Xrd Rollback
© Arcy System Works

What you should know about Guilty Gear Xrd Rollback

Many amazing fighting games are trapped in a cage of subpar netcode. It’s rare for developers to be able to go back and save those games by implementing rollback. So let’s appreciate this one.
By Yassin Hussein
7 min readPublished on
Rollback netcode officially returned to the PC release of Guilty Gear Xrd in January of this year, after a short beta test in October. Xrd is one of the most recent major fighting games to implement rollback netcode post release, with a few more titles still awaiting their online upgrades.
Guilty Gear Xrd has a community that has stuck with the game and supported it despite the pandemic and a majority moving onto the sequel, Guilty Gear Strive. Xrd is for players who want a faster pace, freedom of movement and offense, with adequately strong defensive tools that create a calculated but wild back and forth. Players are taking advantage of the great netcode by putting on multiple events every week.
Baiken and Answer in Xrd

Baiken and Answer in Xrd

© Arc System Works

Why put rollback in an old game?

The genre’s subpar online offerings became more apparent over the last few years when social distancing had more people competing from home. Rough online play wasn’t just an issue for those who couldn’t attend locals, or didn’t have any.
Through campaigning fervently before the release of Guilty Gear -Strive-, the community’s pleas reached Arc System Works. Since the meteoric impact Strive had, many companies started retrofitting their games with rollback netcode.
Arc System Works didn’t leave fans of their previous title hanging, and went back to help Xrd players enjoy their game despite already seeing immense success with Strive. Arcsys stands to gain a lot from doing this since there’s an entirely fresh generation of players Xrd has already started to captivate.The two most registered games at Frosty Faustings XV in the beginning of February were Guilty Gear -Strive- and Guilty Gear Xrd. Xrd beat out Tekken 7, Street Fighter V, and even Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
To make it happen, ArcSys hired players who were working on a mod for BlazBlue Central Fiction, another of Arc System Works’ popular anime fighting games, to work on the official rollback implementation for both titles. It's a perfect example of the modder to developer pipeline and Arc System Works’ appreciation for the efforts of the players.
Strive Millia and Sol

Strive Millia and Sol

© Arc System Works

How Xrd differs from Strive

If you’re coming from Strive and want to get into Xrd, you’ll be pleased to hear that there is no better time than now. Guilty Gear Strive is a deep game with many mechanics that are evolutions of the ones in Xrd. The RC system in Xrd is similar, and characters in both games retain their overall feeling and gameplan, but there are quite a few differences.
Guilty Gear is known for it’s Roman Cancel system. It works largely the same in Xrd, but RC instantly affects the opponent no matter how far the opponent is, unlike in Strive where it slows down the opponent if they are in the radius around the player. The equivalent of Blue Roman Cancel is now Yellow Roman Cancel, done when both players are not in hitstun or blockstun. Red RC is the same, as well as Purple RC.
Xrd features quick movement, both on the ground and in the air. The delay before a forward airdash in Strive is just not there in Xrd, so neutral is much faster paced and mixups are scarier. The screen space is also larger and characters can reach higher and cover ground much quicker.
One of the biggest differences is the gatlings. In Strive, all characters have the same options to cancel normals. Most basic normals can cancel into command normals such as 6p, kick normals can also cancel into sweep, and slash normals cancel into other slash normals and heavy normals.
In Xrd, gatlings are much more freeform, and depending on your character, you could even go backwards and around your gatling tree freely. This means that the normals that characters can throw out will be much more varied, making the defender have to work harder to figure out what the opponent is going for.
The increased freedom doesn’t stop there. Arc System Works’ goal with Strive was to get people into the genre and into the franchise as a whole, one of the tactics they used was simplifying the characters. Character’s movelists were shortened overall, and their core game plans were given more spotlight.
Across the board, characters are more able in Xrd when compared to their Strive counterparts, and this is really pronounced when it comes to up-front mixup capabilities. May for example lost probably her most iconic move, Applause for the Victim. She’d set up an independent dolphin and could hold the button to delay it’s launch. She could hop on a dolphin in transit and deliver absolutely vile high low mixups, or let it travel on it’s own and use it as cover for her next mixup. She does have her command grab like in Strive, but it’s a smaller part of her gameplan.
Lastly, with more varied movesets, deadlier mixups, you’d think the damage would be similar, but having your health disappear in one combo is way less frequent in Xrd. But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.

How to get started

Though we’ve painted a complex picture, there’s no better way to start than starting simple. All the same rules apply, Guilty Gear is still Guilty Gear. Characters are mostly the same concept-wise, so coming from Strive you already have an idea of what characters want to do.
A major key in Xrd is knowing how to loop your advantageous positions, specifically vortexing the opponent with your okizeme. But first, you have to hit your opponent to set that up. We suggest starting small and learning a simple pressure concept. Maybe it’s learning which button is plus, and daring your opponent to disrespect your offense. Or a quick command grab once you’ve established that pressure.
Once you get that hit, then apply that okizeme accordingly. This might be Chipp’s left/right mixup which cancels his forward momentum with j.2K into FD, into j.H. Or setting up Ky’s Grinder special into Charged Stun Edge to hold the opponent in blockstun, and jumping forward into a high/low airdash mixup.
Understanding your character is key. Figuring out which moves go into which, taking advantage of the less restrictive gatlings and RC system and most importantly experimenting in matches vs real humans will have you on your way to mastery.
Just like Strive, Xrd is a game all about understanding individual matchups and how your character can defeat the opponent’s. Thankfully Xrd has a mission mode that teaches you some basics of combat through system mechanics as well as a few missions that teach you countermeasures vs other characters' offense and neutral strategies.
There are also key resources created for players by other players. These are sites like the wiki, Dustloop, the match video database, keep on rockin, and Drunkard Shade’s Guilty Bits character breakdown series. All of these are easily accessible tools that have helped players learn the game for years, and will serve this new generation of players in their quest to become killers.
There are so many dedicated groups and individuals that put in work for Xrd to even get to this point. Even before the announcement of rollback netcode, there were multiple online tournaments happening throughout the week. Now there are more, and they are all open to more people since rollback makes the game playable with a much wider variety.
The game has been popular ever since release, retaining a presence through quarantine and the release of Strive, and now it's more playable than ever.