Having been circulating the rumour mill for sometime and finally confirmed last weekend at the 2016 Sony PlayStation Experience event, we’re getting something that many people thought we wouldn’t see in a million years: another Marvel Vs. Capcom game, this time ditching the number four and using the sub-title Infinite. This should be cause for celebration, shouldn’t it? Even when it was just being rumoured last week my mind was racing over the character roster alone that could possibly show up in then not yet confirmed game: What would a Ms. Marvel look and play like? Will the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy be in this one? What about Ant-Man? But in reading a lot of previews and listening to shows about Infinite, I see a lot of negativity surrounding the game, most specifically regarding how the game is going back to 2v2 battles, the inclusion of the Infinity Gems and the roster…even though as of this writing there’s only been six confirmed characters: Iron Man, Captain’s Marvel and America, Ryu, Mega Man X and Morrigan.
Personally I love that the series is going back to the 2v2 battles because even as someone who spent a decent amount of time playing the Vs. Series going all the way back to Marvel Super Heroes and X-Men Vs. Street Fighter, I found the 3v3 battles in MvC2 and 3 hard to manage. What I loved about the Marvel cross-over fighting games over the regular Street Fighter series, though I did sink a lot of time into that series but was never what you would call particularly good, is how accessible and easy it was to get into compared to a more traditional 2-D fighting game. I distinctly remember playing the three Vs. games on the original PlayStation and then trying the original Street Fighter Alpha thinking I would know precisely how to play, and then lost big time. I later came to appreciate the regular numbered Street Fighter series as well as its Alpha spin-off trilogy, but to me it was never quite as fun as leaping screens into the air and throwing countless kinetic cards as Gambit.
Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, the first game to introduce the 3v3 battles into the Vs. Series, was a game I always wanted to play but circumstances stopped me from having a copy of my own in which to play until the PS3/Xbox 360 rereleases. With no arcade close to where I lived, I wouldn’t own the first system it was ported to, the Dreamcast, until much later after its too soon demise and when it made its way to the PS2, a system I did own, I was a poor student who couldn’t really afford to buy new games and eventually the price for even a used copy went way beyond what I could ever afford. When I finally got to play MvC2, I enjoyed it, but nowhere near as much as when I was playing any other entry in the series despite having characters I loved like Jill Valentine and Tron Bonne because it frankly felt too overwhelming.
Having cut my teeth on all the other games before it, trying to manage an extra fighter and then picking the right assist type for my characters went against what I loved so much about every other game in the series: how simple it was to just pick up a controller and get into a match. When Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 came out followed by its Ultimate counterpart, I frankly didn’t dive in until a price drop or two and when it was starting to show up less and less in store shelves. Even when I got the game I didn’t really put that much time into it for much the same reasons I didn’t enjoy part 2 despite a simpler control scheme and characters like Richard Rider Nova, Doctor Strange, Rocket Raccoon and Spider-Man voiced by Josh Keaton.
From what I’ve seen and read about Infinite, which like the rest of the world hasn’t been much, I like how this game looks at least to me to bring back the nostalgic feelings of playing X-Men Vs. Street Fighter, Marvel Super Heroes and the first Marvel Vs. Capcom.. I’m not coming from the perspective of someone who wishes to play competitively, count frames and learn hit boxes, but simply someone who wants to pick up a controller and play a jolly round or two as some of my favourite heroes from both the Marvel and Capcom universe. The reduction of the people in your party, combined with the returning Infinity Gems from the original Marvel Super Heroes make Infinity feel like less of a Marvel Vs. Capcom sequel, and more of a celebration of the now decades long history Capcom’s of licensed and cross-over fighters; One that has had more instances of 1v1 and 2v2 brawls despite what other outlets say.
A big mater on contention, despite having no real evidence in which to go upon, is people being upset over the lack of X-Men characters in Infinity. For one, the game is not coming out until fall of next year and no one has gone on record as saying that there will be no mutant characters in Infinite. Since Disney’s acquisition of Marvel in 2009 there has been a clear focus from Disney to promote characters they own the movie rights too, which right now excludes the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, but this hasn’t stopped mobile and free-to-play games like Marvel: Contest of Champions and Marvel Heroes from having X-Men characters added to their roster of playable characters so no one should assume that they’re off the table for Infinite as well.
While the seed of a licensed Marvel fighting game started with just the X-Men in X-Men: Children of the Atom, the climate in which that game through to the development of Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 is quite different from what it is now. In the mid-to-late 90’s, Marvel was not the company it is today and I’m sure when Capcom was getting approval from Marvel it was a lot less litigious than what it is now. Back then Marvel was happy to make hasty licensing deals just to stay afloat, something that led to Fox’s current iron grip on the X-Men and Fantastic Four film rights, which is in stark contrast to now when Marvel is one of the hottest brands around nowadays and is attached to some of the highest grossing films of all time. I wholly understand how long-time Vs. Series fans think that a Marvel Vs. Capcom simply isn’t a Marvel Vs. Capcom without hearing the words “Berserker Barrage” but this is the post Disney-Marvel world we live in and these sadly might just be the sacrifices that must be made for these games to get developed now.
To think positively on the matter, don’t think about how Infinite could possible be a game without X-Men, but rather what other amazing characters have gotten more popular since 2011 that would make awesome Vs. Series characters: How about Groot, Drax, Black Widow, Agent Venom or the above mentioned Ms. Marvel and Ant-Man. At the very least even if Infinite gets no X-Men at all, there’s still Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 which you can download right now on your PS4 and fairly soon for PC and Xbox One.
Right now I get general feeling that people are focusing more on what Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite isn’t as opposed to what it is based on very little information. For all we know right now Capcom could produce the single worst entry in the Vs .Series, but I choose to hope that the series going back to its roots can only be for the better and we’ll see a game that can be enjoyed by both EVO level players or those like myself who just simply like to play as some of their favourite characters in an over-the-top fighting games. There’s a new Marvel Vs. Capcom in the works, and we should be celebrating its existence instead of nit-picking over things we may or may not get. Up until a while ago articles and posts were being written about how there would never be a fourth entry in the Marvel Vs. Capcom series and I am very happy that Capcom has come out and proven those people wrong.