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Virtua Fighter (universe)

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Virtua Fighter (universe)
Virtua Fighter logo.png
Developer(s) Sega
Various
Publisher(s) Sega
Designer(s) Yu Suzuki
Seiichi Ishii
Genre(s) Fighting
Console/platform of origin Arcade
First installment Virtua Fighter (1993)
Latest installment Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown (2021)

Virtua Fighter (バーチャファイター, Virtua Fighter) is Sega's long-running series of fighting games, notable for inventing the 3D fighting game genre.

Franchise Description[edit]

Sega AM2 was created as a development division within Sega to focus on arcade and console releases, particuarly using 3D polygonal graphics. After the success of their first title, Virtua Racing, in 1992, the team decided to develop a fighting game. They decided to use the same Sega Model 1 hardware and experimented with how a game of this style can work in 3D. The game eventually became Virtua Fighter in 1993. Directors Yu Suzuki and Seiichi Ishii ended up creating a system of an arena where a player would instantly lose if pushed out of bounds, dubbed the "Ring Out" system. the game was also the very first to use 3D character models with realistic physics and motion capture. The arcade game received univeral praise and great sales for its stand-out features and innovations in the genre. The game was ported to all of Sega's major home consoles at the time and has been rereleased several times. Two notable examples include Virtua Fighter Remix, which includes improved graphics like higher polygons and texture mapping, and Virtua Fighter 10th Anniversary, which is a reskinned version of Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution to look more like this original game. The game was so critically and financially successful that it convinced Sony to develop their upcoming PlayStation game console hardware with 3D games in mind, as they were previously leaning more towards 2D hardware.

A sequel was released in 1994 titled Virtua Fighter 2. Yu Suzuki was the sole director as Seiichii Ishii defected to Namco to create Tekken. This game used the new Model 2 arcade board, which included native texture mapping and a graphics processor created by Lockheed Martin used to create flight simulations for the United States Military. This allowed more realistic movements, more movements in general, and a higher frame rate over the original. The game once again received praise for its many innovations, giving the series a reputation for pushing the genre forward with every release. An enhanced update titled Virtua Fighter 2.1 released in 1995. Eleven Sega Saturn disc each containing images and artwork for a single character were collectively released in 1995 as virtua fighter cg portrait series.

Also in 1995, a 35 episode anime adaptation of the series, simply titled Virtua Fighter. The series has been praised as among the best adaptations of a fighting game, especially in its era. The anime received a game tie in for Game Gear in 1996 titled Virtua Fighter Animation. Also in 1996, AM2 released a spinoff/parody of their series titled Virtua Fighter Kids. This game featured a Chibi artstyle and wacky tone, but also added innovations like programmable buttons and ways to test pre-made combos. A final spinoff in 1996 came in the form of Fighters Megamix for Sega Saturn, a crossover of all major franchises created by AM2, including Virtua Fighter, Virtua Cop, Fighting Vipers, and Daytona.

A proper sequel was released in 1996, titled Virtua Fighter 3. Developed for the Sega Model 3, the game once again featured improved graphics and movements, as well as elevated surfaces and individually moving elements like water and wind. The game was originally intended to be ported to the Saturn, but was instead released for the new Dreamcast. An upgraded version titled Virtua Fighter 3tb released in 1997 and included a new Team Battle mode where teams of players can fight each other.

After going on a brief hiatus, the series came back with Virtua Fighter 4 in 2001 on the NAOMI 2 arcade board and in 2002 on PlayStation 2. The console choice is due to Sega pulling out of the console market and becoming a third party developer. The game introduced a proper training mode where players can learn and get accostumed to characters and their moves. The game was also among the first arcade games to have internet functionality, allowing arcade player to fight each other online. The game was ported and upgraded several times, including Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution, which tweaked gameplay and added new modes, the afformentioned Virtua Fighter 10th Anniversary, and Virtua Fighter 4: Final Tuned, which again tweaked gameplay and added new content.

AM2 then teamed up with TOSE to create an action RPG game titled Virtua Quest, which released on GameCube and PlayStation 2 in 2004. The game is a drastic departure from the series by mostly abandoning its realistic fighting roots. The player controls a boy named Sei who enters the digital world to find data chips and defeat enemies. He learns various moves from data version of many fighters from the series. While the game was praised for its ambition, many of the decisions did not work in its favor and became too unfocused for many people's liking.

The next mainline entry, Virtua Fighter 5 released on the Sega Lindbergh arcade board in 2006. The game was the first in the series to be available in high definition, as well as more dynamic stage designs and an overall faster game speed. Version B of this game was ported to the PlayStation 3 in 2009, and the enhanced version C was ported to Xbox 360 titled Virtua Fighter 5 Online. A proper enhancement was released in 2009 as Virtua Fighter 5 R, which reintroduced cut characters and adds several gameplay tweaks. Another update titled Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdon was released in 2010, which included new characters and more gameplay tweaks.

The series has mostly been dormant since then. The only original titles have been Virtua Fighter: Cool Champ, a mobile card game in 2011 and Virtua Fighter: Fever Combo, another mobile card game in 2014. Sega has recently made an effort to move into the fighting game e-sports scene and have made an initiative. This included Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown, a remaster of the original game, for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2021. Enhancements include a move to the Dragon Engine, notably used for titles from Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio's Yakuza franchise, overhauled UI and online features, and a significant amount of new tertiary content. After the remaster's release, it would receive crossovers with other franchises in-between updates; starting of with the Yakuza franchise in December 2021, then with the Tekken franchise in March 2022.

In Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

Though Virtua Fighter is never directly referred to within this game, Sonic's jab is based off the ubiquitous Sega punch-punch-kick jab combo from the series.[1]

In Super Smash Bros. 4[edit]

Virtua Fighter is represented in this game by downloadable content costumes for Mii Brawlers based on Akira Yuki, the main protagonist of the series, as he appears in the first Virtua Fighter game, and Jacky Bryant as he appears in the fifth game.

Mii Costumes[edit]

Outfits[edit]

Headgears[edit]

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit]

Virtua Fighter is represented again in this game by downloadable content costumes for Mii Brawlers, along with Akira appearing as an assist trophy.

Assist Trophy[edit]

Akira: Akira appears as an Assist Trophy in Ultimate, still in his original polygonal model from the first game, with recycled voice clips from Virtua Fighter 4.

Mii Costumes[edit]

The Akira and Jacky costumes from Smash 4 return as downloadable content. They were released alongside Terry.

Outfits[edit]

Headgears[edit]

Spirit[edit]

Akira also appears as a spirit.

No. Image Name Type Class Slots Base Power Max Power Base Attack Max Attack Base Defense Max Defense Ability
1,294
Spirit of Akira from the Virtua Fighter series.
Akira
Attack
★★★★ 3 3966 9918 2098 5245 1716 4292 Fist Attack ↑

Games with elements appearing in the Super Smash Bros. series[edit]

Virtua Fighter[edit]

  • Playable Characters:
  • Assist Trophy:
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Akira Yuki appears as an assist trophy.
  • Spirit:
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Akira Yuki appears as a spirit.

Virtua Fighter 2[edit]

  • Music:
    • Super Smash Bros. 4 "Begin a New Challenge": Used in the Mii costume reveal trailer for both Akira and Jacky, in both Smash 4 and Ultimate.

Virtua Fighter 4[edit]

  • Assist Trophy:
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Akira Yuki reuses voice archives from this game.

Virtua Fighter 5[edit]

  • Playable Characters:
    • Super Smash Bros. 4 Jacky Bryant's Mii costume is based on his appearance in this game.

Trivia[edit]

  • Virtua Fighter is the only third-party Assist Trophy universe to not have a standalone game on the Nintendo Switch. The Sega Genesis version of Virtua Fighter 2 is available as part of the Sega Genesis Classics compilation for the Switch, however.
  • True to the original game traditions (except certain spin-offs and/or crossovers), the Virtua Fighter, Tekken and ARMS casts are restrictively spoken in their native languages in all international versions of their Smash appearances.

References[edit]