Virtua Fighter still holds the position as my favorite fighting game series ever created. Simplistic, yet incredibly deep Virtua Fighter captures the very essence of martial arts. While other fighting games feature fireballs, rage arts, and hyper combos Virtua Fighter focuses more on realistic techniques. Even the series last entry which came out eight years ago featured a straight forward system of rock-paper-scissors. Jabs would beat throws, throws would beat side-steps, and side-steps would beat jabs. I’m sure I’m not the only one who still has hope for another title in the series. This hope has got me asking myself “What can Sega do with Virtua Fighter?”
Virtua Fighter 6
Releasing the sixth installment in the series is most likely the first choice for Sega to make. It’s been eight years since Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown released world wide for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. While Final Showdown did add bounds for longer combos, it still isn’t as flashy as Street Fighter or Tekken. Bounds is a mechanic in Final Showdown that works like a crumple. It bounces your opponent off the ground to extend a combo. With companies trying to appeal to a wider audience Virtua Fighter might not seem to fit the bill compared to other fighters. Virtua Fighter will also have to adapt to the growing popularity of esports. This not only requires the game to be interesting for players, but spectators as well.
Sega could bring Virtua Fighter back into the fold by rebooting the series, which is my least favorite option. However, I can’t deny the overall benefits rebooting the series could bring. The story which fans can only find in game manuals can turn into a actual story mode. The story doesn’t need a complete overhaul, but should be expanded upon and shown in game. A reboot also provides an opportunity to make the mechanics appealing to both new players and spectators. However, this also presents the risk of changing them too much. I don’t want Virtua Fighter to stray from it’s pure and realistic representation of martial arts.
If Sega has no further plans to move forward with the series I think a collection of games is a great way acknowledge and preserve it. The collection should be released on consoles and PC. The collection should include:
- Virtua Fighter(arcade)
- Virtua Fighter Remix
- Virtua Fighter 2(arcade)
- Virtua Fighter Kids
- Fighters Megamix
- Virtua Fighter 3tb
- Virtua Fighter 4: Final Tuned
- Virtua Fighter 5(Version C)
- Virtua Fighter 5 R
- Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown.
Even Though Fighters Megamix is technically a crossover game, I included it since it has the entire roster from Virtua Fighter 2. All games should include online multiplayer with lobbies and a ranked mode. This also means Sega needs to provide a quality and stable netcode. Sega also should add concept art, music, and interviews to show the history and evolution of the series.
Even though it might take awhile, I still believe Virtua Fighter will make its return. The series has been so influential for 3D fighting games. Characters from the series have shown up in Dead or Alive; one of the very games it has inspired. Masahiro Sakurai has even included Akira Yuki as an assist trophy in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which signifies Virtua Fighter’s importance to gaming as a whole. While I appreciate guest appearances, it’s time for Virtua Fighter to come back with a game of its own.
(Ed. Note: In an interview in Aug of 2019, Yu Suzuki said in response to a possible Outrun and Virtua Fighter revival “Yes, there might be something [happening]. But since the IP you mentioned are owned by Sega, I would need to work with them. I am a special consultant with Sega, but we will need to talk.” The full article can be found on Video Game Chronicle.)
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