NEWS - Friday, May 4, 2007

VF5 Developers "begged" for Xbox 360 Version

Interestingly enough, the Xbox 360 version of Virtua Fighter 5 has not yet been announced for the Japanese market, despite the fact that the series is often considered the undisputed champion of fighting games in Japan. Yet, although a Japanese release may have potentially drummed up some badly-needed Xbox 360 sales for Microsoft Japan, AM2, the game's developers, have something else in mind -- namely, the immense popularity the 360 currently holds in America and Europe. AM2 developers Tohru Murayama and Yoshihiro Tsuzuku recently spoke with GamesRadar in reference to the Xbox 360 version of VF5, which is slated for release sometime in the third quarter of 2007. And from what they've stated, releasing it for the 360 was completely their decision and something they wanted very, very much. "After the experience of making the PS3 version, the team really wanted the chance to try making the game for the 360 as well," Tsuzuku said. "We wanted to give VF5 a broad availability on next-gen consoles. We really begged the company to let us go ahead with it." The developers state they "are sure" that the Xbox 360 version will surpass the broad Virtua Fighter user base previously expanded by the versions on the PS2. Or, at least they "hope" that will be the case, they later clarify. Developer support Assuredly, one of the questions at the top of console fanboy lists is, "Which version was easier to develop?" After working extensively with both consoles, the developers had this to say: "[I]t took us about the same amount of time to produce both versions," Murayama revealed. "I say they were both about equally challenging to develop." "In some ways, I think developing for the 360 was easier," Tsuzuku later adds. "Microsoft software development kits, for example, were very well put together and they were also very helpful in responding to our requests and in supporting the team. From a developer perspective, that made things a lot easier. The development tools they provided were also a big help in measuring game performance as we went along." But the developers later state that the game will not undergo many changes in transition from PS3 to 360. Due to time constraints, as well as the burden of learning to program for brand new hardware, Murayama claims that play modes such as Quest Mode will remain virtually unchanged. Tsuzuku also admits that there hasn't been much added to Quest Mode since Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution for the PS2, but promises that the next installment of the series will provide more significant upgrades. Today's fighters Midway through, the interviewers broadened the conversation by steering the topic over to the state of the modern fighting game. While the team concurs that there are less fighters on the market these days, Tsuzuku attributes that to "survival of the fittest." Each series that has outlasted the trial by fire of the fighting game crucible has given their own unique take on the genre and offers something that others can't match, whether it's balance, characters, story, or just "sheer entertainment value". But the interviewer then asks, why can't Western development houses make good fighting games? Neither Murayama nor Tsuzuku think that's necessarily the case. "How about Fight Night?" Tsuzuku asks. "I'm a fan of Mortal Kombat and the Def Jam fighting series, personally," Murayama comments. "I feel these aren't games Japanese developers are capable of making. I'd rather see games like this come from America than something that just tried to imitate the style of Japanese fighting games."

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