Capcom thrilled fighting game audiences five months ago when they announced a brand new game in the Marvel vs Capcom series: Marvel vs Capcom Infinite. With seemingly more of a focus on the Marvel Cinematic Universe and changes made to key gameplay mechanics, there was a great deal of excitement. Then came what has become a trademark for Capcom: absolute silence. Those who have been following the 1+ year life of Street Fighter V are very familiar with this. As pointed out by websites like Polygon the lack of updates, long delays of promised DLC characters and updates and a general lack of communication with the very active Fighting Game Community has been very frustrating. Then came the nickel and diming as extra stages, “premium” costumes and more asked for more and more money from its users. At the same time Capcom stayed silent when customers asked where basic features like an arcade mode was coming and when changes to the awful interface and decidedly ropey online multiplayer code were happening. Instead we were just asked to pay more money for a measly set of extra characters and more and more cosmetic crap, treating Street Fighter V more like a free to play MOBA than a game that released at full price in February of 2016. Even when announcements and changes are made there are always caveats, delaying content in order to have it release with backend changes that Capcom continue to be incredibly vague about.
However, we finally received an update on Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite this week in the form of a story trailer:
It’s not bad! Capcom making Sigma, the villain of the Megaman X series, as part of the boss character as he is merged with Ultron shows Capcom is not resting on its laurels. The overall character selection isn’t terribly exciting however, leaning hard on characters from the previous MvC and characters that are big players or soon to be big in the MCU. Then there was some gameplay posted online and it’s… fine?
Being very much on the casual end of the MvC scale of fandom (I suck at them) I can only go by what more seasoned players are saying and they seem pretty happy with the gameplay shown so far. So the hardcores are probably on board as the inclusion of the Infinity Gems makes some interesting suggestions for strategy and a much tighter tag system looks promising.
However this game comes out in September one of the busiest times of the year for video game releases. For some context Street Fighter V was released in February 2016 where it only had to fight for mainstream gamers’ money with Farcry Primal, X-Com 2 and Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2. Capcom projected 2 million units sold at launch and the number of sales right now, after a year of being out on PS4 and PC, being featured on ESPN and streamed all over the world, SFV has sold a little over 1.5 million units. Now with the Marvel license to consider, as well as a release on Xbox One, PS4 and PC, this sort of number would be absolutely unacceptable. So what can Capcom do? Demos of game mechanics and pretty bland-looking character designs and artwork, Capcom needs something more to buoy this game in the eyes of the mainstream gamer. One word: STAR WARS.
Star Wars has a checkered history when it comes to video and computer games representing the films. The highs of the Atari arcade games, X-wing vs. Tie Fighter and Jedi Knight to mediocre junk like The Force Unleashed, the disastrous Star Wars Galaxies and the brutally awful 3D fighter Star Wars – The Masters Of Teräs Käsi:
Lest we forget that Star Wars characters made appearances to completely ruin the balance of a couple of Soul Calibur games back in the day, those characters still very much felt shoehorned into a game world that they did not belong to. Plus Starkiller can go to hell, that OP piece of crap.
ANYWAY, here is why having Star Wars characters in Marvel vs Capcom isn’t just a good idea but could actually make sense both business and story-wise. Patton Oswalt is going to help me with this though perhaps without the decapitated head of Chewbacca:
So as we see in the story trailer for MvC Infinite Ultron and Sigma possess the Infinity Gems. We see that the gems’ power is used to merge create Ultron Sigma assumedly with the Soul and Reality gems? So their power allows them to take over Asgard and it safe to assume that creating this bad guy brings the two different realities of Marvel and Capcom together. What if there is another force lurking in the darkness? Perhaps an ally of Ultron Sigma or the one pulling the strings? What if it is Supreme Leader Snoke, Emperor Palpatine or even the great domed-one himself Darth Vader? What if three realities have merged and now Luke Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, Darth Maul and Kylo Ren are to enter the fray?
Star Wars has never gotten a fair shake in the fighting game world but what if they could be added to a series with a reputation for being excellent, crowd-pleasing video games? This would certainly not be the first time that Disney has taken advantage of owning
everything the Star Wars universe. Disney’s try at the “collectables video game” made popular by Activision’s Skylanders, Disney Infinity, featured a great deal of Star Wars characters. It was even called Disney INFINITY. How many more casual fans would be drawn in by the inclusion of Star Wars characters new and old? As much as I love seeing Capcom pull out random characters from their back catalog (come on Nillin and Asura!) Star Wars might be their best bet for mainstream appeal. If they want to get over the bad press of Street Fighter V and engage more casual fans, fans who have a lot of games to choose from in Q4 of 2017, this game could appeal not just on the basis on the latest slate of Marvel movies but of Star Wars The Last Jedi also.
Who knows, perhaps this is why Marvel is keeping their cards so close to their chest? Maybe this is why we have seen such a limited number of characters in a game that is meant to be coming out in less than five months? Search your feelings. You know it to be true.