2D fighting game Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 launches only nine months after Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Why so soon?
It's to do with "things most gamers don't care about, even though they're realities that affect every gamer's life," Capcom fighting guru Seth Killian told Eurogamer. That is, corporate release schedules and legal contracts.
"Marvel is a big company that has their own schedule of licenses with windows," Killian explained. "They have a huge impact on things like that. To have the wide range of characters we've been able to have in the game...
"We have the license for this specific game, but other companies outside of Capcom have licenses for other Marvel games that impinge. So we have to find specific times where we're able to release products. It's on the Capcom side and on the Marvel side."
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, due out this month, is just one of a number of games based on Marvel comics to launch this year.
After Capcom launched MVC3 in February, Sega released Thor, then Captain America. Activision's recently released Spider-Man: Edge of Time, developed by Beenox, and X-Men: Destiny, created by Silicon Knights, followed.
And after the launch of UMVC3, more Marvel video games will release. Activision, with developer Beenox, will launch a new Spider-Man game around July 2012 to tie in with the new Spider-Man movie.
"I don't ask anybody to feel sympathetic about that," Killian added. "These kinds of corporate realities and legal contracts and things like that shape all of our lives whether we like it or realise it or not."
But if UMVC3 has to release in November, why not launch it as downloadable content - or, as with Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition, as downloadable content and a standalone disc?
According to Killian, that's down to the East versus West cultural divide.
"Japan is still very much not a DLC market. DLC sales in general in Japan are vastly lower than they are here, even with popular games. DLC is not as much of a going concern. And online gaming in general is a lower adoption rate. The percentage of people playing any given title online in Japan is much lower.
"Capcom has had different schools of thought internally. You've seen on the Street Fighter front has been a little more on the DLC side. But even on the Arcade Edition there was a balance there where they did do a disc release but they also made it available as DLC.
"Capcom obviously has strong roots in the disc based tradition. That's the way most games are sold in Japan, so this is the way to approach it naturally. Clearly they're active in a global market, but are putting their toes in the water of shifting tastes for consumers in other places. Having just an all DLC release would be considered a strange move in Japan. Having an all DLC release would be odd."
Thankfully, it looks like Capcom is listening to fans when it comes to the way its games are released.
"The Marvel team had slightly different ideas than the Street Fighter team, so they're always going in different directions. But it's a piece of feedback from the Western side at least we've been very clear about, saying there's a lot of talk saying we would like to have this as a DLC option rather than a disc based release.
"Of course there are people here who still like the disc based release, collectors and people who just appreciate the disc who are worried if they're not able to go online then the game won't work.
"There's some from both camps. It's a developing process for Capcom."
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