This past May, Sega surprised everyone by announcing a rerelease of Virtua Fighter 5. Titled Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown, this was a gussied up version of Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown. The gameplay remained unchanged, but featured a visual upgrade courtesy of Ryu ga Gotoku Studio — the same team behind the Yakuza series. Now, Sega is offering two different surveys to help decide the fate of Virtua Fighter.
For such a beloved franchise, Sega kept the series on the shelf collecting dust for a very long time. The closest thing we got to new entries since Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown in 2012 was their existence as mini-games in couple Yakuza titles. I myself even saw tournaments held via Yakuza. So, when Ultimate Showdown was announced, it was definitely a surprise to fans.
We were all happy to finally get a “new” entry in the series, even if it was just a rerelease. Just having Sega acknowledge its existence was enough — that’s how bad its been. Having said that though, the game did feature some problems. The game was released for free on PlayStation Plus when it made its debut. While that definitely helped in getting the game into more people’s hands, being a console exclusive hurt it in the end. Limiting the player base to such a small pool meant that now, just two months after release, it is very hard to find a match.
Let’s not squander this opportunity
Then there’s the netcode issue. Despite the fighting game community’s insistence for literal decades, Japanese developers are just now starting to implement rollback netcode in their games. Guilty Gear Strive is easily the best example of this, but hesitance can still be felt with other developers. Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown featured some strange hodgepodge of delay-based netcode that bounced signals across servers purchased by Sega. This not only wasn’t as good as rollback, but put an invisible timer on the game’s performance. After all, Sega isn’t going to pay for those servers forever.
Sega has released two Virtua Fighter surveys: one for those who own Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown, and one for those who don’t. It is nice to see that Sega is putting some effort into bringing the series back, so I hope fans can help nudge them along the right path by filling out these surveys. Just make sure to let it be known that we want rollback. With any luck, a Virtua Fighter 6 may be on the horizon.