Guilty Gear: Gears, Explained

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  • The Gear Project
  • Weapons of War
  • Post-War Gears

The Guilty Gear universe is filled to the brim with fascinating lore, characters, art, and a killer soundtrack to go along with it. However, if you don't want to sit through a four-hour-long cutscene to get caught up on things, all of it will probably be lost on you as you focus on the thrilling gameplay.

Every character has a robust backstory with unique personalities that shine through in their playstyle and overall design. What sets Guilty Gear apart from most other fighting titles is its wacky but focused world-building, lore, and lovable cast, that has you wanting to learn more about what's going on in the grand scheme of things.

The Gear Project

Originally called the Ecosystem Evolution Project, Vince MacDonell started the Gear Project in 2014 to advance human evolution to the next level. This project was initially launched to help fight terminal diseases and adapt the human body to sustain more rigorous environments. Vince would bring his former students Fredrick Bulsara, That Man, and Aria Hale aboard to undertake the research of Gear Cells.

In early 2014, That Man would complete the "Gear Cell" theoretical assessment, essentially a stem cell that can tap into the Backyard, an alternate world with unlimited energy known as Magic. Integrating Gear Cells with a patient's organs will improve many other cellular activities and show vastly superior functions. Things such as improved muscular strength, near-instantaneous healing, enhanced hearing, and more were now possible due to Gear Cells. It took until 2015 for the team to stabilize using Magic on the Gear Cells, which allowed them to fuse them to the material world.

However, after the team's successful attempt at stabilizing Gear Cells, Vince would unexpectedly leave the group, leaving That Man in charge of the project. The project then shifted to try and create a more "complete" lifeform. They attempted to integrate Gear Cells into many different organisms, which eventually gained the attention of Military Organizations across the world due to their enhancement capabilities. That Man, fearing that the Gear Cells would become weaponized by militaries, turned over the group's entire research to the state under four conditions:

One… Any benefits derived from this research may only be used to further peace in the world. Two… Everyone involved in further research must have their physical and financial well-being guaranteed. Three… The current staff will retain their jobs, and with a significant budget increase to keep this facility intact. And lastly… These conditions must be publicly announced, to prevent the state from going back on them once they have been agreed.

After the successful negotiations between That Man and the state, the project's importance grew significantly in 2016, was officially renamed the Gear Project, and received significant monetary investments from multiple countries. Another critical thing to note is, at this point in time, That Man was determined to cure Aria of her TP infection and placed her in cryo-sleep until he could find a cure. To do this, he restructured Fredrick into the first prototype of a Gear without his consent and by doing so in complete secrecy.

Unfortunately, That Man's fears were made a reality, and the military intervened with the project just as it saw completion. As a result, experiments with the Gear Cells went amiss, causing several team members to either die or disappear. That Man and Aria were reported as missing, while Fredrick was believed to be dead. With the core members gone, research became much more complex, later leading to every project becoming frozen.

Weapons of War

Decades after freezing the Gear Project, the struggling United States decided to reopen the files for military purposes in 2042. The first completed Gear prototype was developed in 2015 but lacked combat capabilities and was difficult to control. As a result, That Man rejoined the project under a different alias and helped develop the first combat-ready Gear in 2065. Mass production of these Gears started immediately after, and the United States deployed them across the world to their allies, putting the US back in control.

Fast forward to the year 2073, where That Man develops the Gear Justice in an attempt to put an end to the wars involving the weaponized Gears. By doing so, he gave his former coworker and old friend Aria Hale the ability to command every Gear created, but plans went south during an experiment a year later, which changed the course of the universe for years to come.

During That Man's first test with Justice, an entity known as Universal Will intervened and infected the citizens of Japan. To avoid the Universal Will from materializing, That Man issues Justice to use her Gamma Ray on Japan, eradicating it in the process. This course of action caused Justice's psyche to snap, making her forget who she was and rebel against the slavery of the Gears. Justice would then form an army of Gears and wage war on humanity, starting the events known as the Crusades, which spanned a hundred years and engulfed all of Earth.

Humanity was forced to put aside their differences and face the Gears head-on, forming the Sacred Order of Holy Knights to avoid becoming extinct. In 2175, the Sacred Order of Holy Knights would seal Justice away, ending the Crusades. Since they lost their commander, most of the Gears were either sealed away, made dormant, or were simply destroyed. For the Gears that gained self-consciousness, most of them went into hiding on the island of Ganymede, with most of the humanoid Gears leaving sometime after.

Though, years later (2180), the prison walls which sealed Justice away have begun unexpectedly eroding, causing the Sacred Order of Holy Knights to hold a tournament to see who was worthy of fighting and defeating her once and for all. The winner will get to make any wish they want if they prevail. Sol Badguy (Fredrick Bulsara) is ultimately Justice's fate, putting a permanent end to the leader of the Gears.

Post-War Gears

Five years after Justice's defeat, the Baptisma 13 Incident begins, which sees the disappearance of many sealed and unsealed Gears from Illyria. Additionally, Ganymede also comes under attack, causing its leader Dr. Paradigm to step in and meet with King Ky Kiske, forming an alliance and establishing a safe dominion for Gears in Illyria.

However, after defeating Valentine, Ky calls for an emergency meeting with the General Assembly and explains how he wishes for co-existence between the Gears and humanity in Illyria, which causes an outrage. Though, with Dr. Paradigm's contributions made during The Cradle Incident and Dizzy's (a Gear/Human hybrid) helping hand to defend Capitol Hill from the Universal Will's forces, the public perception of Gears was starting to sway towards accepting them.

Though some still look down on Gears in other parts of the world and blame them for the events that started the Crusades or falsely accuse them of carrying out the Baptisma 13 Incident, they are slowly becoming more accepted as time moves onward. The Gears with self-consciousness can be seen helping allies or fighting alongside humans across several Guilty Gear titles and are rarely seen in Strive's story aside from a few core members.

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