Guilty Gear Strive’s next roster expansion will see fan-favourite Testament return to the fold with an updated design, moveset, and gender.
Testament is now considered agender — a non-binary identity classified by its total disassociation with all known genders — by Arc System Works, after previously being referred to with he/him pronouns. This change is reflected in the official Guilty Gear Strive website’s use of they/them pronouns and was specifically pointed out by the devs during a recent presentation at the Arc Revo America fighting game tournament finals.
“Agender is the best word,” explained Arc System Works marketing rep Riku Ozawa, according to a third-party translation. “Neither male nor female. Testament is Testament.”
Testament, who presented as a highly androgynous grim reaper long before Strive, was included as an unlockable secret boss in both 1998’s Guilty Gear and 2000’s Guilty Gear X before becoming a regular cast member in 2002’s Guilty Gear XX. Since then, they’ve appeared in every mainline Guilty Gear game (with the exception of the Xrd trilogy) and several spin-offs.
“They’re androgynous,” Guilty Gear godfather Daisuke Ishiwatari reportedly said when asked about Testament’s gender in a decades-old interview. “In fact, they’ve transcended human existence. Just like me.”
Testament’s trap-based gameplay made them an infamous part of old-school Guilty Gear competition, and players experienced with Testament’s unique brand of shenanigans are pessimistically expecting them to be a powerhouse in Strive as well. They will be portrayed by trans voice actor Kayleigh McKee, whose work has appeared in games like Genshin Impact and Hearthstone.
While fighting games still have their problems with diversity, it’s cool to see genre devs continue to set a standard for the rest of the industry by pushing against long-held norms in representation. I hated playing against Testament back in the day, but we stan a non-binary icon.