Advancing Guard: In Defense of Capcom
Saying that Capcom is just rehashing content by comparing Street Fighter 4 and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a bit silly. Sure, both games feature Street Fighter characters, but MvC3 really only has two characters representing the SF series, and yes, while one is Ryu, I hardly think that Capcom would not use their flagship fighting character in a crossover. The rest of Capcom’s representatives range their entire library, from Platformers to their other Fighting franchises.
As far as Street Fighter x Tekken goes, this game is only the first part of a two-game partnership between Namco and Capcom. The other part, Tekken x Street Fighter, will place characters from both games into an engine more similar to Tekken. I personally think it’s interesting to see how characters from each are adapted into the opposite franchise’s engine.
It’s not as if the fighting systems are just being pulled directly from the most recent iteration of each franchise, either. Street Fighter x Tekken will feature tag gameplay, but not in the way that the Marvel vs Capcom series handles it – each character has their own life bar, but if one fighter falls you lose the round. It adds a small, yet very important twist to the matches that add strategy. This is only one of many differences.
You say you want a new, fresh fighting game? How much can you really alter the formula for a 2D fighter? Innovation in any of Capcom’s series has been tried, time and time again, in the 90s and 2000s. For example, the Street Fighter EX series attempted to shift the series to a 3D environment, similar to Tekken. While the game wasn’t particularly bad, its sales and critical acclaim did not live up to Street Fighter standards – fans wanted the classic, refined gameplay of the 2D Street Fighters, as well as a return of character favorites. As the old saying goes, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
The pricing point of these games is often brought up. Many people find it ridiculous to have to re-buy a game they already purchased earlier in the year. While I can understand the sentiment, there are really only 2 other options for companies that wish to release content after a game’s release. They can either have downloadable content, or keep the game in development for much longer, driving up the cost of making the game. Most developers have deadlines, and are not able to fit everything they may have originally set out to do.
So let’s assume, for the sake of argument that we’re talking about Marvel vs Capcom 3. Capcom has released 2 downloadable characters for the game already at 5 dollars each. If they were to continue with this pattern, and release each of the 12 planned at this price, it would be 60 dollars for the characters alone. MvC3 will likely be released at a budget price of $40, which includes all 12 characters, new stages (with, thank god, new background music), an online spectator mode, and a replay channel, as well as your standard balance changes to the game. One might scoff at that last part, but when you have 60 characters that can be used in any combination of three, it’s a lot to work around.
In closing, I would like to point out that this is nothing new from Capcom. As anyone who was a gamer in the ‘90s can attest, there were four versions of Street Fighter 2. I’m just glad that Capcom still has the same level of dedication to their craft and to gamers in general. The fact that, unlike some developers, they keep coming back and seeing what needs tweaking. Adding new characters instills a breath of fresh air into the games that keeps them played competitively and casually for years to come.