The second DLC character for Guilty Gear Strive has been announced: Jack-O Valentine will join the game from August 27 for Season Pass 1 holders, and will be available for individual purchase from August 30.
Jack-O is “an artificial life form fused with the protagonist Sol’s former love’s consciousness with high skills in combat and a powerful arsenal that allows her to overtake her opponent easily”—so a regular, everyday Guilty Gear character, really. She joined the series with Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator in 2016, making her mark with a minion-based playstyle that has an almost RTS-like flavour. It’ll be interesting to see Jack-O fits into Guilty Gear Strive, a game designed with relative simplicity, as far as mechanics go, in mind. (As producer Akira Katano describes it, “Providing depth to simple mechanics is one of the main concepts behind Guilty Gear Strive”.)
In June, Arc System Works shared a DLC road-map for Strive, which revealed that the second DLC character would be a returning fighter. Naturally, this led to a lot of speculation and wishful thinking around who it could be—my money was on Dizzy, though Baiken, Johnny, Elphelt, and Slayer also seemed like good candidates, off the back of recent popularity polls. There’ll be three more fighters added over the course of the first season, so if your favourite hasn’t made the cut yet, there’s still hope.
The first DLC character hit Strive last month in newcomer Goldlewis Dickinson. The “Secretary of Absolute Defense” wields a huge coffin on a chain (with an alien inside, no less), and combines big, beefy attacks with a unique resource management system to create a fighting style that encourages a more strategic, methodical style of play than you might expect. He’s a parody of the stereotypical American, filtered through Guilty Gear‘s particular brand of eccentricity, making a neat addition to an already well-rounded roster.
Looking ahead, Guilty Gear Strive will see three more DLC characters as part of the first season pass, as well as two new battle stages and new Story Mode missions. Arc System Works also plans to release free updates to add various modes and features that were planned for the initial launch, but had to be cut due to the impact of COVID-19 on the development timeline. But even without those bells and whistles, the core of Strive is a rock-solid fighting game that’s done a good job of taking the series in a new direction without losing its unique identity, and one that’s made enough of a mark to be headline act of this year’s EVO.