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Q&A: Producer Talks Updating  Marvel vs. Capcom  For Modern Audiences

Q&A: Producer Talks Updating Marvel vs. Capcom For Modern Audiences Exclusive

August 25, 2010 | By Brandon Sheffield




After nearly 10 years since the debut of Marvel vs. Capcom 2, the next entry in the popular cross-company fighting franchise will soon find its way to audiences worldwide, following the recent resurgence of fighting games.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3, which'll debut for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 early next year, combines modern and classic characters from both titular companies, and takes a more user-friendly approach to its fighting system to help initiate newcomers to the genre.

New characters to the franchise include Capcom's Chris Redfield, and Viewtiful Joe, as well as Marvel's Deadpool and Super-Skrull. The game will once again feature an exaggerated, comic book style, and allows players to accomplish flashy maneuvers with relative ease.

Gamsutra spoke with Ryota Niitsuma, producer of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 at Capcom Japan, to discuss the game's darker visual style, slower pace, and its efforts to invite new players to the fighting game genre.

The previous two Marvel vs. Capcom games were extremely bright and vibrant, but Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a lot darker. What is the reason for this?

RN: Certainly, part of it is a stylistic choice. When you go with a more realistic graphical style, a side effect of that is that colors have a tendency to become more muted.

The art style in this game emphasizes shading a great deal, something that naturally requires dark colors, so I suppose there are a larger quantity of darker stages or areas than before. We made the decision in order to emphasize the art style we were going for.

Why go for that additional realism? Is it because of evolution of comic book tastes, or is it something else?

RN: Well, since the game is based off American comics, we had to think about what players would expect out of a comic-book game. We came to the conclusion that gamers want to see the art style they're used to seeing animated on the screen, and that's the design style we went for.

Since current comic art is closer to reality than it used to be, the game feels less like a comic book and feels like something that is slightly more realistic. It's closer to Street Fighter IV than it is to Marvel vs. Capcom 2.

RN: Making the game in 3D contributes to that as well; when you make a game like this using 3D graphics, that in and of itself helps make it look a little more realistic. It's not a case of us aiming for reality, though, but a byproduct of us aiming for the sort of shading techniques you see in comics today.

How much did you have to work with Marvel with the look of each character? Did Marvel have any influence over how the Capcom characters looked as well?

RN: First off, Marvel didn't give us any direction or suggestions for how Capcom characters should be depicted in the game. As for the Marvel characters, the idea is to make these fighters as fun as possible to play in the game, so along those lines, it's not like we're dealing with tons of red tape over character design. There are certain aspects to the Marvel in-house style that they insist on sticking to with their characters, though, so Capcom does get guidance along those lines from them.

This version doesn't seem to quite match the maniac speed of MvC2. Was that a conscious choice? If so, what was the thinking behind that decision?

RN: The pace hasn't changed that much, but it is indeed just a bit slower-paced than MvC2. It's a totally different game, of course, but in terms of pace it is a bit more leisurely; I think we've struck a good balance. The pace of MvC2 is something that long term fans are used to by now, of course, but for newbies to the fighting-game genre, we saw it as just a bit too quick.

On the other hand, if we slowed MvC3 down too much, it would have the effect of annoying MvC2 veterans. So we aimed for a play speed that would satisfy both those veterans and people just entering the series now. I should also note that the balance will probably be further tuned and adjusted as development continues on the game, so this isn't necessarily the final version.

Speaking of attracting new players -- this series has traditionally been the most button-mash friendly among Capcom's fighting series. You can just spam on the buttons and a lot of "stuff" happens, regardless of whether the player knows what it does. How do you balance that against the demand for technical skill, which is also very high in a MvC game, since people can juggle you for a very, very long time, and skill eventually wins out?

RN: Definitely, like you say, one of the trademarks of Capcom's vs. games is being able to launch a variety of moves with relatively simple controls, and that's something we want to retain for this game. Generally speaking, there are no "turn the stick this way, then this way, then that way" Street Fighter-style precise commands to deal with.

The idea here is to keep the control scheme easy to learn for beginners, but deep and challenging to master as you get better at the game. We want the game to be challenging and require practice to get better at, but we want to keep the entry threshold low for beginners.

How do you determine what portions of the game are essential for beginners to understand, versus the elements of the game that are understood by the more hardcore players?

RN: That's a pretty tough question to answer, but one goal we have -- since this is a 3-on-3 game -- is to have it so even a total beginner can defeat at least one of the characters his opponent is using, no matter how outclassed he might be. If a player loses two matches in a row, we want it so that he feels compelled to try a new strategy the next time so he doesn't wind up going 0-3.

We don't want people losing ten matches in a row and getting discouraged; instead, we'd like beginning players to feel motivated, like their efforts are gradually getting rewarded. "I almost had it there -- let's try this one more time!", that sort of thing. That's what encourages players to get better and eventually hold his own against any opposition.

This series perhaps has the most guns I've seen in a fighting game. How do you implement guns in a fighting game where you have magic powers and things like that? Guns often shoot instantly across the screen; was implementing guns difficult in a fighter?

RN: Bullets are flying projectiles like any of the other projectile weapons in the game, and balancing out all the projectile weapons is actually not all that difficult. Some characters may have guns that put the opponent off guard, but while they shoot instantly, there might be a long time lag before the character fires -- that sort of thing. So we can fine-tune the balance in many different ways like that, which makes things really not that tough.


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