The 90s, for the most part, were the decade of the fighting game, but the last few years of the decade proved difficult for the genre, especially with the waning popularity of arcades, and the coming rise of the first person shooter. Enter: Arc System Works, who in 1998 released what would become, for a time, the standard bearer in 2D fighting games, Guilty Gear. Most fans were somewhat disappointed with Street Fighter III when it released, citing the game's speed as a major gripe, so when Guilty Gear hit the market with it's frantic pace, solid combo system, and the novel idea of putting fatalities in the game automatically, curious gamers became hooked. There's no real sensible story to speak of, but Guilty Gear does feature an eclectic cast of characters and a hard rock soundtrack that drove the action nicely. I remember being introduced to Guilty Gear during my first semester of college, and was hooked. The series has undergone some slight changes, and the latest game in the franchise, Guilty Gear Overture, wasn't even a fighting game. it leaned more towards the Real Time Strategy genre, and according to reviews, it wasn't a very good one at that. Guilty Gear is still played at many major fighting game tournaments, and continues to garner a strong following despite not having a new console game in the series since 2004's Guilty Gear Isuka. The Guilty Gear series not only breathed a breath of fresh air into a genre in need of new blood, but also made Arc System Works a major player in the video game industry.
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