There's not much to say at the start of a story about what's arguably the most anticipated sequel from Capcom in a decade besides "it's about damn time." After roughly 10 years of waiting, fans aching for a sequel to Marvel vs. Capcom 2--the Japanese company's epic fighter mash-up--are finally getting their wish next year. At Capcom's recent press event, we spied the game's first trailer and were given a smattering of information about what to expect from the upcoming PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 game, dubbed Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds.
The presentation was hosted by producer Ryota Niitsuma and special advisor to the project Seth Killian, better known for his involvement in that other long-anticipated Capcom fighting sequel. The presentation's opening offered a primer on the roots of the fighting genre and placed Capcom at the heart of it, with the various titles in the versus series, including X-Men vs. Street Fighter, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, and the two previous entries in the Marvel vs. Capcom series. The history lesson skipped ahead, past Capcom's lengthy sabbatical from the fighting genre, and picked up again in 2009 to offer notable props on the successful Street Fighter revival with Street Fighter IV. SFIV's success and Marvel vs. Capcom 2's impressive performance on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade ultimately set the stage for Marvel vs. Capcom 3, which brings us to the third entry in the series.
The game is set to hit the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 next spring and is being developed by what Killian dubs an all-star team of key staff who have worked on the previous versus games. The title is making use of the latest iteration of Capcom's proprietary MT Framework game engine, which has powered the original Dead Rising, Resident Evil 5, and the two entries in the Lost Planet series. The robust engine was touted as a good fit for the specific needs of the upcoming game. Given the title's comic angle, much attention is being put into creating a living comic book complete with little touches (such as a robust set of graphical shaders) to capture Marvel's style during combat, as well as unique in-game events that were mentioned fairly cryptically. The goal is to create something rich in fan service for comic and fighting fans alike.
While we weren't able to see the proper game running, the teaser trailer showed that Capcom is certainly on the right track. The minute-long trailer showcased the game's art style, teased the environment, and showed off some familiar faces mixing it up with one new one. While the trailer featured the disclaimer that the footage being shown was a work in progress, what was on display hit the right notes.
The presentation then shifted to examining the six characters seen in the teaser trailer, all of whom have had a modern-day 3D makeover. Wolverine looks sharp and in line with what looks to be his Astonishing X-Men outfit. Ryu, no stranger to a 3D model, features much more dramatic shading than we've seen in his previous appearances. Iron Man is shown rocking what looks to be the Extremis armor, while Morrigan sticks with her classic "barely there" outfit that has seen a visual upgrade since her appearance in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. Finally, the Hulk was suitably menacing and featured a bit of a retro look that's a far cry from his most recent Planet Hulk appearances. Hulk's playmate in the trailer was none other than the gun-sporting Chris Redfield, who was clearly having some issues taking on the green machine with his standard gun and knife combo.
Once the main presentation ended, Niitsuma, Killian, and Chris Baker from Marvel were on hand for a brief QA session that touched on some interesting information. In terms of music, the intent is to feature a sizable amount for the game, possibly going as high as 100 tracks that will include remixes of some of the classics and unique tunes for all the characters (thus bumping up the chances of hearing an update of "Take You for a Ride" pretty high). The next obvious question revolved around the game's roster of fighters. Specifics were not disclosed, although Niitsuma did say the team is aiming for more than 30 but that it would depend on time.
The next obvious point of discussion focused on the possibility of new roster members being added through downloadable content. While exact details on DLC are still being figured out, the intent is to have something unique. In terms of the specifics around how the characters are given their unique looks, the process begins with Capcom's interpretation of a hero that Marvel collaborates on to ensure the hero is true to its most current incarnation in the books.
The subject of control is also, understandably, a source of curiosity. At the moment the game's control scheme is still in flux, and the team is experimenting. This year's Tatsunoko vs. Capcom offered a good test bed for some of the thinking going into MVC3. The ultimate goal is to create a system that's easy for returning fans to pick and master but not totally intimidating to newcomers.
Overall, we have to say we're pleased. While there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical (yes, it's an early look, and yes, we didn't actually see the thing in motion, and yes, it's not due out until spring of 2011), we're opting not to be right now. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom was essentially a foray into this kind of game already and hit a lot of the beats we'd want out of MVC3. If, as we expect, many of the ideas from that game serve as a springboard for the mechanics in MVC3, then things should go well. Look for more on the game in the weeks and months to come.