Yu Suzuki and Virtua Fighter: RPG
Wednesday 15-Aug-2001 12:00 AM It takes precedence over VF 4
Details continue to seep out about the Virtua Fighter: RPG project, which will be one of the key Dreamcast games of next year. Also known as, 'The Berkeley Project' because of producer Yu Suzuki's penchant for the American educational establishment, the project aims at nothing less than creating a new genre in gaming.
The measure of Berkeley's importance is that AM2's executive producer, Yu Suzuki, who holds an unparalleled position in Sega R&D, has devoted himself exclusively to the game for the last two years. Which means it took precedence even over the VF3 conversion to Dreamcast. Suzuki has revealed that the next arcade instalment, Virtua Fighter 4, will be delayed until the completion of this project.
What do we know of it? Firstly, that characters from the Virtua Fighter games are involved - but perhaps not at the same stage in their life. A top secret demo is purported to exist that features a young version of the old drunk Shun Di, the stern Lau, but minus his ponytail, and Akira.
This demo is also said to use environments similar to the Tower of Babel demo used to showcase Dreamcast, a short project Yu Suzuki oversaw.
The game will be a mixture of exploration, character encounters and plot development - like any RPG - but with an emphasis on fighting too. It will also feature anything up to different 700 characters - a mind-blowing figure than shrinks epics like Final Fantasy VII into size.
But then, Berkeley is clearly a reposte to Square's games which have done so much to sell the Playstation across the world. Sega, and AM R&D particularly were open to the charge of producing a narrow range of games of interest only to arcade gamers. Berkeley is the most potent symbol of the 'New Sega' and its broader ambitions. Release, hopefully, will be some time next year.