Capcom Looks to Please Fighting Fans with Marvel vs. Capcom 3
According to Capcom Producer Rey Jimenez and Special Adviser Seth Killian, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 exists, basically, because fans wanted it to exist.
It was the success of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 on Xbox Live in 2008 (followed by its port to the Playstation Network in 2009), most of a decade after the game was initially released in arcades and for the Sega Dreamcast, that pushed Capcom to revisit the series at all. Killian and Jimenez said that 10 years on, the community for MvC2 was huge — and the fans were asking for another entry in the series.
In a Beverly Hills PR firm’s conference room, Jimenez and Killian show me the game they’ve been laboring over. Without any prompting, they’re already telling me the story of MvC3′s conception and birth, as well as the evolutionary strides Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds will make when it’s released on Feb. 15. Meanwhile, it’s tough to stop watching the CPU-controlled Marvel and Capcom characters wailing on each other as the game runs on a nearby Xbox 360.
“MvC2 was the fastest-selling game on Xbox Live,” Killian said. “People seem very excited after 10 years. The competitive community has been playing the whole time — and they’ve been playing for keeps.”
Jimenez produced the port of MvC2 to Xbox Live back in 2008, and obviously it was an unexpected success. That success more or less made a follow-up to the fighter inevitable, but because the community involved with the game is so dedicated and excited about MvC2 and the way that it plays, Capcom wanted to be careful about updating it.
“We’re not reinventing the wheel,” Killian said. “We’ve been listening to the fans. We tried to focus on what we did right before, and take what good ideas the fans had.”
The plan was to work in the new technology and updates that the fighter genre has seen in the last decade, but without compromising core gameplay. And after a few rounds with MvC3, it’s pretty clear that the way the game plays remains pretty much the same — with a few improvements.
“There are a lot of things we’re able to do coming off of Super Street Fighter IV,” said Jimenez. “Like the move into the 3D realm.”
The fresh coat of graphical paint does gleam on MvC3, though Jimenez acknowledged that there were purists in the MvC community who thought the graphical update was the wrong move. From Capcom’s perspective, it seems, it couldn’t be helped — the updated graphics were a coin flip, and not everyone was going to be happy.
Still, in almost every other area, Jimenez and Killian reiterate that Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is basically a love-letter to fans: fighting game fans, Capcom fans, and Marvel fans. Killian consults with Capcom on fighting games and works with the fan community, Capcom Unity.
“We give them (fans) a place to tell their ideas and get as many into games as we can,” Killian said. “That’s basically my job: I come to the table and say, ‘The Internet wants the following things.’”
Among those things: some simplified controls to allow newer players to get into the game; deeper stat-tracking features for fighters to see exactly how they fight, broken down into numbers; and a greater online presence in the form of fighter cards that show off stats, character teams, and other information.
There’s also a lot worked into the game that shows the Marvel influence. Killian and Jimenez mentioned the under-the-surface kinds of things that Marvel fans will notice in the game, but that will go over the heads of the uninitiated. Killian mentioned a specific Captain America costume, for example, from when The Punisher took over the role of Cap. For Marvel fans, this is the kind of under-the-surface reference that Killian, Jimenez and Capcom think they’ll really enjoy, and MvC3 is fairly well chock full of them.
The game also sees the introduction of a story mode that gives each character a 10-stage mission mode. Those missions will basically be tutorials on the ins and outs of each character, while lending the game a plot (which MvC2 notably lacked). Each of Fate of Two Worlds’ 32 characters will have a unique, comic book-styled ending, as well, and Capcom brought in Marvel Comics writer Frank Tieri to pen the storylines to make sure they were as authentic-feeling as possible.
It all comes together into a game that Jimenez and Killian, fighting game and Marvel fans themselves, are pretty excited about. The way they tell the story, the conception of the game, its very genesis, has basically started with Marvel vs. Capcom fans, and it sounds like the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 team has worked pretty hard to give the series’ fans exactly what they want as often as possible.
From the hour I spent with the game and two of the guys behind it, it seemed like they might have just succeeded.
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