Guilty Gear: Strive devs finally acknowledge disastrous online exploits as massive Season 3 update looms

Guilty Gear: Strive is due its Season 3 update this week. With it, a beloved character making a return, improvements arrive in the online netcode, and significant gameplay adjustment changes debut, too. However, in the wake of this major overhaul, the team at Arc System Works say it’s unable to comment on efforts to fix one of the game’s biggest issues.

The issue in question is an R-code exploit that has been present within the game for months, as highlighted by Kotaku recently. It has impacted streamers and tournaments tremendously, allowing for names to be changed, messages to be sent from your account, and connections to suffer to the point of being unplayable. For a competitive fighting game, this is less than ideal.

I sat down with producer Ken Miyauchi and director Akira Katano at Evo 2023 and asked whether the Season 3 udpate would take steps towards fixing – or removing – this issue. Unfortunately, the developers were unable to provide concrete information on the team’s progress.

“We’ve already implemented some improvements, but due to the R-Code exploit being done with ill intentions, we can’t go into too much detail on what we’ll actually do. Know that we are aware of the issue and we are still tackling it,” says Miyauchi via interpreter during the interview.

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“This is something we can’t really talk about. It’s the case that, even if we say that we’ve solved a major security problem, a malicious person can hook onto it and attack from a different approach. As such we don’t really want to [elaborate] on what we’re doing on security for player security purposes.”

This is a change from the last official response on the topic. Back in April, the official Guilty Gear Twitter account published a statement addressing ongoing netowrk issues. In it, the company stated in response to community concern surrounding ongoing issues: “From our current investigation, we have determined there is a huge likelihood of an unrelated, not human-induced cause behind these problems. We are currently carefully investigating the situation.”

From previous statements courtesy of staff at Arc System Works, we know that there has been a war raging on behind the scenes for months now. Given the answer provided to us, Guilty Gear: Strive is left in a moment of uncertainty. On one hand, the community-at-large is excited for the new update – poring over changes and picking apart any gameplay footage they can. It promises to be a drastic overhaul, rekindling excitement in an already-popular fighter during a real golden moment for the genre as a whole.

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However, the flip side of that coin comes from this ongoing R-code problem. A reality of the current video game market is that influencers play a big part in… influencing public opinion around a game. Fans will tune into interesting personalities, comedic folk, and world champions to see how they’re finding the game. What will their takeaway be when they see Johnny being played by an amazing player, only for said player’s connection to grind to a halt, and their in-game account name changed to something wholly unpredictable?

For their part, the devs I spoke to expressed their apologies at the sitatuion, and asked for the community to hold out for future updates and fixes for this sort of issue: “It’s our obligation to provide a secure and convenient environment for people to enjoy regardless of the size of our team,” Katano stated via translator.

“However, due to the fact we weren’t able to deliver fixes to the issue in a timely manner, we say sorry to the players for the inconvenience. What we can do in this regard is to continue to provide updates to the players so they can feel safe and comfortable playing our game. We’ll continue providing these kinds of updates gradually – please look forward to these coming updates as well.”

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For the vast majority of players, this won’t matter. But for those at the top of the mountain of Guilty Gear: Strive players, or those looking to enjoy the game infront of their own pasionate communities, it appears the game will remain a troubled treasure, in spite of its newfound Season 3 merits.

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