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Samurai Shodown is getting a Guilty Gear guest character and I'm pretty sure we all already know who it's going to be

When you think of 'Guilty Gear' and 'Samurai' together, there's really only one name that pops up

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • March 9, 2021 at 10:14 a.m. PST • Comments: 57

One of the more surprising announcements during the second installment of the Japan Fighting Game Publisher's Roundtable was the guest character announcement for Samurai Shodown's third season pass. An as-of-yet unrevealed character from a familiar fighting Arc System Works fighting game franchise is set to join the Samurai Shodown roster after Cham Cham and SNK's in-house guest character Hibiki Takane as the third character in the pass.

Now, of course, the fact that Samurai Shodown was getting a guest wasn't a very surprising announcement in itself — they've already had several, both from highly unexpected franchises For Honor and Honor of Kings as well as Hibiki Takane from SNK's own The Last Blade. This time they're borrowing from a fighting game they don't own themselves and of all possible choices, it's actually Guilty Gear... which I doubt anyone had as a possibility on their bingo card. That said, once you hear "Samurai Shodown is getting a Guilty Gear character", there's really only one fighter that comes to mind... Right?

Of course, the character I'm talking referring to is Baiken — the resident samurai character of Guilty Gear. While her being a samurai is the first obvious flag, there's actually a bit more to it than that simple explanation.

Samurai Shodown is a game that takes place several hundred years before Guilty Gear and while both of the two franchises delve into more fantastical elements on the regular, there still needs to be some sort of adherence to the world of Samurai Shodown for it to make sense.

Sure, Samurai Shodown has taken its fair share of liberties with historical Japan — I'm pretty certain that there weren't any mechanical onmyōji running around on the island nation back during the late 1700s, but it's still somewhat tonally consistent with the setting of the series.

This is the part right before the blood spatter happens... so basically she already did an Issen in Xrd

Look at the guest characters we've had so far — Warden is a fairly standard medieval soldier who doesn't feel remotely out of place (though possibly on the wrong continent). Gongsun Li isn't quite as obvious a fit, but she does seem like a character design you could easily see in Samurai Shodown's universe and her powers being magic-based also falls in line with techniques we've already seen from the likes of Nakoruru and Rimururu.

Finally, you have Hibiki Takane from The Last Blade. She doesn't fit perfectly, given that The Last Blade takes place several decades later in Japan's history than Samurai Shodown does, but it's still a rendition of a historical Japanese swordfighter who wouldn't look out of place in the game's setting.

This is where we land on Baiken. Visually and even looking at her moveset, she would be a clean fit for Samurai Shodown without making players suffer from some major tonal whiplash. While Guilty Gear does have its share of cool characters, someone like Sol, Slayer or Millia would just look wildly out of place in the game's roster on a pure design level, but they'd also be hard to mesh with the graphical aesthetic of the new Samurai Shodown.

There are a few other characters who you could make this argument for as well such as Anji Mito and to a lesser extent Chipp Zanuff (whose clothes are a bit too modern to really fit in) and you'd have a point, to be sure. But one thing that separates Baiken from both of them is the fact that she is ... well, a samurai. The name that's in the game's title.

Also, one thing we can't ignore is just how impressively huge Baiken's popularity as a character is. When doing a poll for the upcoming Guilty Gear Strive divided by different regions, Baiken almost swept them all by winning 1st place in three out of four regions falling short only in Japan where she ended up in 7th place.

This isn't just some newfound popularity, either. Back in the day when people were being polled about additional characters to add in Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2, Baiken was one of only three characters alongside Dizzy and Bridget who broke the 30,000 vote threshhold.

The combination of Baiken's iconic stature within the Guilty Gear series, her role as an actual samurai, her visual design which lets her blend perfectly in with the Samurai Shodown aesthetic style and established world and her massive popularity both in and outside of her home series makes her the absolute perfect candidate to be a part of Samurai Shodown's third season pass.

On top of that, Baiken shares some meta lore with Samurai Shodown as she's reportedly been heavily inspired by the popular Shonen Jump manga Rurouni Kenshin which in turn was directly inspired by Samurai Shodown to begin with, making them at least some type of distant cousin as far as familial ties among media franchises and characters go.

Now, to be clear, she isn't absolutely certain to be in but ... She's a very, very obvious frontrunner. Plus, you know... my reads have been kind of on point so far.

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