It seems there may be a future for Sega’s venerable Virtua Fighter franchise. After laying dormant for over a decade, this year saw the surprise release of Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown, which remakes the 2010 game using Yakuza’s Dragon Engine. Interestingly, in a new interview with Japanese gaming site Dengeki Online, Sega producer Moriji Aoki admitted the new Virtua Fighter wasn’t really designed to make money, but to test the viability of the franchise, and thankfully, it seems it passed.
According to Aoki, Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown exceeded Sony’s expectations when it came to downloads and player retention has been high. Response has been strong enough, that Sega is now looking to the future and perhaps considering a new game in the franchise…
The retention rate is high in Japan. I feel that the title that was born in Japan is big. Many people are playing in Asia, Europe and the United States, which have a large population. The number of downloads was more than expected. SIE has a “forecast team” that predicts the number of downloads, but it was quite close to the target numbers they predicted in advance.
One of the purposes of this work was to measure the potential as a title, but as I mentioned earlier, the results show that more people than expected were interested in it, so this result. It is our job to think about what to do in the future. [...] I am seriously thinking about the production of the next project while thoroughly investigating and analyzing it, and I am developing a vision [of how to] make such a title, if I make it.
No word on what form a new Virtua Fighter project might take, but Aoki says it would likely take several years to develop and would need to appeal to a worldwide audience. As for bringing VF5 Ultimate Showdown to a wider audience, Aoki says he’s considered Steam, but is concerned releasing for multiple platforms would spread the audience and likely necessitate crossplay, which would be a big challenge to implement properly. Here’s hoping Sega makes the attempt!
Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown is available now on PS4 and playable via backward compatibility on PS5. The game is also included with PlayStation Now.