Guilty Gear Strive’s creator reveals he plotted A.B.A’s return for years

Virginia Glaze

I got the chance to speak with the developers of Guilty Gear Strive about why they chose to bring back A.B.A after more than a decade and what they thought about players’ reactions to her big reveal.

A.B.A is Guilty Gear Strive’s latest DLC character — but she isn’t new to the franchise whatsoever. A.B.A was first introduced in Guilty Gear Isuka all the way back in 2004, yet she hasn’t been seen since Accent Core.

Now she’s back over a decade after her last series appearance with her trusty axe, Paracelsus, and a fresh new look, ready to rock on March 26.

I got to quiz Guilty Gear’s creator, Daisuke Ishiwatari, as well as Strive Developer Akira Katano and Strive Producer Ken Miyauchi about this new character and got a first-hand look at their reactions to players’ response to her return to the series.

While speaking with them, I learned that the team actually wanted to include A.B.A on Strive’s roster from the very beginning. However, they were initially worried that players wouldn’t remember her from Accent Core so many years ago.


Guilty Gear devs wanted to include A.B.A on Strive’s release

“It’s been a long time since she’s been in a new Guilty Gear game,” Ishiwatari told me. “I wanted to release A.B.A ever since the Strive project started, but we were a little bit behind schedule getting her out. I thought most people wouldn’t know about A.B.A, but after she was released and looking at everyone’s responses, I realized that she’s loved by a lot of players.”

It’s true — Twitter has been alight with love for A.B.A, and YouTube comments underneath her trailer are full fans excited that she’s making a long-awaited comeback to the series. Prior to her release, theories abounded as to which character she might be, with many players using their super-sleuthing skills to try and decipher who was hiding behind the silhouette teased back in February.

These theories amused the developers, who have clearly been paying close attention to her reception online.

“From what I’ve seen, there’s a lot of comments about her visual style and her hair color,” Ishiwatari said. “Just seeing all the theories is very, very interesting, and I see that people have such a wide perspective. Their worldviews are very intriguing. You know, the fact that maybe she’s a homunculus, and her hair is made of copper that’s oxidized and turned blue. Very, very interesting stuff. They’re incorrect, however.”

“We still haven’t actually released the character yet, so people have seen her footage from the demo area and are looking at the character portrait and trying to think about the storyline behind her in Guilty Gear Strive, and people predicting what’s happening to her,” Miyauchi added.

“It’s really fun to read all those ideas and what they’re thinking or what they’re feeling from what we just published as graphics. I’m really excited for them to try out the arcade mode, which has a short story of her background and tells what’s happening to her right now.”

A.B.A. fights using Paracelsus, who appears to have a few different forms in Guilty Gear Strive.

Of course, the mountain of fanart that instantly flooded Twitter/X upon her release didn’t go unnoticed by the devs, who admitted they’re always shocked by such big reactions to nearly every character release that takes place.

“This kind of happens with every character that we release, but we see so much different fan art that comes in within three hours of announcing the character,” Katano laughed. “Every time I’m just surprised and intrigued by all the beautiful fan art that comes in. Straight away.”

“Personally, what’s really interesting for me is actually that A.B.A is a character that we designed and released 10 years ago,” Ishiwatari interjected. “And to see current Guilty Gear Strive players reacting to our design is very interesting to me.”

A.B.A officially releases on March 26. Players can nab her individually for $6.99, or as part of the Season 3 Pass for $24.99 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Steam, Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, & Windows platforms.