6: Designing for Viewership

The new time slow down + screen darken in Guilty Gear Revelator (and onwards) has caused some controversy, partially to how the slowdown telegraphs a tricky mixup may be coming in. The instantaneous cancels in previous Gulity Gears let players execute "guaranteed" combos (usually with instant overheads like Baiken's j.D or Johnny's t.k. ensigna) - I use quotes because while they could be predicted, there was never a telegraph.

The advantage of the slowdown in Rev (and onwards) is the slowdown on the opponent it causes (the attacker does not slow down). The defender can better see the mixups coming but all of their options to defend are worse against whatever happens.

So that's fine, and there's the interesting emergent gameplay that new combos are possible from RC specifically because of the slow down which is cool.

There's an additional, non-direct benefit, however - viewer recognition. Games meant to be watched need to be readable for the audience to have opportunity to get excited. The former RC system, with its instantenous cancel + no darkening of the screen meant the red flash could very easily be missed by the audience. The new slowdown, visible cancel animation + screen darkening informs the audience "damage is going to happen" - getting them excited.

Another feature designed for the audience is the "Give me Five!" announcer and flash of a Gear symbol when A) a burst is stolen, B) an enemy is hit with a high RISC or C) you hit the enemy while you have high RISC (indicating you successfully escaped an oppressive situation). The voiceover + flash of the gear reinforces to the audience "something very cool happened, give me [a high] five!"

Guilty Gear developers said in a post EVO-2015 interview that they designed "what looks cool" first in Guilty Gear, and fill in mechanics to match that structure. I think they continue to perform fantastic work in their iterative refinment of the series.

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