The fighting game genre has many iconic franchises: Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Soul Calibur and Killer Instinct among countless others. But perhaps one of the most unique and beloved series is Marvel vs Capcom.
The Marvel vs Capcom series has a long history starting with 1994’s X-Men: Children of the Atom with the latest entry being 2011’s Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. The series takes Marvel’s iconic superheroes and mashes them together with the gameplay of Capcom’s fighters and Capcom’s own characters. The series really gained steam with the release of Marvel vs Capcom 2, a game that is seen as one of the best fighting games ever. The game was played competitively from its release in 2000 until the series’s next game in 2011; that’s an insane amount of time, very few games last that long competitively. It just goes to show how special this series is to the people who play it.
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is following in MvC2‘s footsteps as it’s still being played competitively all across the globe despite being five years old. It’s the second oldest game at this year’s Evo tournament (the Super Bowl of fighting games); the only game older than it is Super Smash Bros Melee, a games who’s players are the most die hard of fanatics. As new games have released in all of the major franchises, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is still there… A remenant of last gen’s fighting games. However, UMvC3 is slowly dying. The game is getting less popular each year, as all of its best players move onto new games to reap the rewards that those games have. As a huge MvC fan this is heart breaking. It seems like the current state of the Fighting Game Community prefers games that have constant updates and new content instead of ones that are “finished”. If Marvel vs Capcom is to remain relevant, a new game needs to come out… And fast.
One of the major problems with this is how Marvel’s treated video games ever since 2011. The comic giant has left the console market (besides two Lego games) and focused heavily on the mobile market, their efforts have proven extremely successful. Marvel’s complete lack of focus on consoles has been questionable to say the least. The company has become the biggest name in film since 2011, one would think they’d use that to try to make some huge AAA games. But alas they haven’t and console gamers have been left in the dust…. until now.
Marvel has recently announced that they’re partnering with Sony and Insomniac to create a AAA Spider-Man game; Marvel says this is just the beginning of their plans for the console and they have big plans in-store, perhaps Marvel vs Capcom is apart of those plans? Marvel’s biggest competitor, DC Comics, has taken advantage of Marvel’s absence in the console market and created two huge franchises, Batman: Arkham and Injustice. It seems like the new Spider-Man game will be a direct competitor to Arkham, so perhaps they’re looking for a competitor to Injustice too? What better way to do that than to revive a cult classic series?
Of course Marvel would have to get the other half of Marvel vs Capcom to agree to do it. I don’t think Capcom would decline the offer though. The company is having serious financial issues right now, the company’s resorted to making huge games like Street Fighter V and Dead Rising 4 exclusive just so they can be made. Capcom desperately needs more hits and a company to back said hits, Marvel would hopefully be down to that.
One worrying thing about a new potential MvC game is the two companies butting heads over the game’s roster. Marvel has recently had a “secret” but extremely obvious boycott against the X-Men and Fantastic Four; Fox owns the film rights to these characters and Marvel isn’t happy about that, as Marvel owns/partially owns the film rights to almost every other Marvel character. This boycott has diminished the importance of these characters in the comics and has significantly reduced the amount of merchandise for these character (the F4 currently having no new merch). If Marvel continues with this, it would surely affect a new MvC, as the X-Men and Dr Doom are a huge part of the series’ identity. Perhaps Capcom could fight for these characters by either including characters Marvel wants to market; alternatively they could tell Marvel that including a couple X-Men and Dr Doom could avoid a serious fan backlash. One can only hope, MvC wouldn’t feel complete if Wolverine wasn’t in it.
One interesting thing to consider is how Capcom would handle the game’s roster. Would it ship with a “complete” roster or would it start as a “platform” like Killer Instinct/Street Fighter V? The former would please most gamers more, but the latter would keep them interested in the game for much longer. It’d be exciting to see which characters are coming each month, especially if they were surprises. But on the other hand, I would like to get the game with its complete roster or mostly compete; that way I don’t get too attached to characters, only to find out there’s more I’d rather play as.
Things haven’t been too bright for the future of Marvel vs Capcom in the past five years, but recently a light at the end of the tunnel has appeared. The VP of Marvel’s game division, Jay Ong, has said that Marvel hears the fans’ demands for MvC but they can’t say anything about it right now. While that may seem like nothing, I think it’s pretty hopeful; if Marvel wasn’t considering it at all, he would have said so. Perhaps it really is on the table and Marvel’s discussing it with Capcom right now? One can only hope. In the mean time, we can keep replaying the old games in the series and keeping the series alive. “It ain’t over, ’til it’s over!”