Virtua Fighter (バーチャファイター) is a fighting game developed by Sega AM2 and published by Sega for Sega Model 1 arcade hardware in 1993. It is the first game in the Virtua Fighter series. It is often cited as being the first fully 3D fighting game released to the general public, and is a basis for almost all subsequent games in the genre.
It was an influential game in the development of 3D polygon graphics, popularizing it among a wider audience (along with Virtua Racing), demonstrating 3D human character models effectively, with realistic movement and physics, creating the basic template for 3D fighting games (such as Tekken, Soul and Dead or Alive), and playing a key role in the development of early fifth-generation consoles (the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation). It was followed by a 1994 sequel, Virtua Fighter 2.
While much of the first Virtua Fighter's story would be retroactively filled in by newer games and merchandise, the basic premise of the first game is that martial artist Akira Yuki, specialising in the forgotten art form of "Hakkyoku-ken" enters the World Fighting Tournament, in an attempt to be recognised as the greatest fighter in the world.
Virtua Fighter is a versus fighting game, pitting two of nine characters against each other in a three-dimensional arena to fight until one is "knocked out". Unlike other games in the genre at the time (such as Street Fighter II or Mortal Kombat), Virtua Fighter relies only on a control stick and three buttons, "Defense" (guard), "Punch" and "Kick" . Simple button combinations will trigger special attacks, and the large number of moves leads to a relatively complex fighting game.
Movements in Virtua Fighter are seen as more realistic than many of its popular 2D rivals from the likes of Capcom or SNK. Virtua Fighter opts for a slower-pace with fighting styles modeled on those seen in the real world. Virtua Fighter also involves "ring outs", where if a player either walks or is knocked out of the ring, he or she is instantly disqualified.
Also unique to Virtua Fighter upon release, some characters receive "damage" if hit in certain areas and will lose part of their clothing (for example, hats).
Virtua Fighter contains eight characters each employing a different fighting style. A ninth character, Dural, is not readily available to players.
As well as detailing their careers and hobbies, Virtua Fighter also lists the character's blood type, which in Japanese culture can determine one's personality.
Akira is a 25-year-old kung-fu teacher with blood type O. Akira is largely considered the "star" of Virtua Fighter, featuring predominantly on cover art.
Pai is an 18-year-old "action star" whose hobbies include dancing. She has blood type O.
Lau, father of Pai, is a 53-year-old Chinese cook. He has blood type B and enjoys Chinese poetry.
During development, Lau was known as both "Lee" and "Tao".
Wolf is a 27-year-old Canadian wrestler who enjoys karaoke. He has blood type O.
Jeffry is a 36-year-old fisherman from Australia who enjoys reggae music. He has blood type A.
Curiously, Jeffry's prototype name was Dural, a name re-assigned to the final character of the game. He was also briefly known as "Willy".
Kagemaru (or just Kage) is a 21-year-old ninja who plays mahjong for a hobby. He has blood type B.
Kage was originally known as Yagyu during development.
Sarah is a 20-year-old female college student from the United States. She enjoys sky diving and has blood type AB.
In earlier versions of the game, Sarah's name was spelt without the "h" (i.e. "Sara").
Jacky, older brother of Sarah is a 22-year-old male from the United States. He is a Indy car racer by trade and of blood type A.
Originally Jacky's name was spelt with an "ie" (Jackie). This was changed for the final version.
Dural is the last fighter, being an amalgamation of all the other Virtua Fighter fighters.
Note: Assumes the player is standing, facing right. If facing left, and should be reversed.
Twirl & Hurl
Double Arm Suplex
Single Punch Roundhouse
Model 1 version
3D graphics in games were very primitive. You could only make models from triangles, which didn't even have textures. ... There wasn't the opportunity to make graphics that were really beautiful, and because of that I decided to spend all my efforts to make character movements correct and realistic. Yes, Street Fighter had nice sprites, but we had the advantage of very smooth movements
In 1992 Sega released the three-dimensional fighter, Dark Edge, which attempts to create 3D gameplay by manipulating sprites with the Sega System 32 arcade board. Dark Edge was, however, riddled with hardware limitations and failed to excite the gaming public - the next milestone in the genre had to use polygons.
Sega were not the first to come to this conclusion - Distinctive Software's niche home computer 4D Sports Boxing, released in 1991/1992, was another attempt at a three-dimensional combat game, but was strictly a boxing game, only used 3D polygons for the fighters (who barely resembled humans) rather than the environments, and lacked much of the freedoms enjoyed by Virtua Fighter's gameplay. Similarly to situation surrounding Virtua Racing, no single game on the market was offering to render a respectible number of polygons in real time while keeping a solid frame rate.
A "20% complete" build of what was known as Virtua Fighters was shown at the Amusement Machine Show 1993 in August alongside Star Wars Arcade (then known as Virtua Star Wars). Only two characters out of the planned eight were on show - Lau Chan, and the inevitably scrapped character Siba. While Virtua Fighters raised eyebrows, its early state meant it was not the star of the show - this accolade likely goes to Namco's Ridge Racer, a texture-mapped 3D racing game.
Akira Yuki is a particularly notable character in Virtua Fighter as he was a last-minute addition to the game (so much so that early cabinets do not feature him in the artwork at all). He replaced Siba (also known as "Majido"), a Middle-Eastern fighter who was axed from the game altogether for unknown reasons. Siba would eventually become an unlockable character in Fighters Megamix.
Suzuki stated that the game program was written with 50,000 lines of code.
Another scrapped character, "Jeff" also exists within the game's code. Jeff sports a military cap and camouflage attire, and uses an incomplete set of Jacky's moves. Seiichi Ishii, instrumental in Virtua Fighter's design, would go on to help create the first two Tekken games by Namco, in which an extremely similar character (albeit as a robot), "Prototype Jack" (P.Jack) appears.
The Saturn version of Virtua Fighter was written almost entirely from the ground up alongside the hardware. AM2 took a different approach to the arcade game, focusing on the quality of the animations over graphics, to the point where in early builds, characters could have as little as 100 polygons. AM2 would then raise the polygon count as high as possible before the frame rate dropped to unacceptable levels.
One of these low polygon, low resolution, "30-40% complete" builds was shown at the '94 Tokyo Toy Show in June 1994, where despite being playable, only two punches and two kicks could be performed. Sega later clarified that this build represented less than two weeks of work. A "45% complete" build was shown a few months later, now with an upped resolution to 640x224 (versus the 320x224 seen previously) and more features.
Yu Suzuki had originally planned for 1,000 polygons for each scene in Virtua Fighter, but this milestone was met in the Tokyo Toy Show build. This newer build was running with 1,300 polygons (550 per character and 220 for the ground), with hints that 2,000 may be possible in the final product. The Saturn version was never set to hit the arcade's number of polygons overall, instead using texture mapping to reduce the number needed for facial expressions and floor textures.
The 32X version was meant to debut alongside the cancelled Sega Neptune project.
This article needs cleanup. This article needs to be edited to conform to a higher standard of article quality. After the article has been cleaned up, you may remove this message. For help, see the How to Edit a Page article.
Up until that time, fighting games (such as Capcom's Street Fighter series) were designed and rendered on sprite-based 2D graphics hardware—both the character animation and background scenery were composed of 2D sprites and tilemaps, which when using multiple layers produced a parallax scrolling effect as the screen moved to follow the characters. Virtua Fighter dispensed with the 2D graphics, replacing them with flat-shaded triangles rendered in real-time, using the Sega Model 1's 3D rendering hardware, allowing for effects and technologies that were impossible in sprite-based fighters, such as characters that could move left and right rather than just backwards and forwards, and a dynamic camera that could zoom, pan, and swoop dramatically around the arena. The game had a more realistic take on the genre, attempting to represent actual martial arts disciplines, making it more of a fighting simulation.
Virtua Fighter's graphics, however, eventually became obsolete due to rapid advances in polygon technology that allowed for rounder, more detailed, textured, higher-polygon-count character models, as seen in Virtua Fighter 2. Nevertheless, Virtua Fighter forever revolutionized the fighting game genre, introducing a more realistic style of gameplay to the genre with its move to 3D.
Virtua Fighter was a phenomenal success for Sega, particularly in Japan which was already consumed by arcade game fighting culture. After a slow start, it became one of Japan's highest-grossing arcade games of all time. Its success has guaranteed future entries in the franchise ever since, and is amongst Sega AM2's most recognisable products. However, the timing of its arcade release caused problems - it could not be brought to the then-less powerful home consoles of 1993, and to this day, no accurate home conversions of Virtua Fighter (in its original form) exist.
Across the world (starting in late 1994), Virtua Fighter was made a launch title for the Sega Saturn console. This version is considered to have been rushed to market, shipping with several gameplay issues such as five-second load times between fights and lower polygon graphics (although the disc comes paired with a remixed arrange music based off the arcade soundtrack). The problems were largely forgiven in Japan (and in fact, much of the Saturn's success in that region originated from this game), but the late 1995 release in western territories, saw Virtua Fighter be compared unfavourably to other early Saturn/PlayStation fighting games, such as Battle Arena Toshinden Remix.
In response, Sega produced Virtua Fighter Remix in 1995, which addresses some of the concerns and textures the 3D models. Virtua Fighter Remix is now the de facto version of Virtua Fighter, and was the basis for a PC port.
A version was released for the Sega 32X, which in Japan debuted after the Saturn version (but before the Saturn version in other territories). It suffers from even lower polygon counts than the Saturn version and various other cutbacks, but is otherwise relatively faithful to the original, subsequently being cited as one of the better games for the system. It is also the only 32X game with support for 16:9 widescreen displays. Both home versions of the game added a "Round-Robin" tournament mode. Ports for mobile phones also exist.
Virtua Fighter was followed by Virtua Fighter 2 in 1994, which sports significantly improved visuals and two new characters. AM2's Seiichi Ishii would also leave following his work on this game to create Tekken for Namco, seen as an important competitor to Virtua Fighter during the 1990s.
Virtua Fighter was adapted into a comic book, published by Marvel Comics. It was released in May 1995, to coincide with the Sega Saturn's North American launch.
Assistant (Tester) Leads: Stephen Bourdet, Lloyd Kinoshita, Mike Borg, Nicole Tatum
Testers: Rob Prideaux, Joshua Johnson, Ron Allen, Ty Johnson, Mark Fabela, Sako Bezdjian, Raul Orozco, Cesar Lemus, Jay Vo, Scott Hawkins, Kemrexx George, David Paniagua, Richard Cummings, Kim Rogers, Seth Carbon, Rayman Suansing, Joel Breton, Louis Dribbin, Joseph M. Damon, Sean Davin, Stephen C. Wong, Rick Greer, Randy Smaha, Steve Thompson, Anthony Borba, Mike Benton, Eric Molina, Jeffrey L. Loney, Jeff Sanders, Joe Cecchin, Steve Smith
Error creating thumbnail: convert: no decode delegate for this image format `' @ error/constitute.c/ReadImage/501. convert: no images defined `/home/sonicret/domains/segaretro.org/public_html/images/temp/transform_1e56bcb2d90c.jpg' @ error/convert.c/ConvertImageCommand/3210.
Error creating thumbnail: convert: no decode delegate for this image format `' @ error/constitute.c/ReadImage/501. convert: no images defined `/home/sonicret/domains/segaretro.org/public_html/images/temp/transform_21ad7c439678.jpg' @ error/convert.c/ConvertImageCommand/3210.