-ky.jpg]
Figure 2. Guilty Gear Strive KY

Guilty Gear Strive is the latest entry into the franchise and is highly acclaimed, to such a level that it was featured in EVO championships the same year it came out. A feat that was only accomplished by the likes of Tekken and Street Fighter before. Reasons for this are numerous, from the highly optimized gameplay to the characters, who not only manage to distinguish themselves from fighting game archetypes but also manage to pay homage to their legacy. It also has some of the best net code seen in any fighting game that allows for seamless online battles. All of these are the reason the game is so beloved by the esports community as it is one of the easiest fighting games to get into. And here is where the problem arises as many long-term fans have been dissatisfied with the recent direction of the games. Not only are they stripped of fan-favorite mechanics and systems, but the ones that replaced them do not offer the same level of freedom in terms of playing the characters. Despite all of these facts many fans still chose to stick with the game as it can only get better, but with the recent patches from 1.29 to 1.33, it seems all hope is lost. Arcs has introduced nerfs to specific mechanics from the Xrd line of games. This was the final straw as now fans have moved back to the Xrd games, and while Strive might still maintain a constant player base, it is but a matter of time before all goodwill is lost and the game fails.

[Image: guilty_gear_xrd_sign-1.jpg]
Figure 3. Guilty Gear Xrd

In this bleak darkness, it seems Arcs has finally seen the effects of their recent changes to appease the mainstream. The recent patch and newly released character from the Season 3 pass seem to be specifically targeted at long-term fans. Said recent character is Elphelt Valentine one of the core players of Xrd’s story. Arcs has also made her as faithful to her original appearance in Xrd. Only making changes to the special abilities to make sure she is balanced in the current meta. As for the story, it seems Arcs is planning to link the current narrative of the game to the loose plot line from the previous games to finally pull the curtains on the game's main saga. But alas only time will tell if the introduction of fan favorites will be enough to bring back the core fanbase.

Figure 4. Guilty Gear Strive Elphelt Valentine


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