Despite a Rough Weekend, Marvel vs. Capcom Players Aren’t Giving Up

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite hasn’t even been out for three months yet, but some members of its community feel like Capcom’s long-awaited crossover fighter is already on its deathbed. How is that possible?

Let’s start with this past weekend’s Battle for the Stones finals, which pit past Evo winners against folks who earned themselves special, rule-changing Infinity Stones at various tournaments over the past few months. Despite the grandiose premise (the winner even got a replica of Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet), much of the actual event played out like a weekly local in somebody’s basement.

Battle for the Stones ran concurrently with Capcom Cup 2017, and it was clear which one was Capcom’s priority. While Capcom Cup enjoyed the glossy production values of any other big Street Fighter V event, Battle for the Stones was pretty barebones in terms of presentation. Capcom didn’t do a great job promoting the event, and it doesn’t look like many folks went to it, either.

The only portion of Battle for the Stones that would be played out on Capcom’s big stage on Sunday was the grand finals between Christopher “NYChrisG” Gonzalez and Jonathan “Cloud805” Morales. That’s two days of buildup for a match that lasted 20 minutes, with no special reveals or trailers to follow it. Despite the fantastic efforts of Steve “Tasty Steve” Scott as stage host and Michael “Yipes” Mendoza and Samantha “Persia” Hancock on commentary, it was hard not to feel like Battle for the Stones was nothing but an undercard to warm folks up for Capcom Cup.

The Capcom Cup 2017 finals, as well as the stunning Street Fighter V Season 3 trailer that followed it, would only add to the sting. Capcom is all-in on Street Fighter in a way that it hasn’t been in years, while also seemingly putting as little effort as possible into its big new Marvel game. Gonzalez, the Battle for the Stones runner-up and one of the best Marvel vs. Capcom players of all time, tweeted that he didn’t even get his second-place trophy, and that he’d be focusing on Street Fighter going forward.

The presentation of Battle for the Stones in many ways mirrors the presentation of Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite as an actual game. Despite its frenetic, open-ended and generally well-liked gameplay, Infinite has sub-par graphics, a roster largely recycled from Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and a chintzy-looking UI that lacks any personality or attention to detail.

But it’s also exactly what many Marvel fans have been waiting for, and not all of them are willing to give up on their favorite game:

Marvel vs. Capcom fans are no stranger to this sort of thing. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 saw next to nothing in the way of balance patches, DLC, and Capcom-supported tournaments after it launched in 2011, and yet players kept its competitive scene alive for six years through sheer force of will. Considering that Infinite has gotten a steady stream of characters and multiple balance fixes since September, it’s going to take more than a disappointing tournament and some trolling tweets to keep its players down.

And hey, just look at Street Fighter V, which had a positively abysmal launch in early 2016 plagued by online issues and virtually nothing fun to do for casual fans. Nearly two years later, after a ton of significant updates and with an incredibly promising Arcade Edition overhaul around the corner, the game is in the best place it’s ever been.

Will Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite get a similar treatment down the road? It’s hard to say. But one thing’s for sure: Infinite’s most passionate players are going to continue to compete, run tournaments and create crazy combo videos — with or without Capcom’s support.