Guilty Gear –Strive– – A frame-by-frame breakdown of Happy Chaos, the game’s newest character

Last Updated November 17th, 2021

At the Red Bull Kumite last weekend, Arc System Works revealed the final DLC character for Guilty Gear –Strive– this year. You know him. You love him. You’ve probably called him a blue skinned gremlin version of The Joker. It’s everyone’s favorite Broken Messiah, HAPPY CHAOS!

Yes, the main antagonist of GGST’s cinematic story is here, together with bare chest and magic gun. Gunslingers are always interesting character archetypes in fighting games, and Elphelt Valentine, the last Gunslinger to grace Guilty Gear is one of the most hated. Will Happy Chaos be the same? Let’s look at his trailer.

Happy’s main mechanic is taken straight from first person shooters. When he isn’t attacking or blocking, he is aiming. A targeting reticle appears and overlaps the opponent, shrinking as time passes. If Happy fires his gun, his bullet has a chance to hit anywhere in the middle of the reticle. Longer time spent aiming means more accurate shots. Of course, it’s hard to find that time in a fighting game when people are flinging punches and kicks at your face.

Happy’s reticle seems to reset every time he takes an action. That’s attacking, blocking, moving, whatever, it all seems to make the reticle reset in size. So, if he wants to get his most accurate shots in, he has to space out his actions to take time to aim.

Happy also has two color reticles, a green one and a gold one. The green one appears to be passive, aiming whenever Happy isn’t doing anything. The gold one appears to be active. It seems to be triggered by Happy taking an aiming stance which requires him to plant his feet and leave himself open. Green reticle shots deal normal amounts of hit-stun and block stun, while gold reticle shots pop the opponent up for a full juggle on hit and cause a guard break on block.

Happy seems to have the ability to shoot his gun while walking forward. It’s unclear if this is a special move of some sort or just a normal he can use while walking. Either way he seems to only be able to access his green reticles from this state. He can also cancel this state into attacks, as we see him both throw and strike the enemy from it. We also see him cancel his aiming stance (the one that gives him a gold reticle) into an evasive roll.

Happy also has the ability to call clone doppelgangers of himself. These don’t seem to attack or really move in any significant way. However, they do appear to be able to take hits for him. Calling a clone makes Happy jump back so this seems to be his primary way of avoiding attacks.

Many of his later attacks seem to be a little strange. For example, we see him activate one super but not attack. Instead, he just grabs his head and keeps on fighting. This must be a power-up or install super of some kind.

We see his second super involves him shooting into a portal while several other portals open around the opponent and the bullets pour out. This is likely his best method of breaking the wall, and of hitting the opponent on reaction. Its use is combos is still not quite clear.

Later on, we get to see that Happy has multiple new resources to use. First of all, he has a bullet meter with six shots in it. Every time he fires the gun, a bullet is drained from the meter, and after it’s empty, he has to use a special move to reload.

However, he also has another meter below his bullet gauge. This meter seems to drain while he is aiming and drain even faster when he takes a shot. It’s not entirely clear whether this meter is needed for his gun abilities, or just needed to allow him to shrink his reticle. We will have to wait and see when the full character breakdown is posted later this month.

Overall, Happy looks like a very interesting character. Arc System Works has been doing interesting things by converting other game mechanics to fit the fighting game mold. Jack-O is their take on converting the MOBA genre and Happy Chaos is clearly their take on the FPS. What crazy new mechanics might the next character have? We will have to wait until 2022 to find out.