It has been a very interesting couple days for Guilty Gear, and more specifically, Baiken fans. We awoke on Monday to the news that a bakery of all things leaked the first official artwork for Baiken in Guilty Gear Strive. A bakery in California called Honey & Butter Macarons is doing a special special collaboration with Arc System Works this Saturday, and are selling character-themed macarons. The artwork was quickly taken down, but it was far too late. Fans, of course, began to speculate on when we’ll see some footage of her in action. That is, until later in the evening, when we got our first Baiken gameplay trailer and gameplay guide.
Baiken’s design remains mostly unchanged, in a clear case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However her gameplay is drastically different from her previous incarnations in Guilty Gear +R and Guilty Gear Xrd. And we got to see a lot of these changes in this first Baiken gameplay trailer. Relying less on her strange Alpha Counter based gameplay, she is now a much more offense-focused character. She still retains her iconic Tatami Gaeshi move, of course. Plus, similar to her previous version in Guilty Gear +R, the air version stays airborne until it hits the ground. This makes it an excellent wakeup and mixup option.
Baiken’s biggest change though is in her Kabari move. Her classic chain move now tethers to the opponent on block or hit. This forces Baiken and her opponent closer together, allowing her to stay in close for much longer, as well as creating new combo routes. Her Youzansen overhead is now a quarter circle input move instead of a a traditional uppercut motion. This, combined with her air Tatami Gaeshi, makes her instant overhead pressure extremely powerful. Combining this with both her supers being double quarter circle moves, and she seems tailor-made to be used with a hitbox.
An improved version of her Xrd incarnation
Her counter move, Hiiragi, also returns, and can counter up-close moves with a command grab follow-up. In addition, it can even repel moves that are farther away. It cannot reflect throws or projectiles though, which is to be expected. The move also has a lot of startup, making it dangerous to use without being careful. Her new super is Kenjyu, in which she just shoots you with a gun. Making fast, wall-breaking fullscreen punishes now possible. This improved Baiken has an insane amount of tools available to her, making for an extremely powerful character.
You can check out the full character guide here. Baiken will be available for season pass holders this Friday, January 28. She will then be available for non-season pass holders the following Monday, January 31. There will also be a free update available for all users that will have a combo video maker. With it, you can create, share, and download other player’s combos. The video maker is easily the best new feature a fighting game has had in years, that I can’t believe nobody else thought of it first.
As of now, there is still one more character planned for the game’s first season pass to be released later this year. Early datamines from the game’s release have so far been accurate. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Jam or Slayer as the final season 1 character.