The Marvel vs Capcom series is a fighting game series that needs no introduction. Capcom’s series of hyper fighters is known for its use of characters from both the universe of Marvel Comics and Capcom’s gallery of classic video game characters. What these games hold are some of the cheapest, unfair, and unforgiving tactics, metas, mixups, and more ever seen in fighting game history. Along with this factor is the curse of the Marvel vs Capcom series. This curse is lack of developer and competitive support.
With this shortcoming how come so many competitive players keep coming back to play? To find the answer lets take a trip into the past and present of the world of Marvel vs Capcom.
Going back in time finds us at the grassroots of not only the competitive scene of the Marvel vs Capcom series, (X-Men COTA, MvC1, X-Men v SF, and MSH vs SF being included in this) but the grassroots of the fighting game community as well! Things all started here in the arcades where the fighting game competition was born. Tournament culture began and it was all funded solely by those players on the ground.
Things were all dependent on the love of the game and too many competitors, it was a much better time. This was the case for the majority of the early 2000’s. That’s not to say there weren’t official brands sponsoring said events from time to time, but for the most part, things were strictly in the hands of the players. This scene is where some very well known and legendary names were born, Arturo Sanchez, IFC Yipes, Justin Wong, Chris Matrix, Sanford Kelly, Josh Wigfall, MegaManSteve and Mike D to name a few.
Marvel vs Capcom was in the middle of all of the action and no matter what installment was featured it was always held as one of the main attractions spawning popular quotes such as “When’s Mahvel?”. People have said it then and they still say it now, “Marvel always brings the hype.” And this was something many have believed religiously in the fighting game community. Once Marvel was on the screen everyone’s attention diverted. Even if you that didn’t play it your head would turn!. There was definitely a reason Marvel was saved for the main-stage of EVO Sunday.
The popularity followed the series throughout time and various installments, namely the most popular entries Marvel vs Capcom 2 and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. Even with this popularity and the update, the Capcom developer plug was pulled from UMvC3 in 2014 following its Capcom Cup showing of that year. Game updates stopped and even with a very vocal outcry from the player base to fix various game glitches that introduced infinite combos and crazy broken strategies that are still seen to this day *cough XF3 Vergil&Phoenix cough* nothing was done. This is reportedly due to Capcom and Marvel’s partnership contract coming to a close. This wasn’t the beginning of the end for the Marvel vs Capcom scene no. Things kept moving on and the players kept playing. This was moreso the beginning of a new arc in the story of this fighting game.
2016 came around and the stars seemed to be aligning for everyone favorite crossover fighting game. With Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 being re-released both physically and digitally for PS4, Xbox One, and PC and a new game being revealed during this year’s E3. That game was Marvel vs Capcom Infinite and it would bring Marvel right back to its grassroots beginnings. Even with Marvel 3’s re-release somewhat reviving competitive interest in the game things wouldn’t go right back to how they were. This year was looked at as being Marvel 3‘s goodbye year at EVO. Many just believed that much like many games had at the event, Marvel 3 would have one more hurrah on the main-stage during EVO Sunday. That definitely wasn’t the case for this year.
EVO 2017 had different ideas in mind for Marvel vs Capcom even with the seemingly large developer pushing of the next installment. Mr.Wizard, head of EVO which is known as the biggest yearly fighting game tournament wanted to head a different route for picking the 9th entry to take the main-stage Sunday slot in the year that was supposed to be Marvel 3’s big goodbye in the form of a “Player’s choice” donation based voting system. The shock of seeing the people’s game here along with these others was a big shocker to everyone including people like FGC icon IFC Yipes, even leading him to rant about this controversy during a stream.
But like the Marvel players always did everyone buckled up and decided to show EVO what they were made of and raised $71,690. Tons of content creators like Lythero hosted donation streams and Yipes and Fchamp even had a first to 100 donation stream to raise money. Of course, the event raised money towards a good cause but it brought unnecessary hate between different communities and was the first backstab to the Marvel players of more to come from EVO.
Marvel vs Capcom Infinite released to much buzz, both good and bad. Many praised the game’s amazing new combat system and mechanics but those who lifted the game up also brought it down for lackluster presentation, roster choices, music, and visuals.
The game also brought more divide between the Marvel community and the rest of the FGC than ever. A divide brought on by the release of similar but “better” games and tons of memes focusing on every negative thing about the game and putting the game in a worse light than bad PR and presentation could ever place it in.
However, things were somewhat looking up for Marvel. While things were looking bad (like that art style) an event was to be held that would put Marvel back in the eyes of the competitors, that event was The Battle for the Stones!
This competition was a tournament series similar to the Capcom Pro Tour but with added rules. This circuit introduced the idea of winning stones by winning a major tournament hosted by TBFTS. When one won a stone they could, in turn, use the power of this stone at the final tournament event where every stone owner would be able to compete to gain some kind of advantage against an opponent. Examples of this are the Soul Stone where the user could erase 1 loss in a 3/5 set, Power Stone allowing the user a free combo at the beginning of a match, Mind Stone allowing the user to select their opponent’s characters, etc. This rule was controversial as the FGC takes these events very seriously and this seemed to make it ironically enough into a game.
That, of course, wasn’t the only controversy surrounding the big event. During grand finals, there were many complaints of scheduling and organization issues, stone usage rules being confusing, venue badge issues, etc. All in all many believed the event to be a huge crapshoot but hope wasn’t lost as Capcom released a greatly well-received patch for Infinite! Well deserved and requested nerfs were added and we started getting the DLC we were promised and while some of the characters weren’t highly requested the community was mostly happy anyway. This was a glimmer of hope that was quickly darkened by Marvel and Capcom themselves shortly after.
On April 27th of 2018 Marvel vs Capcom Infinite received its final update and to the dejection of the player base, it was simply a new depot. Ever since then and even before that day Capcom and Marvel have been completely silent on the subject of anything surrounding the game no matter how loud the fans have been questioning them.
The last hard-hitting blow followed behind this.
On February 6th during the EVO lineup reveal Mr.Wizard confirmed that Marvel vs Capcom Infinite would not receive a mainstage or Sunday spot at EVO 2018, a first for the Marvel series. The tag games Dragon Ball FighterZ and Blazblue Cross Tag Battle would be the only main lineup games to feature assist and tag team based combat this year, two games that only recently released, much to the dismay of the Marvel players.
Even with this setback as always the Marvel community pushed through, they took a Saturday stage spot and took blow after blow and hosted a great event with an amazing streamed top 4 not to mention the seating was packed!
MVCI finals. No more chairs. Standing room only. pic.twitter.com/3auvjChP4m
— Maximilian Dood (@maximilian_) August 4, 2018
Now in the present day, the Marvel vs Capcom community is still going strong despite setbacks. The Marvel Lives team keeps community updates going as well as spreading the word of everything Marvel vs. Airdash Club continues to support everything Marvel and just recently co-hosted a Marvel only tournament alongside KBrad called Reflex which was a great success! Content creators like Maximilian, Jako Man, and I_C_U_Hater continue to regularly push out content with the latter 2 hosting online tournaments for the games.
As always Angelic continues to host his own tournament and shows nothing but support for the series, even being the head honcho for the Marvel Infinite EVO tournament. The long-awaited Marvel 3 revival now has more steam than ever with more locals picking back up the game and players always looking for matches in the new Marvel vs Capcom 3 discord server. The retro fighter loving Arturo is even hosting Marvel vs Capcom 2 events over at Ifixmachine which are bringing back much of the old competition including players like Sanford Kelly and “Cha Cha” Desmond “Xecutioner” Pinkney. That’s not even mentioning the big Marvel 2 exhibitions that happened at EVO commentated by the great Goldenboy Neo and ChrisMatrix featuring lots of old legends like Yipes, VDO, Justin Wong, and more!
Long story short Marvel vs Capcom isn’t dead, it never died, and it will probably never die because people still love and play these games. If Marvel 2 is still going strong then its successors have no excuse but to have everyone still ask,