HONOLULU, Hawaii – At its Captivate international press event held at the Sheraton Waikiki, Capcom debuted the first trailer for the April 2011 release, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and offered the first details on the new “living comic book” art style that the development team has embraced for this latest brawler.
It’s been 10 years since gamers have seen a new Marvel vs. Capcom game, although Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes has sold nearly 1 million copies on Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Store since it was re-released digitally last year. This third game has been one of the most-requested sequels in the storied history of the Japanese game maker, which dates back to the dawn of the arcade age in 1979.
“Marvel vs. Capcom 2, which added three player team-based fighting to the franchise, is now one of the fastest-selling games of all times,” said Seth Killian, special advisor on Marvel vs. Capcom 3 at Capcom. “It had the highest awareness of any title at launch last year -- bigger than Madden or Wii Sports Resort. Marvel has only grown in the time since we released the original Marvel vs. Capcom 2 in 1999.”
Capcom officially entered the quality fighting ring back in 1991 with Street Fighter II, which has become a billion dollar franchise for the company. This game introduced blocking and combos and essentially put the fighting genre on the map. Over the years, fighting games became popular, before crashing as button combinations became too complex for some gamers. After a 10-year hiatus, Capcom recently re-entered the fighting ring with Street Fighter IV last year, which became a global phenomenon.
“With Marvel vs. Capcom 3 we’re applying everything we’ve learned over the last 20 years,” said Killian. “It’s the culmination of the depth of past fighting games and the minimizing of complexity. We’re moving away from the super hard game mechanics and returning to the roots of this franchise. We hope to open doors to as many players as possible by making this game fun for both new players and fans of the franchise.”
The new game is being built on the MT Framework, which is the same tech that Capcom used to create Resident Evil 5 and Lost Planet 2. Killian said it’s the biggest engine that a fighting game has ever had under the hood. The game ultimately allows players to satisfy their “what if” scenarios, pairing Earth’s mightiest heroes versus the planet’s best fighters.
“Marvel has some of the biggest characters in entertainment today, they’re much bigger than just a comic book company like they were when we made the last game,” said Killian.
And this new game offers Marvel heroes as you’ve never seen them before thanks to the new “living comic book” art style, which uses special shaders to bring superheroes like Iron Man, Hulk and Wolverine to life. Capcom worked closely with Capcom to capture everything from catchphrases to opening and closing slates to in-game events. Each superhero will have a personal story and a unique ending. And for the first time in the franchise, this fighting game will have an overarching story line that Marvel and Capcom have conceived.
“The special shaders made Super Street Fighter 4 stand out visually,” said Killian. “The shader department at Capcom is kick-ass. This game has a dark comic book ink style, which is rich for fighting game nerds and comic book guys.”
Killian said another area of vast improvement in the new game is that the 30-plus characters were hand-picked for a reason.
“Marvel vs. Capcom 2 had a lot of characters who were frankly just dumped in there,” admitted Killian. “There’s Iron Man and he does some moves, but there was no sense of context or excitement. This game has a sense of context and excitement for each character.”
The first trailer showed off Iron Man and Killian said this character is a “delight for the lighting guys when you see the glints and what’s happening with him in the game.” Wolverine appears in his classic style, but there are reasons behind that Capcom will reveal later. While Hulk is immediately recognizable, he has a new look that’s compatible with the game’s new visual style.
“We’ve seen Ryu a million times, but the art style and shaders bring him out in a new way,” said Killian. “You could see him in a frame of a Marvel comic book, and maybe we will. With Morrigan, let’s just say her assets are there. The ESRB had us take a second pass on this trailer because of her breasts. And Chris Redfield, who has a gun, gestures at the new types of characters we’re going to bring in. We’ll talk about how we made some of the character choices moving forward.”
The game’s still early in development with a year before launch. Killian said the controls are still in flux, but “there are a lot of really smart ideas floating around right now.” The key for the team is to design a game that appeals to the new Marvel fans, while retaining the core base that has been playing Capcom fighters for 20-plus years.
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About the Author
John Gaudiosi has been covering videogames for the past 20 years for outlets like The Washington Post, CNET, Wired Magazine and CBS.com. He has focused on the convergence of entertainment and videogames for outlets like Video Business, Home Media Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Gamerlive.TV and is also a freelance game columnist for Reuters and writes for outlets like Forbes.com, NVISION, Official PlayStation Magazine, EGM Now, Geek Monthly, PrimaGames.com, and Yahoo! Games. John also serves as the video game expert for NBC in Washington D.C. and has produced videogame documentaries for The History Channel and Starz Entertainment. John was named one of the Top 50 Game Journalists in the world by Next-Gen.biz in 2007. He is the co-author of Scholastic Books' How to Get into Videogames, Prima Publishing's Madden: Twenty Years of Videogame Football and Electronic Arts: The Official History.