Guilty Gear Strive Rollback Netcode Beta

It's a fight that some fighting game fans have been, er, fighting for years: the implementation of rollback netcode in their favourite competitive beat-'em-ups.

As you may or may not know, most fighters use delay-based netcode -- netcode meaning the way in which your game communicates with your opponent's when you're playing online. Naturally, fighting games require a lot of precision, and this precision can easily be lost with delay-based netcode. To put it simply, delay-based netcode detects and purposefully delays your inputs so that it can attempt to match the action up with what your opponent is seeing. The bottom line is that it can impact your ability to react quickly in online matches -- especially if your connection to your opponent isn't perfect.

The general consensus is that delay-based netcode is incredibly outdated, and that rollback netcode should be the standard for fighting games. It's a topic of conversation that's been renewed over the last few months, with popular figures in the competitive and streaming scenes pushing for change.

Rollback netcode is more difficult to explain, but the gist of it is that it can make even laggy online matches feel smooth. It does this by predicting and simulating a player's actions ahead of time. Then, if something changes, it recalculates the situation in time for it to have no impact on what both players are seeing. It's impressively technical stuff, and we recommend checking out this detailed Ars Technica article if you want a full explanation.

Anyway, all you need to know is that rollback netcode is good -- and after listening to a lot of feedback, veteran developer Arc System Works has announced that it's using rollback in its upcoming PlayStation 4 brawler, Guilty Gear Strive. It's a move that feels like a huge win for fighting game enthusiasts, and it'll be interesting to see whether it forces the likes of Capcom and Bandai Namco to implement rollback netcode in their own titles.

Weirdly enough, though, there's a Guilty Gear Strive beta in the works that will stick with delay-based netcode (because rollback's still in development). If you want to take part, you can sign up by clicking through here.