Story Mode (ストーリーモード, Sutōrī Mōdo?) is one of the staple game modes within Guilty Gear series. This mode tends to delve more into the series' lore and the characters within it. In more recent entries, Story Mode lacks gameplay entirely, with it essentially a movie of sorts.
In the original Guilty Gear, the story is portrayed via Normal Mode. The player selects a character, and must overcome nine stages by defeating the rest of the roster similar to Arcade Mode of later installments. Prior to Stage 10, a short cutscene involving the sub-boss Testament. Upon defeat, another cutscene will trigger, and the player will face the final boss, Justice. Defeating her triggers character-specific endings. If completing all of Normal Mode using Sol or Ky without getting a Game Over, Baiken appears after the credits; if defeated, she is unlocked in the Character Select screen.
Story Mode proper is introduced in Guilty Gear X Plus, and consists of a segment very akin to a visual novel for much of the dialogue and character banter. Certain fights have unique conditions, as well as unique battle intros. Every character has three paths and endings each they can complete, unlocking an image in Gallery Mode, with actions taken during specific fights dictating the branching paths. This mode is expanded upon in Guilty Gear XX by adding fully voiced dialogue, and by having some paths be unlocked by another character's path ending beforehand. In Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus, the amount of paths is reduced to two per character. A few characters—Robo-Ky in XX, Kliff, Justice, and Order-Sol—have limited path possibilities.
Starting in Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-, gameplay elements in Story Mode are removed, becoming visual novel-like due to being exclusively being comprised of cutscenes. In Sign, save for action-heavy sequences, speaking characters are positioned on the right and left sides of a background based on their current location, which also shows the in-universe date. Dialogue is shown on box. Revelator does away with this placement, being comprised entirely of cutscenes. The overall story is presented in chapters. Players must complete the entirety of Arcade/Episode Mode in order to unlock all chapters, with each chapter being split into two parts (known as Part A and Part B, respectively), Only the ending chapter of Revelator has no separate parts. In Guilty Gear -Strive-, Story Mode becomes a cinematic experience, due to the lack of dialogue boxes.
- Guilty Gear X
With it only releasing in Japan, there exist no official English translation for the story, but the events of the game have been summarized in the Guilty Gear Series Story Digest Comics.
- Guilty Gear XX
This Story Mode has the chosen character follow their one of three paths. Appearing also in ♯Reload and Slash, Story Mode was removed in Λ Core. It returns in Λ Core Plus, but featuring a new story; it plays identical to the previous version, but with most characters having only two endings now. Order-Sol, Kliff and Justice have only one ending each. Only a fraction of the events in these games are canon, as the events of Overture and Xrd contradict several things that happen to the characters.
- Guilty Gear 2 -Overture-
Its Campaign mode effectively works as a single-player Story Mode. It has a total selectable 20 missions, where it can be either playable or a story exclusive cutscene (listed as "Event Only" in-game).
- Story Mode tends to have characters appear in it prior to becoming playable. Some instances would include:
- Johnny debuting in May's ending from The Missing Link before making his playable debut on X.
- Raven debuting in XX's Story Mode before making his playable debut in Overture.
- Dizzy appearing in Sign's story mode before returning playable in Revelator.
- Answer appearing in both Sign and Revelator's story before becoming playable in Rev 2.
- Baiken appearing in Revelator's story before returning playable in Rev 2.
- Goldlewis Dickinson appearing in Strive's story before becoming playable via DLC Season Pass 1.