The game was first released in arcades on the NAOMI 2 board in 2001. A port of the game, as well as that of Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution under the budget-priced "Greatest Hits" label, appeared on the Sony PlayStation 2 in 2002 and 2003, respectively.
- Akira Yuki
- Pai Chan
- Lau Chan
- Wolf Hawkfield
- Jeffry McWild
- Sarah Bryant
- Jacky Bryant
- Shun Di
- Lion Rafale
- Aoi Umenokoji
- Lei-Fei: Born — March 15, 1975
- Vanessa Lewis: Born — October 26, 1969
- Brad Burns (Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution only): Born — December 9, 1972
- Goh Hinogami (Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution only): Born — January 14, 1978
A unique feature in Evolution was the ability to play in a tournament quest mode, where the concept was that the player was competing by traveling to various arcades, as opposed to role-playing as the player's chosen fighter. This mode was very popular due to the ability to buy cosmetic items to customize a character, as well as the ability to name a character. Many players of fighting games have unique styles; with the combination of various items allowing for vastly differing appearances a new depth of uniqueness was added. In addition, Sega took the top tournament players from the arcade version, and captured their style of play for the AI of a player's opponents for this mode. For example, playing against one Wolf character would be very different from playing another, because the actual player that character's AI was programmed to mimic had a unique play style.
Virtua Fighter 4 introduced a comprehensive training mode. The mode consisted of an encyclopedia of fighting game terms, complete character command list walkthroughs, tips on all of the games mechanics, recommended character combos, alternative options for failed combos, detailed command input timings, slow motion for frame counting and timing, and other useful training tips.
VF4's training mode consists of three sections:
- Command Training- A complete run through each move, one-by-one. The command for the move is displayed and the player executes the command—moving to the next one. VF4 allows the option to skip the current command, view the move (computer controlled), enable advice.
- Free Training
- Trial Mode
Changes from previous series releases
Virtua Fighter 4 became much more streamlined and user friendly than its predecessors, while expanding on old ideas and adding new techniques. The evasion system was revamped from Virtua Fighter 3, the evade button was removed, and evades were split into two types, successful and unsuccessful. When evades were not performed with the proper timing, they were unsuccessful leaving the fighter vulnerable. The evade + throw escape option select, which was an advanced technique discovered in Virtua Fighter 3, was expanded upon. Virtua Fighter 4 allowed the player to escape as many throws as they could, and lengthened the window for performing a successful throw escape during an [unsuccessful] evade. A new move type called a Sabaki was added; an attack that also doubles as a reversal versus one or more move types.
The two new characters, Vanessa Lewis and Lei-Fei, had moves that employed these properties significantly more than the returning cast, and were quite experimental for Virtua Fighter characters. Vanessa Lewis is an American Vale Tudo/Muay Thai kickboxer with two completely separate moves sets that can be switched between on the fly, and Lei-Fei, a Shaolin monk, employs many stances that flow into one another.
Taka-Arashi, one of the new characters added to Virtua Fighter 3, was omitted, apparently due to the developers not being able to make him work properly with the Virtua Fighter 4 system mechanics.
Fighting arena changes
The fighting arenas reverted back to the old Virtua Fighter style of flat and square, as opposed to Virtua Fighter 3's wild and undulating stage designs. The reason behind this was to make the game less random, and more balanced and competitive in nature. Walls, however, were kept and expanded upon with a wall stagger/juggle system and several wall types including high + unbreakable, low + breakable, and low + unbreakable + open corners.
Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution
Evolution was an updated version of Virtua Fighter 4. The game introduced two new characters and adjusted every other character as well. The two new characters were the Judoka-assassin, Goh Hinogami and the Muay Thai boxer Brad Burns. With the addition of Brad Burns, Vanessa Lewis's alternate Muay Thai style from Virtua Fighter 4 was removed and replaced with a Vale Tudo "Offensive" style; making her a solely Vale Tudo brawler.
All of the stages were adjusted. For example, Lei-Fei's stage in Virtua Fighter 4 previously took place during sunset, in Evolution it takes place during the morning.
Features at a Glance
- Improved Graphics: better anti-aliasing.
- New item store in Quest Mode.
- Currency system in Quest Mode.
- Opponent tracking log in Quest Mode: kept track of which opponents were fought in Quest Mode.
- Increased number of character items.
- Improved ranking system.
- Special gameplay modes (i.e. Hyper Fighter, See-Saw, Wrestler's, etc.).
- Emblem collecting: placed special incentive to defeat certain opponents or to avoid being defeated by certain opponents.
- New ring type; Semi-open/semi-walled.
- In Quest Mode, one of the tournaments is called the Sonic Cup. It's logo shows Sonic surrounded by rings.
In the US, Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution for PlayStation 2 also included as a bonus Virtua Fighter 10th Anniversary.
Final Tuned is the final update to Virtua Fighter 4. This version of the game was released only into Japanese arcades, and it made some gameplay fixes and added new stages. Also, new customization items were added.