Go For Broke: Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and the Insatiable Greed of Capcom

Capcom has been one of my most beloved gaming companies for a very long time.  As the creators of my favorite series Devil May Cry (though I am sorta skeptical about this new Dante), Capcom has provided me with many gaming moments to fondly look back on and has made countless fighting game masterpieces from Street Fighter to Rival Schools. Yet lately, the only thing I think of when I see Capcom's logo is greed, the almighty dollar, and how quantity over quality reigns supreme. The respect and enjoyment of long time fans is all but meaningless; the announcement of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a testament to this.  And if Capcom continues along its money-hungy path, it could spell disaster for the company’s future. Or at the very least, lead to the loss of endearment from its most loyal supporters.

Ever since the early days of Street Fighter II and more currently with Street Fighter IV, Capcom has milked its fighting games at every single opportunity just to make another cent: Street Fighter IV, Super Street Fighter IV, and Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition. This isn't to mention of course Super Street Fighter II: HD Remix and the numerous SFII iterations that gamers were bombarded with in the early 90s. Now, Capcom is poised to release Street Fighter x Tekken, Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition, and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.  And while I'm all for arguably fresh fighting games from Capcom such as its Namco Bandai collaboration, the rest is borderline rehash and confirms a theory I have suspected about the company for quite sometime.

Once a game is released, and it is almost as if  Capcom is 'testing' it in order to make a game that is more balanced by adding new characters, correct a few kinks, and to overall appease the competitive community – as well as making it nearly irresistible to those who did not know if they should give the first game when it was initially released.  The fact that Capcom is so concerned with the community and making a fun game that is perfect is very admirable and shows loyalty to its community. At least one would think.  We are essentially test dummies to see what is wrong with the game so that Capcom  can make an upgraded version and charge it at a discount.  But those who have already purchased the 'test' version of the game aren't even given a choice to download the new content and updates (except for the Arcade Edition of Super Street Fighter IV). And this is how Capcom treats is fans who were loyal enough to purchase the gimped version of its games in this first place?

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 should not be a game that is announced within the first year of Marvel vs. Capcom 3’s life span.  It is almost as if Capcom is indirectly admitting that the original game was rushed – which I believe it was.  I don’t think enough thought went into the game and it was more-or-less playing off the fact people really wanted to see the francise return.  The game released a whole decade after MvC2: New Age of Heroes and there is no legitimate reason for ideas not to have been swimming around in the developers' heads during that 10 year hiatus.  The roster for Marvel's side seemed all based off of movie publicity or nonsense characters – Rocket Raccoon, seriously? Where's Emma Frost and Juggernaut? Capcom seems to want to try to make things interesting for gameplay and avoid character duplicates rather than thinking about which characters the fans are really gunning for – like Megaman X (and do not even get me started on the two MM games being canceled).  But this is contradictory to the fact that some of the new characters are reminiscent of  players already in the game.  In a gameplay trailer for “Firebrand”, he does a Hyper Combo that very much like Shuma-Gorath’s “Hyper Mystic Ray” in the fact it Off the Grounds (OTG) and goes from the bottom of the screen to the top. And another attack that makes a clone of himself that attacks in random intervals is similar to Felicia’s “Kitty Helper” Hyper Combo.

Something else that makes me scream bullshit is the fact that Capcom is purposely holding back features just to make the next version all that more desirable to the buyer.  Even though both titles were worked on by two different teams, Super Street Fighter II: HD Remix and Street Fighter IV are both made by Capcom.  HD Remix had lobbies that could be viewed by spectators and hold multiple people, while Street Fighter IV couldn’t. This changes however in Super Street Fighter IVMarvel vs. Capcom 2 had Spectator Mode when released online, yet Marvel vs. Capcom 3 did not. Yet somehow, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will include this highly sought after mode – notice a pattern?  It appears that Capcom only holds back features in games knowing people will buy a second version if more things are added and better “balance” is achieved. And with Street Fighter x Tekken upon us, I’m sure it’ll have a “Hyper”, “Super”, “Ultra”, or “Ultimate” version. So I think I’ll wait for the second go around. And this brings me to my next point.

Quality over quantity has always been something that gamers will take pride in and shows the integrity and the kinship it has with those that play their games long after the next big thing has come out.  Street Fighter III: Third Strike was played during the fighting game drought and is being supported so much that it is making a comeback for an official online release.  Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was being played for 10 years, an entire decade before Marvel vs. Capcom 3 hit the shelves. Why?  Quality was put into these games.  Though, Street Fighter III had two iterations before it, each one featured a complete and dynamic change to try to appeal to the fighting game community.

I talk about quality in previous games, but in the Vs. series, a lot of the same sprites from the older games are used.  Cammy’s sprite was in Street Fighter Alpha 3, X-Men vs. Street Fighter, and even in Marvel vs. Capcom 2; Capcom just changed her move properties.  You also have to remember a lot of the X-Men and Marvel Sprites came from X-Men: Children of the Atom. Even B.B. Hood and Morrigan had the same sprites as they did in Dark Stalkers 3.  Capcom has been rinsing and repeating for quite some time, but this time it is much more noticeable. It is no longer a 'few and far in-between' thing, it is a regular occurrence that is starting to plague the community’s body like an infectious cancer.

It is high time that the gaming community stand up for itself.  Gears of War 2 has had six title updates without needing to repackage itself, each one changing various things within the game and trying and make it more balanced.  NetherRealm Studios has made various updates to Mortal Kombat within its first months of release to fix things that were wrong with it, quicker than any fighting game ever has and yet it somehow doesn't warrant the release of new title.  BlazBlue: Continuum Shift has had three updates, the first two to include characters that match up to the Japanese Arcade build, and a final version which added the third and final character, “Platinum the Trinity” as well as a complete system and character overhaul. Capcom has the ability to do the very same thing, but it is fixated on dollars and cents.  It would rather milk the community that stands behind them for making the company as successful as it is.

As a fighting game advocate and I am a huge supporter of Capcom, but that all but quickly waning as a lack originality and thoughtlessness has plagued the gaming giant.  It seems as though Capcom is stacking up garbage, putting a cherry on top and calling it a sundae. And then it asks fans to lovingly eat it up.  What I really want is for Capcom to put in time to its games.  I want to see the type of worthy gameplay that would net fans another ten years of play.  I want to see the company before the downloadable content, before all the live streams and rabid updates.  I want to see the company that is willing to make a good game despite whether or not it is too profitable because it loves what it does and the people who continue to support them in all endeavors. Capcom's own Keiji Inafune walked out on the company he was with for so long. And I am praying that Capcoms change's its ways so that I, as do others, do not feel the need to walk the same path he did.

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