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Top-secret military technology was used to make Virtua Fighter 2? Yep, that happened according to developer

Posted by Jon 'Catalyst' Grey • October 25, 2014 at 2:37 p.m. PDT • Comments: 11

Being a developer of new and innovative products can lead you down many unexpected pathways, and one such case was brought up by Yu Suzuki, who worked on many of Sega's big arcade hits, like the Virtua Fighter series.

Motion capture is widely used in gaming and movies in this day and age, but back in the early 1990s, it hadn't been used yet for gaming, according to Suzuki.

"At that time, motion capture technology was used only in health care, and we were the first to apply that technology in a game, which was Virtua Fighter 2," said Suzuki.

The U.S. military had previously used magnetic motion capture to track head movements of pilots.
"I was always looking for tools beyond what the gaming industry had; we incorporated medical and aerospace technology into games," he said.

"Three large companies that provided military simulations were the only ones that were using texture-mapping chips, but I had an idea so I approached them thinking, 'Here goes nothing,' (laughs). So there I was, this guy from a Japanese video game company asking to use the latest, top-secret technology the United States military had to offer and they were like, 'OK, let's do it!'," said Suzuki.

Fans of the fighting game series may be surprised to learn that Suzuki initially wanted to do a sports game instead of a 1-on-1 fighter, but was unable to because of hardware limits at the time.

"I really wanted to do a soccer or rugby game next, but being team sports there were just too many characters to animate, and we simply didn't have the computing power to make it work.

"Eventually, it boiled down to a question of what we could do with only 2 characters onscreen, which left us with boxing or another martial art," he said.

While we previous talked about this series of articles celebrating Virtua Fighter's 20th anniversary, we wanted to share yet another awesome story about how some of our favorite titles were developed.

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