Strive

Guilty Gear Strive just made its new DLC fighter a queer icon overnight

Trans representation in fighting games.

Arc System Works / composite by Max Fleishman

Bridget is a trans girl, and Guilty Gear Strive just set a new standard for diversity and representation in the fighting game scene.

Bridget hasn’t appeared in a Guilty Gear game since Guilty Gear XX back in 2002. Now, developer Arc System Works has revealed Bridget’s return to the Guilty Gear series with a coming-out story in which she fully accepts her identity as a woman. Understandably, the trans community is loving this for Bridget and for the fighting game series as a whole. And while there will always be naysayers, this storyline makes a lot of sense based on what we already know about Bridget’s past.

Bridget fights Goldlewis, Ky Kiske, and others while trying to come to terms with her gender in the new arcade scenario. Guilty Gear Strive’s arcade modes have multiple endings depending on the difficulty level and outcome of the fight. In one of them, Bridget comes to terms with being a girl.

“If I keep on faking it like this, I know I’ll regret it,” Bridget tells Goldlewis and Ky. “So from now on, no matter what, no more lying to myself.” She thanks them both.

“Don’t mention it. Happy trails, cowgirl,” Goldlewis replies. “Oh, uh, cowboy?”

“Cowgirl is fine because ... I’m a girl!” she declares proudly.

It’ll be the same in any version you pick, whether it’s Japanese or English. I know enough Japanese to know it’s not a localization issue, and commenters agree.

Bridget struggled with gender identity since birth. As per the official description, she was born as a younger male twin in a town that saw twin sons as a bad omen. The younger twin was typically executed or exiled. Her parents chose to raise Bridget as a girl to protect her, but felt conflicted about it. Bridget thought that if she earned enough money as a bounty hunter, she could uproot their superstitions and exist as a man. However, even after dispelling the superstition, she ended up struggling with how she really felt about her gender identity.

So this reveal is one rooted in the identity Arc System Works created for her in the past. Bridget was still coming to terms with her gender back then — she’s only coming out now in Strive.

As one fan put it: “Guilty Gear is one of the few media I’ve seen recently where [trans representation] isn't just ‘oh this character was trans all along,’ but also actively taking pre-existing characters and having them change and grow into it.”

Some players persist in misgendering Bridget after hearing the reveal. Internet dissenters are arguing the reveal speaks to a “leftist agenda” and that Bridget is a boy, even though she literally says, “I’m a girl.” Her official description in the game also uses “her.” Other promotional materials avoid pronouns altogether.

LGBTQIA+ fans and allies were quick to congratulate Bridget on finally coming out. Many also shared how quickly they and their trans friends bought the game. There’s also a great deal of fan art and trans-flag-colored skins for Bridget circulating across social media.

“The number of trans people I see going ‘well, I'm buying Guilty Gear now’ (including me) because they added one (1) trans lady alongside the already existing enby character is like the perfect little encapsulation of how the audience for trans stories is HERE and READY,” one fan tweeted.

Guilty Gear Strive has also taken strides toward a more inclusive roster with Testament, a non-binary character. Bridget and Testament are a rare step forward for LGBTQIA+ representation in gaming at large. Now, fans are waiting to see if other franchises, like Street Fighter, will follow suit.

Those who want to play Bridget can buy her for $7 or as part of the Guilty Gear Strive Season 2 Pass for $25, which includes the other DLC characters coming this season.

Guilty Gear Strive is available for PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5.

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