Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite had one of the bigger showings of E3 2017, delivering exciting 2-on-2 crossover battles that grabbed the attention of both casual comic fans and competitive fighting game players. If its developers have their way, both groups will be hooked for a long time to come.
I had the chance to speak to Capcom's Mike Evans and Peter Rosas about the upcoming tag-team brawler, which lets players duke it out as iconic characters such as Captain America, Thor and Mega Man X. The big takeaway? Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite wants to be a fighting game for everyone, whether you're a crazy combo scientist or just want to have fun mashing some buttons.
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite finally gives the long-running fighting franchise a proper story mode, which is one of several features built to widen the game's appeal.
"The series has a long 20-year legacy, but we've never been able to to tell the story about why they're fighting," Evans laughs. "From the very beginning, we always knew we wanted to create a great story like this to tell how these amazing characters have come together."
The setup is appropriately silly: Robotic bad guys Ultron (of Marvel fame) and Sigma (From Capcom's Mega Man X games) have fused together to wipe out all organic life, forcing folks from all over the Marvel and Capcom universes to join up and fight back. Based on the game's latest trailer, things get so desperate that our heroes call on the help of an unlikely ally: galactic mega-villain Thanos.
Capcom worked closely with Marvel on the game's narrative, which was penned by veteran games writer Paul Gardner with oversight from Marvel Games' creative director Bill Rosemann.
"We were going through script revisions, roundtable readings, we did storyboards... [Marvel's] been in the process from the beginning and it's been a pretty fantastic collaboration," said Evans.
A Fighter For Everyone
As a Marvel vs. Capcom veteran, I quickly got comfortable performing flashy air combos and powerful super moves in Infinite. But what impressed me more was the game's potential to appeal to folks who don't have years of experience playing Capcom's infamously chaotic fighting series.
You can now perform full combos by simply tapping a single button repeatedly, and can pull off explosive special moves without worrying about intricate joystick motions. According to Rosas, however, there are still plenty of mechanics for pro players to sink their teeth into, from the ability-altering Infinity Stones to the new switch system that lets you bring your partner into the battle at any moment.
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"It's been really great to see players who are typically intimidated by fighting games able to pick this up and do cool stuff," said Rosas, who was a prominent tournament competitor before joining Capcom. Speaking of competitors, fighting game pros such as Justin Wong and Michael "Yipes" Mendoza attended E3 to get their hands on the game, and Rosas says they like what they see.
"The more experienced players are coming up to me and saying, 'I'm seeing it. The Infinity Stones, the character combinations, the switch system. It's all crazy — I love it!'" Rosas said.
Capcom vs. Graphics
Fans are certainly having fun with Infinite's gameplay, but to say folks are split on the game's graphics would be an understatement. The internet is already flooded with tweets and memes criticizing the game's new look, which trades in the comic-book art style of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 for a more traditional 3D aesthetic.
While Infinite looks incredibly fluid in motion, the game's character models just don't look very sharp — especially when pitted against amazingly polished brawlers like Injustice 2 and Tekken 7. Still, Evans seems confident in Marvel vs. Capcom's new aesthetic.
"I know some people are partial to the comic book look, but we've gone in a more cinematic direction this time," said Evans. "We feel like what's important is that [the style] separates it as its own unique thing within the versus series history."
Evans also stressed the importance of keeping the game running smoothly amidst all the chaos, which, to the competitive scene, is far more important than making sure each character is brimming with detail.
"What you'll notice is that even though we're rendering four characters simultaneously with all these crazy effects, we haven't toned down any of that bombastic Capcom feel," Evans said. "It's still crazy over the top."
While I'd like to see Capcom polish up some of Infinite's rough edges, I'm absolutely sold on the way it plays — and seeing the company's commitment to both hardcore and casual audiences certainly helps.
Based on my hands-on time, Capcom has managed to retain the frenetic action and endless combo possibilities that the versus series has become known for while making the game enjoyable enough for folks who just want to press buttons and see cool stuff happen. It's a delicate balancing act, and one that I'm hopeful Capcom can nail when the game hits PS4, Xbox One and PC on Sept. 19.
Image Credits: Capcom
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