One of SEGA's big E3 surprises was the PS3 version of Virtua Fighter 5. In the latest issue of Japan's Ge-Maga, SEGA-AM2 president Hiroshi Kataoka shared some thoughts on the home conversion of his team's latest arcade fighter. Joining him was Sega R&D 4 Section Chief Noriyuki Shimoda, producer of the PS3 version.
VF5 was shown in arcade form at E3. "We actually wanted to show off the PS3 version," said Kataoka, "but due to some schedule problems, we were unable to".
The game is currently running in an advanced state on PS3 hardware, he revealed. Currently, the game is at a place where it can be played, but 'home specific' features are gong to be added from here on out.
One area of concern for the home version is what happens when people play on a standard 4x3 television. This apparently isn't an issue at all, according to Kataoka. "The arcade version was made to be compatible both with wide and standard monitors, so with that meaning, there's nothing to worry about." VF5 is currently on test in Japanese arcades, with all machines featuring high definition widescreen displays.
The two were asked for commentary on the PS3 itself. "My feeling is that, when considering its capabilities, it's not expensive," said Kataoka. "If that hardware was released not as PlayStation, but under the Vaio brand, and you got a Blu-Ray drive, a Cell chip and the latest NVIDIA GPU for under 100,000 yen, you'd definitely call it cheap. However, there are surely many people who buy it with the image of a game machine, and that price is pretty daring.In response to the question of whether it would've been better for Sony to have removed the hard disk in exchange for a lower price, Shimoda said, "No, I'm very thankful that it has a hard disk. It's not the case that Blu-ray's transfer speed is fast compared to DVD, and with the increase in the data amount, we were worried about just how long load times would take. If we cache data to the hard disk, the loading time drops dramatically".
Ge-Maga asked the big question. Why PS3 only? Kataoka took this one. "There is the fact that VF4 had already been released on the PS2, but another big reason is that the Lindbergh and PS3 GPUs are both from NVIDIA, so the technical barriers are low.
Also, VF5 is tuned to the limits of the Lindbergh's capabilities, so multiplatform development would have been difficult."These two aren't picking on the PS3's competition, though. "I believe that if development is done with multiplatform in mind, there probably won't be a difference in the abilities of the PS3 and X360," said Kataoka.
Giving props to the arcades, though, he added, "Recently, there have been a lot of arcade games that use special interfaces and the network, so ports have been getting harder and harder.
Especially with VF5, there are many elements that can only be enjoyed in the arcade, so we're required to offer other forms of play for the home version".
Just what those home specific additions are will likely be revealed close to the September Tokyo Game Show.