Next month, from February 9 through to February 11th, is the 2018 JAEPO: Japan Amusement Expo!
What does this mean for Virtua Fighter? There’s nothing officially announced, but is there a chance that we’ll see some news regarding the franchise at JAEPO this year? Let’s go over the last couple of years and any potential hints for some fun speculation!
Sega will be there
Not only is Sega a confirmed attendee of the show, but they’ve got the biggest booth on the floor! The arcade business is still a focus for Sega, as proven by their gargantuan booth at this year’s show. Check it out on the floor map here:
It’s the 25th Anniversary of Virtua Fighter in 2018
This year marks 25 years of Virtua Fighter! While I’m sure we’ll see at least something from Sega to celebrate one of their long running and much loved series, could this be a good time for them to announce a new game in the franchise?
Sega has a history of showing off new Virtua Fighter titles at trade shows
Virtua Fighter 5 had it's first trailer reveal at the 2005 JAMMA trade show in Japan:
Even Final Showdown was first unleashed on an unsuspecting public at the AOU show in 2010!:
Going back to 1996 (Ask your grandparents about this one, kids), was the legendary reveal of Virtua Fighter 3:
Could this be the year we see a new trailer to shock the world for the franchise we love?
Virtua Fighter Trademark was renewed in 2016
Sega renewed the trademark for the series on July 4, 2016.
Could this have been in anticipation of, or in preparation for development of a new title? If so, it would be ready for reveal very soon! Maybe at JAEPO?
Virtua Fighter has been featured in Sega’s social media in the past year
As well as the somewhat bizarre ‘Elbow Day’ and ‘Knee Day’ celebrations;
They also had some Father’s Day messages, courtesy of Lau Chan
Virtua Fighter obviously is still on Sega’s mind! It’s being mentioned and used in their social media messaging. Is Sega making use of the franchise to get it back in the forefront of people's minds? Which brings me to...
Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown in Yakuza 6: The Song of Life
An arcade-perfect port of the latest Virtua Fighter on PS4? It’s locked behind Yakuza 6, but surely that means something. Is this a prelude to an upcoming port of the game to PS4, Xbox One and PC? We hope so! If not, could it be pushing Virtua Fighter to the front of our minds for a new entry in the series?
Sega has been supporting arcade output
Sega has been on a roll these last six months. We’ve seen them supporting arcades and ports from the arcades with;
· Daytona USA 3
· Sega World Drivers Championship
· The House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn
· PS4 port of AM2’s Border Break
· Souls Reverse (Also by AM2)
Sega’s obviously supporting their arcades with some quality output. There’s good reason they’d want to keep up with a proven winner with Virtua Fighter!
Is this all wishful thinking? Maybe! But it’s fun to speculate sometimes. Whether or not we get a new Virtua Fighter this year, I’m going to keep playing the games we already have. I still think they’re the best fighting games money can buy, and I urge fans out there to do the same. We would all love a sequel, but let’s make sure we support the excellent titles already out there with communities, tournaments and online play wherever we can!