SEGA’s Virtua Fighter Is Returning With New Esports Direction

SEGA has announced a brand new Virtua Fighter project with an emphasis on eSports competition. Virtua Fighter is a deeply influential series of fighting games with proud arcade roots. The very first title in the series, an arcade game from 1993, is broadly recognized as the first 3D fighting game ever made.

It’s been a strange year for the eSports and fighting game communities. Many in-person fighting game tournaments have been cancelled in 2020 do to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and several others have been forced online. Esports, meanwhile, have enjoyed something of an escalation thanks to the pandemic. At the onset of the quarantine many professional athletes turned to online simulations of their favorite sports to keep the entertainment going. ESPN2 even began streaming games like Rocket League so that fans would still have a reason to tune in. As the quarantine progresses, many sports leagues are beginning to take careful steps to resume competition, but eSports have found it much easier to survive, as long as the competitors have strong internet connections.

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Now it looks like SEGA is trying to take a slice of the eSports pie. The company released a brief trailer during the Tokyo Game Show that opened with a montage of various eSports competitors fighting it out on stage. At the end of the trailer, fans saw a brief glimpse of Virtua Fighter mascot Akira Yuki. The title was revealed as Virtua Fighter x eSports. A later Tweet, translated by Twitter user Nibel (via Game Rant) shared slightly more details about the project, claiming that the “gold standard of gaming is finally back in e-sports!” The tweet goes on to state that the 1993 arcade classic will be rebooted in Japan first to celebrate SEGA’s 60th anniversary.

Details on the new project are very scarce, which in some ways is very surprising. The 60th anniversary mentioned during the Tweet takes place this very year, and SEGA is rapidly running out of months to release this mysterious project. The Tweet makes it sound like Virtua Fighter x eSports might be a remake of the very first arcade game from 1993, but it could also be a brand new game, a reboot of the franchise if not of one specific game. The venerated fighting game series hasn’t seen a new main series entry in over a decade, and fans are getting antsy.

SEGA has big plans for the future, of that there is no doubt. It’s already promised that 2021 will see a bounty of new Sonic the Hedgehog games to celebrate the Blue Blur’s 30th anniversary. Between a year of Sonic and this year’s 60th anniversary celebrations, it’s undoubtedly a very busy time over at SEGA HQ. Hopefully when fans finally get more news on Virtua Fighter X eSports, it’ll be everything they’ve been waiting for in the years since the game’s last entry.

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Source: Nibel (via Game Rant)


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