And all of a sudden there are more fighting games than we know what to do with. Street Fighter X Tekken, Tekken X Street Fighter, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Dead or Alive: Dimensions, King of Fighters, BlazBlue, and now, after a decade's hiatus, a new Marvel vs. Capcom game.
But what's it all about? It's been a long time since we played a Marvel vs. Capcom game. Our memory is a little hazy. Luckily producer Ryota Niitsuma is on hand to quarter circle forward our brain back into gear.
Eurogamer: For those who've never played a Marvel vs. Capcom game before, but have re-entered the fighting genre through Street Fighter IV, how does this differ?
Ryota Niitsuma: While Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is quite different from Street Fighter IV, any fighting genre fan should be able to enjoy it. It's quite accessible.
It will be accessible in the way that the control scheme is much easier than Street Fighter IV's. Street Fighter IV, the analogy Capcom producers often use is, it is a chess game. You have to see what your opponent is going to think and launch.
Marvel vs. Capcom is quite simple. Just by pressing the buttons you can launch aerial combos and so on. It's a different type of fighting game.
Eurogamer: For hardcore fans, what changes have you made to the fighting engine used in Marvel vs. Capcom 2?
Ryota Niitsuma: If you've played Marvel vs. Capcom 3 you'll know the balance of the game and direction is based on Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Therefore, they can play 3 quite easily.
Having said that we have inputted some new elements for the core fans to enjoy as well.
Eurogamer: What are the new elements?
Ryota Niitsuma: Long story short, you can launch an aerial combo by pressing one button. When you change the player mid-air, and also even with the same players, there are three selections you can go for. My analogy is the rock-paper-scissors game. The depth of the system under the fighting play is there for the core fan to enjoy.
Eurogamer: How do you go about balancing the superhero characters, many of whom are insanely powerful, so that they are not overpowered versus the Capcom characters?
Ryota Niitsuma: Yeah, it's a good question. When you think about it, when you're reading the character descriptions or if you know everything about the characters and their settings - even Ryu, he may be able to launch a hadoken, but he's only a mere mortal against the Marvel characters.
Having said that, we have to incorporate all the characters and balance them up. I started off thinking about deleting all the superheroes' natural powers to start with and picking up any powers I can incorporate into the game to balance it out.
Some of the characters are immortal. They can live forever. You have to take it as it is, you know what I mean? Otherwise the game wouldn't exist.
Eurogamer: Which character has proved to be the most difficult to balance?
Ryota Niitsuma: Hulk and Thor, they are huge in size. In comparison to those guys – we're just talking about the revealed characters at the moment – Amaterasu from Okami?, he's only about this height [lowers hand to the floor].
So against Hulk it's quite difficult to ensure the animation of the movement and effects are right. That was quite difficult to balance up.
Eurogamer: I reckon Iron Man is too powerful. Are you still fine-tuning the characters that have already been revealed?
Ryota Niitsuma: If you played the E3 version and then the Comic-Con version, we have changed it quite a bit to make improvements on the game balancing. I don't know if you noticed, but there should be quite a big difference.
With regards to Iron Man, he is quite strong. But having said that, we've got a couple of characters - they're just too far-gone strong at the moment. We are tuning up all of the balancing at the moment.
Eurogamer: How will the online features differ from those in Super Street Fighter IV? Will the net code be better?
Ryota Niitsuma: In comparison to Street Fighter IV, the lobby and the system will be completely different. The difficulty with this game is it's three on three. On top of that you can see all the effects coming out with moves. They are over-the-top.
Also, again because it's three on three, with the HUD and information on the screen, we've got so much more going on at once than Street Fighter IV. So it's a challenge for online games, because we can't afford to have lag while you're playing.
We are tuning that up at the moment. We are spending all of our resources tuning up all of those challenges. We can't tell you what the unique selling point of the online is for this particular title at the moment, but we're working on it.
Eurogamer: I thought Street Fighter IV and Super Street Fighter IV could have done with some video tutorials to help newcomers learn how to play the game. Any plans to do that with Marvel vs. Capcom 3?
Ryota Niitsuma: We haven't decided on a name for the mode yet, but we've got a special mode for each character. Say, for instance, Ryu, starting from the basic moves you will be clearing the missions so that at the end of the overall mission you should be able to do all of the moves Ryu can launch. That will be a practice mode that acts as a tutorial mode as well.
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Eurogamer: Street Fighter IV had very short cartoons before and after the arcade mode was completed for each character that acted as a story. Will Marvel vs. Capcom 3 have similar cartoons?
Ryota Niitsuma: Yes. Each character will have a story. However, because we've got so many more characters, not every character will have a movie to tell the story. We have the beginning story and each character has an ending story.
Eurogamer: Can you tell me anything about the story? Does it fit in with the timeline or canon?
Ryota Niitsuma: The writer from Marvel [Frank Tieri (Wolverine, Civil War: War Crimes, World War Hulk: Gamma Corps)] is writing it at the moment. It will be quite interesting because in the Marvel world some of the Capcom characters will go in and cross over, and vice versa. Interesting stuff is being written and being worked on.
Eurogamer: Who is your favourite character and why?
Ryota Niitsuma: Often I'm asked this question. It changes quite a bit. At the moment, from the Capcom side, it's Dante. Deadpool from the Marvel side. This is because we had to spend so much time on these two characters.
Eurogamer: Dante versus Deadpool: who wins?
Ryota Niitsuma: First of all, Deadpool is immortal. No one can beat him.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is due out for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in spring 2011.