A New Virtua Fighter Game Could Transform the Fighting Genre and Revitalize SEGA’s Legacy

    The return of Virtua Fighter will be a powerful one

    As the neon lights flickered and buzzed overhead, a child of the 90s stepped into the arcade. The air was thick with the scent of popcorn and the sounds of electronic beeps, whirs, and triumphant shouts. With wide eyes, the child navigated through a maze of towering cabinets, each decorated with striking art and glowing screens showcasing pixelated adventures. Finally, they stopped before a particular machine, its screen illuminated with the bold letters: Virtua Fighter. It was a new game that the child had never seen before, and a sense of awe washed over them as they watched the Virtua Fighter characters fight across the screen.

    Fumbling through their pocket, the child retrieved a coin. “This is all I got”, said the child. With a flick of their wrist, the coin clinked down the slot, and the moment it registered, the iconic “insert coin” sound effect of Virtua Fighter echoed through the arcade. It was an invitation to battle, to step into the ring against virtual foes, and for that child, at that moment, it was the beginning of an unforgettable adventure.

    Going From the Past to the Present

    Of course, this is a feeling that many older Virtua Fighter players know all too well. The arcade culture got them into the franchise, passionately talking about the games to this day. Yet despite it all, the last Virtua Fighter, Virtua Fighter 5, was released by SEGA 17 years ago. Much has changed since then, such as SEGA’s disinterest in using more of their intellectual properties. Moreover, it feels like Virtua Fighter is fading away every day while 3D fighters like Tekken thrive. However, recent reports have emerged about a potential new Virtua Fighter game being developed. If the reports are accurate, then we could be looking at a new era for the fighting game genre and SEGA as a whole.

    SEGA’s Slow Potential Return to Form

    SEGA's mascots in a wallpaper, showing the importance of the new Virtua Fighter game and how it could revitalize SEGA's legacy.

    Any longtime fan of SEGA knows how much the company has changed since the Dreamcast failed. They focused more on Sonic games rather than continuing to create games for their other IPs. Fans of iconic SEGA series such as Virtua Fighter, Jet Set Radio, and Samba De Amigo wondered if their favorites would ever return. It has been a grim time for classic SEGA fans, but things have significantly changed recently.

    The Sonic franchise has seen great success since Sonic Mania‘s release in 2017. Sonic Mania Plus became the highest-rated Sonic game in 25 years, a huge milestone. Additionally, Sonic Frontiers surpassed 3.5 million copies sold in May last year. With the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 movie set to release on December 20, it is clear that the Sonic franchise is gaining momentum. This is fantastic, but what does this all mean for Virtua Fighter?

    Following the Sonic franchise’s rapid accomplishments, many classic SEGA titles have returned after experiencing prolonged dormancy. SEGA has been developing more games for Samba De Amigo and Super Monkey BallThere was even an announcement at The Game Awards 2023 that SEGA is developing new games for some of their most renowned IPs, such as Jet Set Radio and Crazy Taxi. Even better, a new version of Virtua Fighter 5 called Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown was released in 2021. It really feels as if Sonic‘s recent success motivated SEGA to push more of their older IPs again. We are witnessing a massive SEGA comeback that is happening slowly but surely.

    The Rival That Tekken Needs

    This is a Kazuya vs Akira wallpaper that symbolizes the competition the new Virtua Fighter game could bring to Tekken

    In Virtua Fighter‘s case, this is the perfect time to put out a new Virtua Fighter game. The fighting game genre has gained lots of popularity in the past few years. Games such as Street Fighter 6 and Guilty Gear Strive push the genre forward in different ways. As more people engage with fighting games, newly released titles gain more visibility. However, one fighting game in particular has been making a massive storm as of late.

    Tekken 8 is one of the hottest fighting games currently available, constantly capturing new players’ attention. Our review mentions that the game is not just a Tekken for fans but for everyone. With a fantastic online experience, emotional story, and helpful tutorials, Tekken 8 has much to appreciate. However, this isn’t surprising for Tekken, as many fighting game players see it as the most popular 3D fighting game to date. While 3D games like Dead or Alive and SoulCalibur have dedicated fanbases, Tekken is more significant than those franchises.

    Dead or Alive 6 had a controversial launch with questionable DLC practices and fan service. The DLC practices turned many players away, similar to how Dead or Alive 5 turned out. Additionally, the fan service prevented the game from being at major tournaments such as EVO. SoulCalibur VI sold 2 million copies, but it is nowhere near Tekken 7‘s 10 million copies sold. Indeed, this prompts Bandai Namco to prioritize development on Tekken more than SoulCalibur. It’s not to say that SoulCalibur and Dead or Alive are bad games, but it’s clear that gamers are paying more attention to Tekken.

    This Is Where Virtua Fighter Comes In

    Having said that, the latest reports on what the new Virtua Fighter game consists of looks promising. The new Virtua Fighter game is allegedly developed to be a modern competitior to both Street Fighter and Tekken. The upcoming title will reportedly include rollback netcode, crossplay functionality, and a plethora of single-player content. These features are what modern fighting game players deem essential in fighting games now. Part of succeeding in anything competitive is looking at your competition and seeing what you can do better. It’s refreshing to see that the Virtua Fighter developers are adopting this concept. Virtua Fighter’s long-awaited return, combined with its promising features, proves it has a chance of going head-to-head with the giant that is Tekken.

    The New Virtua Fighter Game Has Insane Potential

    Virtua Fighter Reboot

    Like any other Virtua Fighter fan, I want nothing but the best for the rumored reboot. The franchise has lain dormant for too long and deserves an explosive return. With Dead or Alive‘s upcoming reboot, this could be a new era for 3D fighting games. I want to see Tekken, Dead or Alive, Virtua Fighter, and SoulCalibur all stand up at the top. I also want to see SEGA go back to the fantastic video game company they were years ago. I believe in their full ability to produce the best Virtua Fighter the world has ever seen. Let’s cross our fingers for the best results!

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