As 2018 has come to a close, so has the 25th Anniversary of Virtua Fighter. As a tribue, both @MadeManG74 and I thought it'd be fun to commemorate the occasion by compiling a list of 25 things you probably didn't know about Virtua Fighter! We hope you enjoy the list and probably learned a new thing or two about Virtua Fighter!?
Happy New Years!
Punch, Kick and Guard
If you’ve played Virtua Fighter before, or are at least familiar with its control scheme, then you’ll be aware of its basic input setup. In addition to the Joystick used to maneuver your character on-screen, there are literally only two attack buttons - one for Punch, and one for Kick - and a third button for Guarding.
Prior to VF’s release, it was common for fighting game control schemes to differentiate between punch and kick attacks, and usually providing variations of each attack. This was hugely popularised by Street Fighter 2 which provided the player with 3 buttons for punch and 3 for kick, each differing in strength (light, medium, heavy).
Virtua Fighter pared down the input system to a single button for each type of attack. To the uninformed, this makes VF appear to be overly simple - perhaps even too simple to take seriously (What? I only have ONE punch button?) - but it was very much aligned with the philosophy of “doing more with less”. One can even draw an analogy with learning a martial art - you start with the basics (a punch, a kick, how to defend) and progress from there.
On the surface, this simplification of the input scheme belies the true depth of the many different “attack classes” that are found throughout the series. In addition to differentiating between a single-limbed Punch or Kick, Virtua Fighter also distinguished between the following classes of attacks:
These did not just differ visually / animation-wise, but had a profound impact on the reversal, sabaki and inashi (or attack deflecting) mechanic, and played a huge role in the meta-games (or guessing games) involving these mechanics that allowed one to “steal their turn”. For example, knowing your opponent can reverse hand attacks in certain situations, you might instead use a riskier, but more rewarding, knee attack to launch for a combo, the next time that situation arose.
- Side Kicks
- Roundhouse (full-circular kicks)
- Sweep (full-circular sweeps)
Putting Your Best Foot Forward
Did you know the Virtua Fighter was the first fighting game where the player’s foot positioning, or stance, actually mattered in gameplay? In boxing terms, an orthodox or southpaw stances describe the fighter’s right or left handedness, and therefore leading with the weaker side. An orthodox stance, which is the normal stance for a right-handed fighter, has the left hand and left foot forward, leading with left jabs. A southpaw stance is the opposite, for left-handed fighters, leading with the right hand and right foot forward.
So have you ever wondered if the Virtua Fighter cast were left or right handed? Ever since the original Virtua Fighter and up to Virtua Fighter 4, the character’s default stance was southpaw! That’s right, Virtua Fighters were all initially portrayed as left-handed!
The one exception was Brad Burns who was introduced in Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution. His default stance was orthodox (right handed):
However, Virtua Fighter 5 saw all the characters switch their default stance from southpaw to orthodox:
So just like that, everyone went from being a lefty to a righty! Given that characters frequently change their stance mid-match, this ambidexterity effectively meant that everyone was a switch-hitter anyway!
With the release of VF3 in 1996, AM2 introduced as kind of Artificial Intelligence into the command interpreter. Known as “Fuzzy Logic”, its purpose was to make the input for certain attack strings a little easier. For example, previously in VF2 a combo had to be precisely entered as 3 punches then a kick. Now, you can mash a whole bunch of punches first, and provided you press kick at the right time then the “Fuzzy Logic” will interpret this as you wanting to perform the combo.
In a way, this was an attempt to make the game more accessible to beginners by making it a little more “masher friendly”. I mean, there’s no denying the home-run-hitting pleasure one derives from landing Lau’s Renkan Tenshinkyaku combo! OYEEAAHH!!!!
BTW, Fuzzy Logic still exists in VF today!
The Innovations of Virtua Fighter 3
The release of Virtua Fighter 3 introduced a whole slew of innovations never before seen in other fighting games. Many of these shaped the future of the Virtua Fighter series and some were never to be seen again. Let’s look at a few of these:
The Escape Button: probably the most fundamental change to the VF series was the introduction of the Escape button. For the first time, this allowed the cast to freely move laterally, in or out of the screen to either evade the opponent’s attack, or just for re-positioning. The button could also be used for dashing by combining it with a forward tap (and hold to run), or backward tap . The Escape button was never seen again after VF3, since AM2 found a more integrated way to input evades by simply using the Joystick. However, the concept and execution of the evading mechanic would later prove to be even more significant as the series evolved.
Crouch Dashing: Crouch dashing in the forward direction was still possible as it was in previous titles, but did you know that it was not possible to perform a backward crouch dash in VF3? Previously in VF2, with the advent of the Taiwan Step (made famous by Taiwanese VF players) it was possible to move around the ring quite quickly with forward and backward crouch dashes, essentially always remaining in a crouching state. This meant that your all of your opponent's high attacks would whiff, you couldn’t be thrown easily, and you could always stand up in time to guard slower, powerful mid attacks (i.e. fuzzy guard). An Akira player who was proficient with the Taiwan Step was extremely tough to fight against due to Akira’s many strong attacks from the crouching state. So, many regarded the removal of the backward crouch dash as AM2’s way of promoting a more aggressive playing style, and less of a defensive (or ‘machi’ / waiting) style). However, backward crouch dashes did return in VF4 and beyond, as AM2 found other ways to solve the same issue.
Standard Commands: Continuing with the theme of fixing something “broken” from the previous title, AM2 standardized all high throws to now end with a command, and all low throws to end with . This was an effort to remove the powerful Option Select (OS) that was possible in VF2 with mid attacks and throws. For example, in VF2, Jacky’s Clothesline Throw was so if you were within range and the opponent was standing and guarding, then you’d end up throwing them. However, if they were crouching then you would get the Elbow attack instead, which staggered the opponent, allowing you to hit-confirm into the follow-up for good damage and knockdown. So Jacky players would always enter as their standard mid attack and the game would automatically select the best option (elbow or throw) depending on the opponent’s state. This kind of OS was prevalent throughout VF2, but obviously was not intended by design, which is why commands for throws were now standardized in VF3 and remained so in future releases.
Stages: Many people will cite the innovative stage designs when recalling VF3, and some still call for their return. But here are a few things you probably didn’t know about the stages in VF3:
Pre-Fight: In another first for the VF series, players had limited control of their character prior to the start of the round, allowing them to either start in a standing or crouched state. Additionally, Shun Di was able to “sit down” (one of his stances), and Jacky was able to “switch stance” to change his foot position. This feature was removed from subsequent VF titles, however, Jacky has always retained the ability to “switch stance” prior to round start.
- Dimension and Structure: for the first time in VF, stages were no longer all square in dimension and we saw the introduction of walls. Walls made for extra combo opportunities and saw the introduction of special “wall throws”. That is, throws performed when either your or your opponent’s back was against the wall, resulting in a special, exciting animation.
- Inclination: for the first time in VF, stages were no longer all flat. This affected the gameplay in a number of ways, but the most profound was while performing a combo “downhill”, the opponent spends a little longer time in the air, which made it possible to extend the combo even further, carry for longer distances, etc. Other minor effects included a slight damage bonus for performing a heavy down attack (aka Pounce) on a prone opponent on lower ground. Effectively, the player who had the “higher ground” had an advantage in the fight, and with some stages having one player starting higher than the other, the fight was both literally and figuratively an “uphill battle” for the lower player.
- Surface Effects: the surface of each stage had its own coefficient of friction, which affected dash speed and the distance traversed by attack strings. For example, in the desert stage, a Knee launcher by Jeffry might not have a fully connect due to the high coefficient of friction of sand.
First Person Fighting
When Virtua Fighter 3 Team Battle (VF3TB) was released in the arcades back in 1997, it featured a novel idea for a one-on-one fighting game: the ability to change the camera angle! This feature was only available during single play mode, and allowed for the camera to cycle between four presets:
These alternate points of view were seen more of a novelty than anything else, which is most likely why we never saw them featured again.
- First Person
- Third Person Overhead
Falling Metal Pans
In a rare occurrence of a ‘running gag’ of sorts in Virtua Fighter, Kage seems to suffer from an unfortunate fate of being hit with a metal pan.
Starting in Virtua Fighter 3, when using Kage and defeating your opponent with a perfect victory, the player can hold Guard, Punch, Escape and Down direction to get a special win pose in which a pan inexplicably falls from the sky and lands on Kage’s head!
AM2 paid homage to this and kept the easter egg running in Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown, by including a metal pan as part of Kage’s custom items. By equipping it, you can unlock a special win-pose where the pan once again falls on the hapless Kage’s head.
The final revision of VF4, Virtua Fighter 4 Final Tuned, saw the introduction of a new feature called “Change Moves” which allowed you to switch your moves to a limited extent.
The way it worked was that every character had two specific moves (designated as A and B) that had two variations to select from. So you could select between A1 or A2, and B1 or B2, or any combination thereof. The selected variants for the character would be displayed in-game with two small icons at the bottom left and right corners of the screen, for players 1 and 2, respectively.
This allowed players to customize their moveset to their liking, and many of the variants were the “old version” of the same attack. For example, in previous versions of VF, Wolf’s Knee would actually launch the opponent on any hit, rather than simply crumple on counter hit only. So in VF4FT, Wolf’s A2 change move was the old-style Knee, which gave him greater combo and opportunities, but came with a higher risk since it was now heavily punishable on guard.
You can read more about the Change Moves that were introduced in VF4FT via this translated forum post: Arcadia 52 - Change Moves. Additionally, you can check out the full Virtua Fighter 4 Final Tuned Command List which includes the Change Moves designated in the Notes column as “Change Move A” and “Change Move B”.
This feature could only be used by changing one’s character settings via your VF.Net account, and was never seen again in future VF versions.
With the launch of Virtua Fighter setting the video game world ablaze and garnering attention from different regions of pop-culture, Marvel Comics decided to get into the action as well with a Virtua Fighter comic!
While this only lasted one issue, the comic is notable for its cover art becoming the cover of both the US release of Virtua Fighter Remix on Saturn, as well as US and EU cover of Virtua Fighter Animation (more on that in the Conversion Capers bit)!
This comic absolutely oozes the 90’s comic aesthetics, with muscle-bound dudes, buxom women and grimacing cross-hatched faces gracing every page as the characters get caught up in a bizarre plotline of J6 agents running amok in ‘Virtua City’.
Yu Suzuki’s contributions to the gaming industry run deep. Very deep.
Not only being a leading force in creating immersive arcade cabinet hardware such as Hang-On and Afterburner, he was also the lead for creation of Sega’s legendary ‘Model’ series of boards. Model 1 was the hardware that powered the original Virtua Fighter, and Model 2 and 3 were showcased by the respective sequels, each one breaking new ground in video game technology and pushing the envelope of what was thought possible at the time.
Perhaps one of his most important contributions, or at least one of the most interesting was when he approached Lockheed Martin, the American aerospace, military and technology giant behind vehicles like the F-16 and U-2 spy plane to secure their, at the time, bleeding edge texture mapping technology.
Yu Suzuki managed to obtain the technology and engineer it to a cost of only $50 per chip! Used in his seminal Virtua Fighter 2, the technology has gone on to become an industry standard for 3D games. The following video is a tech demo that Sega put together to apply texture mapping to then upcoming sequel to Virtua Fighter.
Most Virtua Fighter fans are familiar with the excellent ports of games like Virtua Fighter 2 (nearly a miracle to get it running 60fps on Saturn), but did you know about some obscure conversions of the game to some unexpected consoles? Virtua Fighter on the Sega Master System? It happened!
Virtua Fighter on R-ZONE
Released in 1995 and discontinued in 1997, the Tiger Electronics hand-held was similar to the Virtual Boy from Nintendo in that it was a faux-VR experience that projected an LCD screen display onto a mirror in the headset. The game appears to be extremely stripped back, but it’s worth it for the amazing trailer alone!
Virtua Fighter on MASTER SYSTEM/GAME GEAR
Virtua Fighter Animation, or Virtua Fighter Mini in Japan, was an 8-bit conversion of Virtua Fighter, made to be more in-line with the Anime series. Unusual for a Virtua Fighter game, the main game mode was a ‘Story Mode’ in which you played as a series of characters through the one on one fights, and received cut-scenes for the story in between. The game does replicate the Virtua Fighter battles, including a very rudimentary attempt at giving the game a ‘3D look’ by zooming in and out by utilising larger and smaller sprites as the characters closed distances with each-other.
Perhaps most shocking of all is that this game was released for these consoles in 1996! Thats 11 years after the launch of the Sega Master System!
Virtua Fighter on 32X
The 32X version of the original Virtua Fighter was never guaranteed. It was viewed as being a very western-centric console, and therefore was a low priority for Sega of Japan.
Once the game was greenlit after a proof of concept, the team had pressure to produce a great version of the game for the struggling console. While they knew they couldn’t match the graphics of the arcade or Saturn, they prioritised getting the gameplay perfect and adding some new features to make the game unique to the console and fun for fans to play even it wasn’t arcade-perfect.
As Michael Latham, producer of the title would tell Retro Gamer magazine, there was a lot of conflict between Sega’s Japan and US offices at the time, and the game nearly got pulled indefinitely while the Japanese team removed many of the new features that were added in. Thankfully, the US team negotiated the release of the full game, and we have a unique addition to the Virtua Fighter family.
Virtua Fighter 2 on MEGA DRIVE/GENESIS
Eager to capitalise on the huge and existing player-base of Sega’s 16-bit machine, Sega released a version Virtua Fighter 2 to the system in 1996.
Similar to the Master System version of VF1, the game was a 2D remake of Virtua Fighter 2 and did it’s best to incorporate as much gameplay as possible. The game actually looks quite impressive for a 16 bit title and replicates the look of the characters and stages relatively well.
Perhaps most fondly remembered for it’s sometimes bizarre win-quotes attributed to the characters in lieu of voice acting.
20th Anniversary Interviews
Five years ago, to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of Virtua Fighter, SEGA created a new website (http://vf20th.sega.jp) on which they published a variety of content to celebrate this auspicious occasion. They also featured a dozen or so interviews, ranging from leading and influential industry figures, to regional communities throughout Japan. The interview list is as follows:
These interviews have all been translated into English (massive thanks to Modelah!) and made available on VFDC: VF20th Anniversary Site: The Interviews
- Yu Suzuki - Virtua Fighter Director/Producer
- Isamu Yamagishi - VFR Beat Tribe Cup Organiser
- Katsuya Terada - Virtua Fighter 2 Character Designer
- Yosuke Hayashi - Dead or Alive 5 Producer
- Katsuhiro Harada - Tekken Director/Producer
- Yoshinori Ono - Street Fighter IV Producer
- Kyūshū Region Players - Fullswing, Malcom X, Tonkatsu, Felix, Bokki Akira
- Tōkai Region Players - Kanzen Nitaku, Puuta, Keisuta, Mukku, Kozou
- Hokkaidō Region Players - Shindō Jacky, Byakko, Hiiro, Kakashi
- Kansai Region Players - Anaguma, Buruha, YOU
- Tōhoku Region Players - Tatsuya, Gorilla Kagesuke, Katayama and Yuucha
- Tōkyō Region Players - Shu, Chibita, Joseph, Chemuru and Kyasao
Bayonetta: Trained by Akira Yuki
Fans of Sega’s amazing action game Bayonetta would have noticed many references to Sega games and franchises hidden within, including a character known as ‘Eggman’, music from AM2’s Afterburner, and Space Harrier inspired gameplay segments.
Virtua Fighter isn’t excluded from this love.
Bayonetta contains a cool console theme with the protagonist and antagonist battling in a Virtua Fighter 1 style low-poly design, and also includes Akira’s Tetsuzanko in her moveset! By purchasing the move, you can use Akira’s iconic technique, and even have Bayonetta yell his signature phrase if it’s used to clear a wave of enemies!
Siba & Cut Characters from the original Virtua Fighter
Did you know Akira was not the original lead for the Virtua Fighter series? In fact, none of the existing cast was! Originally Virtua Fighter was to feature a character known as ‘Siba’ as the primary character, although he was cut from the game before release. You can still see images of the original planned character and old names for existing character, in old photographs of the arcade cabinet marquees.
Siba actually finally did turn up in a game when AM2 created Fighters Megamix. A big cross-over fighting game that covered most of AM2’s works in some way, saw the return of Siba as a playable character, both with a contemporary VF2 style model and a classic VF1 style model!
It wasn’t until somewhat recently however, that someone discovered even more unused characters still hidden within Virtua Fighter’s code! Check them out in the Unused Virtua Fighter Characters Found thread on VFDC.
Sarah and Jacky Battle in Chicago
In Virtua Fighter 2, both Sarah and Jacky Bryant, the tragic twins fated to fight each-other, each have their own arena. Sarah fighting in what looks to be the Roman Coliseum during a thunderstorm, and Jacky fighting in what might be the American west in a valley. Each also have their own themes that are played in each stage (‘Escape’ for Jacky, and ‘Black Moon Cat’ for Sarah).
However, when Jacky and Sarah face each-other, rather than battling on one of their respective stages, the battle will take place in ‘Chicago’, a stage that is unique to this match!
It even has its own, rather excellent Chicago Theme (Arranged) background music.
Takenobu Mitsuyoshi is a true legend of Sega. Composing the music for many of their most important titles, so many in fact it’s hard to believe this man’s contribution to Sega’s games. A short list would include Virtua Racing, Daytona USA, Sega Rally and Shenmue. Of course, he also composed soundtracks for Virtua Fighter 2 and 3!
Takenobu Mitsuyoshi - Legendary Sega Composer & Voice of Kage Maru!?
Not in the game, but he also performs this really fun Character Select Screen Remix, adding lyrics and impersonating characters! Listen out for the fun Kage ‘Reeeeeeee’!
Not only is he a composer but Mitsuyoshi also was the voice actor for both Akira in the original VF, and Kage Maru in the entire Virtua Fighter series, except for VF2! Just think, every time you beat on someone, or get beat on as Kage in VF5FS, or do a Tetsuzanko with Akira in VF1, you’re listening to the groans and grunts of the legend himself!
Fancy a costume change in VF3?
Virtua Fighter 3 continued the tradition of alternate costumes for each character. While every character in the game has two costumes to choose from, there are actually a handful that were left on the cutting room floor!
Check out these unused alternate costumes from the game, including what looks like a Metal Gear Solid styled Lion! It seems like Pai’s ‘barmaid’ outfit came back as a custom costume in Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown!
Spin-Offs and Cameos
Virtua Fighter Kids
Probably one of the best known spin-offs for the series, Virtua Fighter Kids took the cast of Virtua Fighter 2 and made them into stylised ‘kids’ versions of themselves, complete with giant anime eyes and big heads.
The game is surprisingly well fleshed out with the full moveset of Virtua Fighter 2, along with the bells and whistles you’d expect of a console port like survival mode, ranking mode and team battles. Not only the characters, but the backgrounds were all remixed to be children’s versions too!
Perhaps the best known spin-off for Virtua Fighter, this was a massive crossover fighting game that combined all, or at least most of AM2’s previous games, most notably Virtua Fighter and Fighting Vipers!
Coming out at the tail end of the Sega Saturn’s life, the game was noteworthy for including almost the entire Virtua Fighter 3 moveset! Previously never playable at home, it was a brand new experience to be able to play with the all new moves, coupled with a cavalcade of cameo characters!
For a more in-depth write up, check out the Fighters Megamix: 20th Anniversary! Celebrate Sega's amazing crossover fighter! thread on VFDC.
A PlayStation Eye-Toy exclusive title, this game was a collection of mini games by Sega that used the Eye-Toy. Featuring a number of their franchises, Virtua Fighter was also included as player’s had to physically battle opponents by acting out the moves in front of the camera!
The game used the models and UI from Virtua Fighter 4, but the gameplay was entirely performed via the camera.
Smash Bros Brawl & Ultimate
Not content with crashing the party of just one Smash Bros game, Virtua Fighter has been in two! In Smash Bros Brawl, both Akira and Jacky were available as skins for your Mii Character!
Akira also features in the recently released Smash Bros Ultimate as an Assist Trophy! Sporting his original Virtua Fighter polygonal look, he has some signature moves intact as he attacks on behalf of player characters.
Project X Zone & Project X Zone 2
A Namco/Sega crossover RPG, this game featured a LOT of cameos, going as obscure as Dynamite Cop! Virtua Fighter features Akira, Pai, Kage and Dural in the game!
Here's a short video review of Project X Zone 2, which also shows Akira and Kage killing the final boss in a single combo (potential SPOILER warning):
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing
If a car from a racing game can turn up in Fighters Megamix, then Virtua Fighter characters can turn up in a racing game! Jacky being an Indy Car driver naturally fits the bill, but here he’s helped along by Akira who can Tetsuzanko the car itself for a big speed boost!
Artist Wanted: Black Belt in Karate Required
When Yu Suzuki began hiring for Virtua Fighter, candidates found themselves being questioned on some unexpected areas. Yu Suzuki insisted that to make a martial arts game, every person on staff needed to have at least a rudimentary understanding of it! This meant hiring artists who had unarmed combat training in the military, and enforcing the team to undergo mandatory ‘training’ during their work-week. Jeff Buchanan was hired in particular due to his military background and hand to hand combat skills giving him an edge over other applicants!
Did the insistence of practicing martial arts pay off in making the game more authentic?
Fans of Virtua Fighter may know about Yu Suzuki’s earlier groundbreaking arcade title, Virtua Racing. But did you know that Virtua Racing served as an important stepping stone for what would become Virtua Fighter?
Virtua Racing was Yu Suzuki’s first attempt at a completely polygonal 3D game, and inside this game is the first attempt of the team to create 3D polygonal humans.
The pit crew in Virtua Racing served as the test to see how feasible it would be to make a 3D game with accurate humans, but it wasn’t always a fighting game that Suzuki had in mind;
“To be perfectly honest, I really wanted to do a soccer or rugby game next but being team sports there were just too many characters to animate, and we simply didn’t have the computing power to make it work. Eventually, it boiled down to a question of what we could do with only 2 characters onscreen, which left us with Boxing or another martial art.” (Yu Suzuki, http://vf20th.sega.jp/interview131211.html )
Character Primer Videos Pre-YouTube
It’s almost hard to imagine a time before the internet was so prolific, but when you have a series that’s a quarter century in age in 2018, the reality of not having access to YouTube or other video sharing services meant that you needed other means to learn a fighting game.
Sega had you covered for Virtua Fighter however, with a series of VHS tapes being released for a number of Virtua Fighter games, particularly Virtua Fighter 2 and 3!
Yes, you could purchase tapes (and later DVDs) of top Virtua Fighter players (including legends like Bun Bun Maru) giving you a run-down of how to play a character from basics through to advanced techniques. These tapes could become quite sought after, along with companion books for the series.
Current Tournament Scene
Despite Virtua Fighter 5 originally releasing in 2006 in Japanese arcades, fans will be pleased to know that there is actually a healthy number of players and communities all around the world! In this year alone, twelve years after the original Virtua Fighter 5 hit arcades there were several tournaments around the world, and players meeting and playing online and offline for casuals. To list just a few...
- Beat Tribe Cup 2018, Tokyo (Virtua Fighter Event)
- Railway Series (Monthly)
- Tokyo Bay Area Cup (Monthly)
- Tokai Bay Area Cup (Monthly)
- Kyushu Bay Area Cup (Monthly)
- York Street Battles and Bankstown Runbacks, New South Wales (Monthly)
- Battle Arena Melbourne, Victoria (FGC Major)
- UK Revolution, London (FGC Major)
- Sugoi Monthlies, Helsinki (Monthly)
General online match-making and community, as well as online tournaments:
- CEO 2018, Florida (FGC Major)
- Evo 2018 (FGC Major)
- New York Gathering 13 (Virtua Fighter event)
- SoCal Regionals 2018 (FGC Major)
Tetsujin: The First Sponsored Players
Sponsored Fighting Game players are a dime-a-dozen these days, but until “recently” (around the time of SFIV’s release ~ 10 years ago) they were as rare as hen’s teeth. So during VF2’s boom in the arcades some 20-odd years ago, SEGA recognised that a number of really strong players had established celebrity-like status among the community, and awarded them the title of Tetsujin (Ironman). The Tetsujin would often tour the country and hold special exhibitions (e.g. 100-man Kumite) which were wildly popular and generated a lot of excitement.
In a way, the Tetsujin could be considered the very first “sponsored players” in a fighting game, in a time long before eSports and pro-gaming would become so commonplace as they are today. The original 6 Tetsujin during the VF2 era were:
Some of the Tetsujin’s names were simply formed from the area they played in and the character they played. So for example, Shinjuku Jacky was considered the best Jacky player in Shinjuku. Bunbun-Maru’s name, however, is a form of onomatopoeia derived from the “boon-boon” sound from Wolf’s Giant Swing!
- Kyasao (Kage)
- Bunbun-Maru (Wolf)
- Kashiwa Jeffry (Jeffry)
- Ikebukuro Sarah (Sarah)
- Shinjuku Jacky (Jacky)
- K.K. Yukikaze (Shun)
SEGA sponsored players carried over into the present version of Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown. This time they were given the title of “Star Players”, and you’d be greeted with a large, gold flashy “STAR PLAYER COMES” message whenever one of them sat down and challenged you.
Additionally, since the establishment of the ranking system (in VF4), special rankings would be awarded to the winner of national tournaments organised by SEGA. A list of special ranks is as follows.
VF.Net & The First Player Profile System
The introduction of Virtua Fighter 4 revolutionised the way fighting games are played today. Not so much in terms of the gameplay mechanics, but more so in regards to the establishment of a player profile system, stats tracking (wins and losses) and rank progression. This was all made possible via card readers installed on the arcade cabinets, and all arcade machines being “online” and connected to VF.Net - the SEGA run VF network service.
This completely transformed the arcade going experience, and gave huge incentives for players to keep coming back for more. In addition to ranking matches, and tension from getting promoted or demoted, there were numerous other challenges to partake in. This included the “dragon ball” missions where you had to collect coloured orbs by defeating certain players (complete the set of orbs and get a special item!), and other quests and challenges such as joining one faction and defeating players in opposing factions.
Additionally, the ability to customise your character’s appearance was another pioneering move by SEGA, again, impacting all major fighting games to this present day.
World Cyber Games
The World Cyber Games (WCG) was the first international eSports competition that included multiple game titles, spanning multiple game genres and ranged from individual to team-based.
Between the years of 2008-2009, Virtua Fighter 5 (Xbox 360) enjoyed a brief stint at the WCG, and a list of the results can be seen below:
WCG Asian Championship 2008 (Singapore)
WCG World Finals 2008 (Cologne, Germany)
- Itazan (Japan)
- Aoiyuka (S. Korea)
- Tetra (Singapore)
WCG World Finals 2009 (Chengdu, China)
- Itazan (Japan)
- Danny13 (Singapore)
- adamYUKI (USA)
- Fuudo (Japan)
- ShinZ (S. Korea)
- Rikojjang (S. Korea)
Ghost in the Shell
“When people ask about Ghost, I actually think of VF2.” - Mamoru Oshii-san, GITS director.
Such was the influence of VF2 at that time - and his favourite character Lau - that the director wrote a memo to include Lau’s famous “Renkan Tenshinkyaku” (PPPK) combo as an animated sequence for the GITS protagonist Motoko Kusanagi.
In addition, he directed such details as Motoko striking with the heel of her palm, rather than her first, in homage to Lau’s fighting style:
Video of the animated scene:
A translated interview excerpt on VF2’s influence on the making of Ghost in the Shell can be found on VFDC: Virtua Ghost in the Shell