Guilty Gear Strive Dual Rulers creators explain why they chose 3D animation over 2D

Virginia Glaze

We got the chance to speak with the creators behind Guilty Gear Strive Dual Rulers, who explained why they made the decision to use 3D animation for the upcoming anime instead of 2D.

The Guilty Gear series is hailed throughout the fighting game community for its breathtaking visuals, courtesy of Arc System Works, a studio known for pumping out gorgeous projects like Dragon Ball FighterZ and Guilty Gear Strive.

However, some fans were surprised to see that the Guilty Gear anime, Dual Rulers, will be in 3D, rather than 2D like most other anime on the market.

There’s a reasonable fear around anime series getting the 3D treatment. After all, shows like Berserk 2016 have become infamous for their grating CGI, which still stands as one of the worst-looking animated works of all time among fans of the manga.

Due to series like this that flopped despite having beloved source material, quite a few viewers believe CGI is a ‘lazy’ workaround and simply doesn’t hold up to hand-drawn animation… even when primarily 2D animated shows have been using 3D in backgrounds for over a decade.

We attended the panel for Dual Rulers at Anime Expo 2024, where we were treated to a first look at the upcoming show’s debut trailer.

Some attendees in the crowd expressed shock at the look of the anime, which borrows directly from the stunning visual style of Guilty Gear Strive. It looks as though it was ripped right out of the game itself.

We later spoke with the team behind Dual Rulers and asked them if this was always the style Dual Rulers was going to take, given that it’s being helmed by Sanzigen, the same studio that created the music video for ‘Find Your One Way‘ at EVO 2022, which featured a similar 3D look.

Surprisingly, Guilty Gear Strive producer Ken Miyauchi told us that conversations were actually had about making the anime 2D in the beginning — but ultimately, a few deciding factors pulled them in the opposite direction. One of these was the skill of the anime’s associate producer, Seiji Mizushima, in creating 3D animated projects, as well as the visual direction the GG series had taken from Xrd onward.

“The decision of taking a 3D look has been at the very starting point of this project,” he told us. “When we started talking about making an anime, Mizushima had the idea that the Guilty Gear series should be in 3D.

“I thought about 2D, but since Guilty Gear’s been doing the 3D cell-shaded anime look, and we are known for those graphics, there’s a very high expectation of the visuals, both for the players and those who like to watch anime — they also expect that same sort of level.

“So yes, we did have an internal discussion as to whether or not we should go 2D or 3D for the anime, but thanks to Seiji Mizushima-san, he introduced us to Sanzigen, which is also known for great-looking, solid shading and animation. So, we thought it would be good to go in a 3D direction.”

Funnily enough, Mizushima actually had a conversation with Guilty Gear’s creator, Daisuke Ishiwatari, at Anime Expo many years prior, where they initially came up with the idea of going the 3D route.

“Of course, Guilty Gear’s characters are heavily detailed,” Mizushima told us. “How do you translate that into something for a 3D fighting game? How do we make that a possibility? At the time, it seemed like something that was pretty impossible, but as we both moved on, we managed to make that something that was actualized.”

The team also opened up to us about what viewers can expect from the music in the anime — another major point for hardcore fans of the Guilty Gear series, which is hailed just as much for its stunning visuals as it is for its soundtrack.

Although the Guilty Gear games are fraught with the chugging guitars and screaming vocals of heavy metal music, we learned that there will be a completely original soundtrack for the Dual Rulers anime… one that the producers themselves haven’t even heard yet.

“The trailer that we showed was using music from the game, but ultimately, when we are releasing the anime, we’re taking a different composer for the show and it will bring in a new, different style,” Miyauchi told us.

“We still haven’t heard what his work is going to be like, so that’s something that I think both the players and new fans can enjoy seeing the difference, but I think it works really well in anime media.”

Guilty Gear Strive Dual Rulers blazes to screens in 2025, featuring an all-new story set after the events of Guilty Gear Strive, which we also got to quiz the creators about in another discussion at Anime Expo.

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