If you’ve been paying attention to the news trickling out about Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite since its announcement at the 2016 PlayStation Experience, you’ve probably noticed a complete and utter absence of mutants of any kind from the trailers and announced characters. There’s a reason for that, but we’re not so sure it’s a good one.
Speaking to GameSpot, producers Pete Rosas and Michael Evans explained the logic behind the omission.
“We talked with Marvel very closely about their future roadmap, about what’s gonna be happening. Your modern Marvel fan, maybe they don’t even remember some of the X-Men characters, but they know some of the Guardians characters or Black Panther,” they said.
Further, the pair argues that it wasn’t the characters players liked, but their movesets.
“If you actually think about it, these characters are just functions. They’re just doing things. Magneto, case and [sic] point, is a favorite because he has eight-way dash and he’s really fast, right? So our more technical players, all they want to do is triangle jump and that kind of stuff. Well, guess what, [Magneto, Nova, and Captain Marvel] can do the same thing. Go ahead and try them out.”
Are these guys serious?
The Marvel vs. Capcom series of games is one of the best loved fighting series out there. It takes two totally different character universes and jams them all into one game. Across the first three Marvel vs. Capcom games, that somehow, against all odds, worked. Now we have Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite on the way, and it’s the first game in the series to hit since the Marvel Cinematic Universe became a thing. All eyes are on it in both the gaming and comic book communities.
Both sets of reasoning miss the mark wildly and are likely masking the truth of the matter, which is simple licensing and business.
We’ve had no less than four X-Men films since 2010 – five if you count Deadpool. Modern fans know who the X-Men are. It’s kind of ridiculous to suggest that they don’t, and seems disrespectful of the fans.
And to say that gamers are picking these characters based on their movesets? If that was the case, we could just have blank stick figures. Injustice 2 wouldn’t have caught on the way it has. Rosas has a history in the professional fighting game community as a Marvel vs. Capcom player, as GameSpot notes, and I suspect this is coming from his perspective as a pro who, indeed, will pick a character based on moveset.
The rest of us? We’re picking our favorite characters. Our favorite characters are what pull us in and persuade us to devote countless hours to these games. Memorable characters are why games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter are still going strong after decades.
The truth is that Marvel has no control over the X-Men or other mutant characters in the places it matters most – the theater and the bank. Marvel has been downplaying the role of the X-Men. Sony decided to play ball with Spider-Man, and Spider-Man is arguably too big to downplay, as the only Marvel character that could stand up against Batman in terms of brand recognition.
This game isn’t part of the MCU, and the characters aren’t the ones from the MCU, even if they’re still Cap, Spidey, and Iron Man. But they’re Marvel’s characters, and it sounds like Marvel is calling the shots on who we’re seeing in the game.
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite looks like it could be a blast if the team gets it right – and the whole interview is worth a read – but these weird, tone-deaf answers aren’t doing them any favors at the front-end.
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is set to hit PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on September 19, 2017.