How Marvel Sent MvCI Out to Die (SPOILER: And They Don’t Care)
I’m going to preface this by saying this isn’t intended to be a full defense of Capcom in general; they’ve messed up a lot, and at least part of this disastrous launch and sales bomb is on them.
In case you hadn’t heard, MvCI released! Yeah, you probably only know that because of people mocking it on social media, not because Capcom had the funds to actually advertise this. The art style is garbage, the voice acting is atrocious, and the music is garbage. I have 30+ hours sunk into the game since last Tuesday. Why am I playing it? In my mind, MvCI is the best MvC game released. To quote a friend of mine
“ The most apt metaphor I think is imagine there’s a horribly disgusting week-old McDonald’s bag dripping with grease, but when you open the bag, there’s a pristine plate of Filet Mignon waiting for you. The outside makes you want nothing to do with it, but when you get inside, something special and delicious is waiting for you. At the same time though, there’s no way to get that Filet Mignon out of the bag without it getting tainted to some degree by the bag.”
I think that sums it up perfectly, but that’s not what I’m going to be talking about today. Rather, I want to talk about how badly Marvel messed this game over.
Let’s talk about the most obvious thing; the roster. The Marvel side is very obviously pushing the MCU, with notable players like Thanos, Ultron, Thos, Rocket Raccoon bringing this to the limelight (the notable exceptions being Captain Marvel, who’s movie hasn’t released yet, and Ghost Rider and Nova, who still have had some form in the MCU). If this was any other game, this wouldn’t be a surprise or a big deal. However, MvC is a series that has had characters such as Dr. Doom, Wolverine, Storm, Magneto, etc. beloved by the community, and their absence is a gaping hole.
However, as you probably already know, this was not Capcom’s fault. Aside from some incredibly bad PR, (IE, “no one remembers the X-Men” and Combo “Functions” Fiend) Marvel’s current CEO has a burning hatred for anything Fox currently owns. Nothing Fantastic Four or X-Men related could ever be in this game; with maybe the exception of DLC. So yeah, that’s half of an already small roster messed up by suits.
Now, Capcom’s side isn’t much better, however, there’s one thing we need to keep in mind: Capcom doesn’t have any money. Aside from Monster Hunter (and the shoved out Switch port of SF2), nothing Capcom has made in the last several years has made money. RE7 performed under what they wanted, SFV flopped, both Marvel 3s did poorly, and Dead Rising 4 also flopped. Capcom does not want to take risks, and this roster blatantly exemplifies that. Though why they brought back characters like Arthur and Spencer is beyond me.
This all culminates to what I want to point out though; Marvel is a billion dollar company, and yet they very clearly funded either nothing or very little of this game. Ironically, when it came to things that actively made the game worse, Marvel had their hands deep inside the game.
The graphics for MvCI (outside of story mode weirdly enough), are okay! They’re not amazing, but they’re not bad. It’s the artstyle that ruins everything about the look this game may have had. The forced realism that this game has to line up with MCU makes things appalling. This is, in the end, Marvel’s fault for pushing a ugly artstyle that doesn’t even look good in Injustice 2, a game which I think has fantastic graphical styling but garbage artstyle. But at least Injustice 2 didn’t have to go through the undertaking of bringing characters like Dante and Arthur into this garbage realism.
The music for the Marvel side is also something that was turned to trash by Marvel. Rather than the intense, fighting game styled music we got from games like MvC1 and MvC3, we get generic orchestral garbage. This, again, lines up with the MCU. On the flip side, I think most of the Capcom themes are okay, with a few notable exceptions. (Dante’s theme sounds like trash, and Jedah’s is good but it’s way worse than his DS3 theme.) But again, that’s half of the soundtrack ruined by Marvel meddling because of the insistence towards forcing everything to be like the MCU.
And therein lies a lot of the issues with Marvel’s involvement in MvCI. Rather than give Capcom money to touch up some of the graphics, or improve the roster (or, hell, even in Marvel had given them time to make a game in more than 11–12 months if the rumors are correct), they opted to meddle with themes, artstyle, and DRM. Oh right, if you hadn’t heard, MvCI is using notorious anti-modding DRM, Denuvo.
Call me conspiratorial, but there’s no doubt in my mind Marvel didn’t want their characters changed, so they forced Capcom to implement ways to stop it. Capcom has always been friendly to modders, SFIV, SFV, MvC3, etc. all have a huge assortment of mods and changes to the game. Why this game to suddenly start taking an anti-modding stance?
And now the big one: the story mode.
I’m gonna be blunt here; I don’t think there’s ever been a good fighting game story mode and I think fighting games should stop trying to have them because they take resources away from making your game good. (I have strong opinions on Netherrealms Studios bringing this trend in, but, that’s a whole different thing entirely.)
MvCI’s story mode is on a whole ‘nother level. As I said before, fighting game stories are always bad, and then you take a crossover game with a really silly crossover concept, and you’re not going to get anything good. I legitimately do not think you could make this story good, at least not in the way Marvel wants it to be.
And yes, I’m blaming Marvel for this as well. To start, Frank Tieri and Paul Gardner are both comic book writers, and it shows. While the Marvel characters are mostly written to their character (even if they’re not written well), most of the Capcom characters are completely out of character. You have Dante…not being Dante is honestly the best way to describe it, Morrigan claiming Jedah’s been corrupted by the Soul Stone when his main plan in the game is exactly what he does in Darkstalkers, and you have Arthur calling Thor a heathen god for some reason, yet treats Morrigan (the literal demon succubus) like a fair lady. It makes no sense, and it’s very clear Capcom had very little hand in how their characters are written.
As for why the story mode exists in the first place? I don’t blame that part entirely on Marvel; Capcom has been wanting to ape the success of NRS for a while now, their attempts to help simply SFV for casual players, yet unfortunately making the game very same-y and pristine for competitive players, is just an example of that. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if Capcom wanted to do this story mode because NRS does, but at the same time I wouldn’t be surprised if Marvel also mandated they do it because of they wanted to make a “cinematic experience”.
Nevertheless, it unfortunately shows that the story mode is where majority of Capcom’s money and effort went into, and probably Marvel’s too.
MvCI is the best MvC game released. I’m not exaggerating when I say that; I friggin’ love this game. That’s why it hurts so much to see that no one else did, especially the other half of the collaboration. Capcom did learn from SFV’s release; they didn’t try and push it out for EVO, the gameplay is nuts and certainly not the pristine esports angle they tried to push with SFV. Hell, they actually included Arcade Mode and vs CPU this time. If this was just made by Capcom, it’d probably be better than it is. But instead, we get stuck with Disney/Marvel suits mucking a ton of things up. Marvel sees this game as a quick cash-in, and are hoping to make money off of Capcom’s esports mode.
MvCI is a game where no one but the development team cared, and that’s a shame.