Virtua Fighter 5 (バーチャファイター5) is a fighting game developed by Sega AM2 for the Sega Lindbergh arcade platform. It is the fifth game in the Virtua Fighter series and a sequel to Virtua Fighter 4. The original arcade version of Virtua Fighter 5 was a debut title for the Sega Lindbergh arcade system board, along with The House of the Dead 4, also released in 2005. The arcade version of Virtua Fighter 5 was only released in Japan. However, it received home conversions for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 which were released internationally.
The Xbox 360 version of the game is titled Virtua Fighter 5 Live Arena (バーチャファイター5 Live Arena) in Japan and Virtua Fighter 5 Online in the US. It includes updates made to the arcade's "Version C" revision, and an online play mode. The PlayStation 3 version is a port of "Version B".
Virtua Fighter 5 significantly increased the polygon counts over its predecessor. According to Sega, each character in Virtua Fighter 5 uses over 40,000 polygons and each background uses up to 300,000 polygons, with diffuse reflection, specular reflection, bump mapping, and normal mapping, at 60 frames per second. This was the highest character polygon count at the time, giving it the most detailed character graphics of its time. In comparison, the Xbox 360 game Gears of War used 10,000 to 15,000 polygons for its characters in 2006, and even the PC game Crysis used 24,000 polygons for its characters in 2007.Virtua Fighter 5's character polygon count was unsurpassed until Ninja Gaiden II in 2008.
The game's engine introduces several new graphical features, including self-shadowing and HDRI (high-dynamic-range imaging).
Like its predecessors, Virtua Fighter 5 was considered to have the most advanced graphics in a video game when it first released in arcades. According to 1UP in 2005, it was the "best looking fighter (or even game) ever", with the writer Shivam Bhatt stating:
"Sega makes grand use of its new Lindbergh hardware, and it really shines through in their character models and level designs. In the City level, the fight takes place on wet pavement scattered with puddles all around. These puddles react and reflect in a remarkably realistic manner as the fighters run around the room. The Temple level features fallen sakura blossoms that fly around whenever the characters move. Each level features lots of neat visual tricks like this, adding to the overall appeal of the game."
"Of course, one only noticed such things if they could peel their eyes off of the amazing new character models. ... The characters of VF5 are of that caliber, with amazingly realistic muscle tone, skin shading, sweat, and motions. Jeffrey benefits a lot from this upgrade, as the individual hairs on his arms are shown in remarkable detail. ... I lost a match simply because I was too busy staring at Lei Fei and Lion move around the arena in a fluid dance. Even button mashing looks pretty, as every move links into the next smoothly, without sudden jerkiness as the game reacts to each button press."
According to GamersXtreme in 2012, the game's graphics "still holds up to today’s standards, and in some ways still surpasses them", and "lighting effects are absolutely phenomenal, even by today’s standards."