It’s been nearly a week since Capcom released Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, a game that had one of the most tumultuous marketing periods of any title this year. In fact, it’s almost tough to remember how heavily fans begged Capcom and Marvel Games to green light a new installment, after they thought Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 would be the end. The same applied to the level of excitement shortly after it was announced at PlayStation Experience last year, especially when Mega Man X and Captain Marvel were among the first characters revealed. But as more of the game was shown, a significant portion of that crowd was disappointed with some features.
The roster came as the biggest disappointment. A nearly-equal amount of returning characters and new faces would have been ideal, but you could almost see the heads of fans collectively shaking when they realized most of the 30-character initial roster was returning from previous games. Of them, only the aforementioned X and Darkstalkers’ Jedah were new to the series on the Capcom side, while Captain Marvel, Gamora, and Ultron were new for the Marvel side. There’s also Thanos, who returned from the MvC games before 3, and received a character model for the first time.
To clarify: The core issue wasn’t how a significant part of the cast was returning from previous games alone. The problem was how many of them had their character models lifted directly from the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 games, which made the game feel like a quick and haphazard effort. Worse, the altered art style made some characters look worse; instead of going for comic book-style aesthetics like with the MvC3 titles, Capcom instead opted for a more realistic one while desiring to keep the budget low.
Those facts combined with how this was launching with a lower character count than the original MvC3 had plenty hesitant to buy it on launch day. What made those same people more hesitant is how Capcom quickly announced the remaining members in the first batch of DLC characters just before release. Black Panther and Sigma were already known for the Marvel and Capcom sides, respectively, as both were revealed through Story Mode previews earlier this year. It was also confirmed that Black Widow, Winter Soldier, and Venom will join from the Marvel side, while Monster Hunter will also come from the Capcom side. The characters will be available as part of the $30 Season Pass.
Bizarrely enough, they’re releasing four Marvel characters and two Capcom characters instead of providing an even amount, for reasons I can’t fathom. Capcom makes odd decisions sometimes, and this is another example to add to the list.
What’s also bizarre is why those Marvel characters weren’t in the game from the start, since they’re important faces from several movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Avengers movies are the hottest among them, so I’m surprised Marvel didn’t mandate that they be included for marketing purposes.
News that the DLC characters will all arrive by the end of the year immediately led to skeptics suspecting the characters are mostly done, and simply need polish. It’s hard to doubt this, considering we’re in the last week of September, so the characters will arrive over the next three months. Perhaps it would have been better if Capcom delayed this a bit so they could add these characters to the base game; but given the company we’re discussing, there’s a great chance they did this to increase profits on the game. In fairness, some aspects were out of their hands, as it’s Marvel’s fault that staples of the MvC franchise like Wolverine and Magneto weren’t included.
It’s a shame that decision was made, because it’s clear the development team put a lot of resources into creating the new characters. This can be seen well through Jedah, as the team fleshed out his move set and animations despite how they had to neuter him from his Darkstalkers form. The same applies to Thanos and Gamora. It would have been nice if the team was given the resources to dedicate a similar level of effort to the other characters.
This effect can also be seen through the trailer for Monster Hunter. She’s clearly a labor of love from the team, who perhaps consulted with the Monster Hunter franchise’s developers to make sure she utilized many of the series’ weapons well in battle. She’s well animated and looks fun to play, though of course, there’s no way to tell if she’ll have the tools to be formidable in battle at the moment.
There was hope that Capcom would learn from the mistakes they made with Street Fighter V last year, where the core gameplay was good but overall package was lacking. The handling of Infinite makes it appear they were intent on repeating them instead. Its sales thus far in the UK and on Steam suggest that those interested not only didn’t find Capcom’s release plans appealing, but were also hesitant after SFV’s release. There’s a chance something could be done to increase the game’s sales from here on, though the chances of a rebound don’t look good given the company’s previous actions.