Sega has announced that it is rereleasing one of the more elusive games from its legacy catalog, the fighting game Virtua Fighter 3tb. An updated version of Virtua Fighter 3, first released in 1996, Virtua Fighter 3tb features team battles (tb) and only saw a release in Japanese arcades and the Sega Dreamcast.
As spotted by EventHubs, Sega will release the new Virtua Fighter 3tb Online on Japanese ALL.Net arcade systems beginning 28 November 2023, and will not make any changes to the original game. However, it will likely adopt a similar netcode upgrade from its previous Virtua Fighter rerelease, Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown, allowing arcade cabinets from across the country to match up with one another.
The development of the Virtua Fighter series was led by Yu Suzuki (Shenmue, Out Run, etc). Virtua Fighter 3 was considered a hit upon its initial release, garnering a strong critical reception and reportedly topping Namco’s Tekken 3 in terms of popularity in Japan in 1997. The Virtua Fighter series hasn’t managed to garner the same kind of as Tekken worldwide, however, and the last original game in the series to be released was Virtua Fighter 5 in 2007.
In terms of a Virtua Fighter 3tb release outside of Japan, it will be featured as one of the legacy games included in the next Like A Dragon / Yakuza game from Sega, Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth, though it will not have online functionality.
The Like A Dragon / Yakuza series has become a defacto repository for Sega’s catalog of classic arcade games, helping to flesh out the real-world recreation of urban Tokyo, including its arcade culture.