As quickly as large developers can push new entries to beloved franchises, so too can homebrew developers improve on beloved past releases. A couple of news pieces hit my desk in quick succession: First, Virtua Fighter producer Seiji Aoki discusses the impact Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown had on SEGA’s outlook on the franchise. Second, developments in PS3 emulation have enabled Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown  netplay on PC! Read on for the scoops.

Ultimate Showdown development continues into 2022, PC version & cross play being considered

With the recent release of the Yakuza collaboration DLC for Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown it is clear that the development team wants to go beyond merely bringing the authentic VF5 experience forward. Series producer Seiji Aoki sat down with Japanese gaming outlet Dengeki to discuss the future of the series and his thoughts have been helpfully translated by Twitter user Gosokkyu.

The interview goes into the process of developing Ultimate Showdown has a “remake” which lead to discussions of adding more content to the package. Due to time constraints these ideas turned into post-release development roadmaps and facing an overwhelming response from the community with feature requests, they begun to chart the course of expanding the game in 2022.

Chief among the requests they have fielded is a Steam version – Aoki comments that the arcade version of Ultimate Showdown runs on a Windows PC and so it should be technically possible. Aoki’s concerns go one step further and he mentions that for a Steam version to happen they would develop infrastructure to implement cross platform play.

The potential for a new Virtua Fighter has been proven

Of course the demand for features like a Steam release, cross platform play and the ever-important rollback netcode also assumes that Virtua Fighter 5’s shelf life will be drawn out much further. After all the original version of VF5 traces back to the 2006 arcade release and if SEGA shows interest in reviving the franchise surely a new entry would be considered.

On that front, Aoki mentions that they’ve proven with the sales reception of Ultimate Showdown that the demand is there. However making a new game in the series would take many years and they need to carefully consider what the game would actually be like if they wished to pitch it.

For more information you are invited to read the full thread and contribute to the Shmupulations Patreon for more translations of Japanese gaming media.

PS3 PSN emulation enables Final Showdown netplay on PC

What if I told you that you can play Virtua Fighter 5 on PC with online multiplayer…right now? This isn’t a workaround using Parsec or the like. Robust PS3 emulator RPCS3 now emulates the PS3 PlayStation Network to a degree of accuracy that enables Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown online play to work in emulation. The results are surprisingly robust for 2021! Check it out:

If you’re not familiar, Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown is a console revision for PS3 and Xbox 360 that brought online play to the game. This version is feature-complete in terms of characters, stages and game balance (though not exactly the same as Ultimate Showdown owing to update cycles and engine differences) so you’re getting an authentic way to play via emulation of the PS3 version.

Being able to play this game online comes by way of RPCN, a component that emulates the PlayStation Network to provide peer to peer games with a way to connect emulators together like they would on retail machines connected to PSN. This tech is in a very early degree of compatibility and a vanishingly small list of games cooperate with it currently but recent updates have made playing Final Showdown on PC through its original online multiplayer a breeze.

How does a PS3 game’s netcode hold up anyway?

Final Showdown on the PS3 holds up remarkably well in 2021. I loaded the game into RPCS3 and was met with a rock solid 60 FPS on my modest desktop PC, and setting it up wasn’t too much fuss either so that was a great start. After asking for a random player outside of my region test it out with me (in this case Central America to NA East Coast), we joined a lobby in seconds and got to swingin’. Generally I get no less than 60 ms and at most 90ms ping to anyone on the East Coast so the match was going to be playable at minimum as we were both using a wired connection.

I must say that compared to Ultimate Showdown I felt that the experience could be superior! Not only was the emulation input lag very low, the delay-based netcode kept the game consistent every time. At the time of writing I would suggest anyone considering trying it out to use Player Match to find your opponent, because Room Match currently has a bug in emulation that causes the room to become unresponsive.

For more information on setting up VF5 Final Showdown for RPCS3 and matchmaking, consider joining the general Virtua Fighter Discord server.