We’re roughly a month away from Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite. The road to release has been rough, to say the least. In fact, outside of the general positivity surrounding the Monster Hunter series, things have been pretty rough in general for Capcom since Street Fighter V launched. Despite having successful EVOs and other fun oddities like Resident Evil ports and Resident Evil VII itself doing well with fans and critics, the fighting game, the ostensible core of Capcom if you look back at the last generation, has been more of a source of controversy than anything else. From the issues Street Fighter V faced at launch to the bizarre PR missteps and visual problems with Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite, Capcom has been struggling a bit. But recent happenings suggest Capcom is getting ready for round two, and is coming out swinging.
First impressions mean a lot. And Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite did not have the best showing at E3 2017. The game was split into two demos, one presenting the story mode and the other a more traditional versus mode. The latter performed okay, with reports mostly coming from the FGC side of things. More time is needed with the game to perform final judgment on its new systems, but they didn’t run away screaming (although they did run towards Dragon Ball FighterZ). But the story mode demo didn’t play nearly as well, with complaints ranging from how oddly the story parts were presented to the really ugly character models on the Capcom side.
But with the latest Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite story trailer, Capcom seems to be addressing these complaints as much as it can in such a short window of time, between June and September. Obviously, all of Capcom’s cards weren’t on the table at E3. How much of the story content presented now conflicts with what was on deck at E3 could mean anything. But one big thing people noticed was how much better the characters looked, which will go a long way to fight off the heat, especially since the matter seems to be addressed before launch.
In the Street Fighter V arena, Capcom is well into its “Season Two” part of the game and is almost finished with its second wave of new DLC characters. Street Fighter V has had a lot of issues since it came out. The content on deck was odd, with the game having especially sparse single-player content. Whether or not that stuff is really needed is debatable, but enough people cared for it to cast a dark shadow over the game. Along with some UI issues and several complaints about the character looks and animations, the complaints racked up enough that Street Fighter V, despite its core playerbase support, didn’t do well with the casual fans.
But Season Two has been drawing people back into the game, and part of that is how great the characters look. Not only has Capcom dropped multiple new, original characters, returning classics like Akuma have been visually reworked and are fueled by some seriously complex and fluid animation. As an example, Menat, the latest addition to the Street Fighter V roster, has been showing up all over my Twitter timeline almost solely because of her animations. From her normal moves and her walk cycle to the intricate nature of her special attacks, people are over the moon with how this new character looks in action.
Finally, Capcom is going to the well and bringing back Puzzle Fighter, making it free to play on mobile. Using it as a vehicle to not only throw a bone to Puzzle Fighter fans and promote Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite with a more diverse roster is a bigger deal than it seems. Capcom is showing that, despite the weirdness that is AAA games in 2017/2018, it still knows who cares about these characters, this history, and all the weird little nooks and crannies within. Seeing this Puzzle Fighter made me remember when I was roaming the halls of E3, seeing the awesome merchandise cases on display at Capcom’s booth.
Capcom struggles with adapting to change like many longstanding Japanese developers have at times, but the people there still care about what Capcom means. We’re living in a successful gaming era with an opportunity for new things, and a developer that has been around forever needs to really go for good will to hang in there. It’s been a rough year or two for Capcom, but the developer isn’t giving up, and that’s super respectable. A lot hangs on Street Fighter and Marvel vs Capcom staying in good graces, and despite a few missteps, things seem to be looking up.