Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite was bound to have a rocky start with the level of deserved criticism it and publisher Capcom received in the months leading up to its release. At this point, it’s tough to remember how high the excitement levels were for a potential new Marvel vs. Capcom game, a series that wasn’t expected to receive a successor after Capcom lost the rights when Disney acquired Marvel. Marvel was still willing to work with Capcom, which led to Infinite’s creation. But anticipation for it started seriously diminishing when more of it was shown.
It’s been clear for a while that Capcom is hesitant to spend too much money on developing new games these days, but Infinite was an odd one to skimp on the budget with. The graphics are subpar compared to even its last-gen predecessor, and 24 of the 30 characters it launched with had their character models reused from the previous game. But this got scummy when some of the post-release paid-DLC characters looked far better in motion than most that launched with the game, like Black Panther and Monster Hunter. It appeared players had to pay beyond the $60 asking price for the best cast members, which was a bad look. The combined factors above are the reason why its sales have been underwhelming thus far.
What’s most appealing about the next three faces is how they’re all Marvel characters who’ve either appeared in recent movies or will appear in one soon. First is Winter Soldier, who previously fought alongside Captain America in World War II, but was suspected to have died in battle. Like too many comic book characters, he was revealed to have been alive later on, though is initially brainwashed to fight the heroes before snapping out of it. Winter Soldier is best at fighting opponents on the ground, using a series of guns and a bionic cybernetic arm to fight from close and long ranges. He can also generate a Metal Shield, which will make him temporarily invulnerable, though his move set will be limited while it’s active.
Also, his character model is peculiarly reminiscent of Chris Redfield’s, who he happens to be fighting in the screenshots. Don’t tell me they’re seriously reusing these for other characters now…
These days, even those who aren’t deep into comics know who Black Widow is, given her presence in several Marvel Cinematic Universe films. She has no special powers, and thus relies on a series of gadgets in battle. Her gauntlets can fire off projectiles like sticky bombs and nerve gas, the latter of which will temporarily stun the opponent. She’s also more agile than the average character.
Third is Venom, one of Spider-Man’s biggest foes, who is (are?) also returning from the first two Marvel vs. Capcom titles. Due to that, he’s retained many of his techniques from those games, including the Venom Strike and Venom Throw. He also has some new ones, like a Venom Glide that can travel in six directions and will help him close the gap on opponents. His new voice is a little too high-pitched, though, and would sound better with Carnage. But it’s still better than getting Topher Grace to voice him.
The characters look nice in motion, but like the previous DLC offerings, they should have been in the main game when in launched in September. In fact, that goes double for these characters, considering how identifiable they are. If they weren’t ready for the launch date, they should have delayed the game to a point where they, and perhaps more characters, were ready. It also would have given them more time to give the visuals the desperate polish they needed. I’m not sure if Capcom cared about whether they launched it before or after Dragon Ball FighterZ, but the Marvel brand’s popularity won’t be dwindling any time soon, so they had plenty of time.
Now, they’ll have to rely on selling the existing game to more consumers, which is a considerably more difficult task. The demo that will only be available this weekend will slightly help, which will let all who download it play with all 30 launch characters, though it doesn’t sound like it will allow for online play. In other words: It’s closer to the demo that should have been available after E3 instead of the underwhelming story-based one they went with. I also said “will slightly help” because it will only be available for PlayStation Plus members on PS4, and not on XB1 and Steam. At least the game is on sale digitally and at multiple retailers for $40 on every platform, but this won’t be anywhere near enough to save the game’s sales.
We’ll find out if Capcom is serious about helping this game if they put forth some significant plans before the fiscal year ends on March 31st, even if they’re unlikely to make their sales goal of two million copies. If they don’t, it will imply that those rumors about the game’s rushed development and pitiful budget were true after all.