Recently, players have been abuzz about a potential Marvel vs Capcom 4. Between online petitions and talks of it being a potential savior for the FGC, I've sorta had enough of hearing about it. I love Marvel, I really do, and I love Marvel VS games. However, there's a few things that get under my skin every time I hear someone ask for MVC4. Some of it probably directly relates to my time with Skullgirls, but other issues I have precede even that.
Let's first look at the Skullgirls angle. Febuary 15th, 2011, and April 10th, 2012. Those are the release dates for Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Skullgirls respectively. With how close they came out, the communities are almost like siblings, with MVC3 being the older brother. Maybe it's because of this that I always seem to be drawn to watching what their community is doing.
My first gripe is one I'm reminded of every time I hear someone cry out for "#MVC4". My first thought is always "Why don't you play Skullgirls, then?" Skullgirls was made to recreate the feeling of a Marvel game and improve on it, and it was made by a team that understands fighting games and their players at a deeper level than anything else on the market today. Mike Z is personally consulted by other developers, like the team behind Killer Instinct, for his experience and expertise on fighting game design.
Keeping this in mind, current Marvel players who ask for something new while not moving on from the old are strange to me. One would think that with the entire Marvel community DYING for something new and more of what they love, while also wanting something more balanced, more would have given SG a serious look. However, time after time, many Marvel players instead think of SG as a dead game, don't take it seriously and/or just avoid it. There are, of course, Marvel players that do play it, or have transitioned to it. I'm friends with several such people. Even still, the sheer size of the outcry for MVC4 dwarfs any converts from UMVC3 to SG.
Skullgirls literally is a spiritual succesor to a Marvel game that released directly after MVC3. To me, it's MVC4. Now, not that Skullgirls is the best game or is it suited for everyone, that's not what I mean to say. However, this situation brings my attention to a recurring theme of the way people play games. They pick a game, and they ride it till the wheels fall off, no matter what happens. If a game in their franchise comes out that's unappealing, they'll just play it anyway. If there are serious problems that make the experience terrible or frustrating, people would sooner complain, but play anyways rather than finding something else, anything else, to play.
An easy parallel is the Street Fighter community in its current state. Everyone is playing SFV, but many people are genuinely fed up with it. They're still playing, though. Instead of looking at the new MK, or KOF, or GG, or anything else that's coming out or has come out in the past year or so, they'll keep playing a game that is, in their own opinion, broken. Personally, I would play Ultra over SFV. I understand how that once the new title comes out, the older one is seen as obsolete, but I don't understand why that has to be the case. To me, the mentality of many in the FGC is similar to the mentality of console fanboys. The people who buy a next gen system before it has any games worth playing, just so that they can play the next gen. It doesn't make sense for that to be the precedent. People should play the better game, and the one they enjoy more, regardless of which one came out last.
This is a fairly unpopular opinion of mine, I understand that. There's a natural mentality of "new always equals improved," and I'm the outlier. Despite that, I still think that older games should be taken more seriously. Players should look at Guilty Gear +R as seriously as they look at GGXrd-R. They're both different games, so they both should get equal consideration on a base level from fans. Instead, even though everything about these two games is different, from the design philosophy to characters to the character models, GGXrd-R is considered the default choice now, and that thought process will never make sense to me.
Anyway, moving back to Marvel. Marvel Games has officially acknowledged that they are aware of the demand for a new game. Personally, as a fan of Marvel, I'm not sure if I want to see a new Marvel title. We've seen too many instances already of completely new teams of people making fighting games, and too many instances of them not understanding our games on some basic levels. Common and simple mistakes leading to infinite combos, unintentional unblockables, nonsensical balance choices, the list goes on and on. Mike Z actually made an almost two hour long list of these types of basic problems with games today that the genre has already found solutions for. While I would enjoy a well made Marvel game, I don't want another disappointment. I'm sure people will enjoy it, though I'm not sure if many of the players asking for it today would even get something they want.
Now, of course, enough drive can make any game competitive, even games not intended to be played at a high level. As many people are in the Marvel scene, another Marvel title would definitely be made competitive (barring any monumentally disastrous decisions by developers). I guess that fact in and of itself makes any reservations I have moot. If any sentiment I have does stick with people, however, I'd like it to be that "Shiny & New" isn't always better by default, and accepting what you're given, as if you have no alternatives, isn't the only option.
At the end of the day, though, just make sure you play what you love & love what you play.