Alright, where to begin? Truth be told, there was an entirely different topic I wanted to discuss in this month's Dynamek Perspective, but something's come up...
I no longer have the energy to be coy. In a very, very short time, all the white noise that has risen up over a possible (read: maybe) announcement regarding Marvel Vs Capcom 4 has run me ragged. Now, if you've been following me either here or elsewhere online over the last couple of years, then you already know I'm not a huge fan of "Mahvel". In the beginning, my dislike for the game -- and, if I can be honest to a certain extent, its community -- was tangibly visceral. Between then & now, however, my opinions softened up a little bit. Long story short, I can respect the game's importance & position within the infrastructure of the FGC... but I don't really have to give too much of a damn about it. I understand that my level of indifference towards the game will be viewed as heresy by some of you, but understand that it's mainly towards the company... not the game itself.
To give you some clarity regarding my last statement, you need to know about how I approached fighting games growing up. My adoration for fighting games, like so many others in our community, stems from my experience with Street Fighter 2. I was admittedly terrible at the game back then, but it opened my eyes. Until that moment, that type of action in a game never really registered unless I was in the middle of a boss battle. Just you, your opponent & the difference in your respective levels of skill. After that, I was hooked. I can say with rock solid confidence that, at the very least, 80% of all the video games I've either rented, borrowed or purchased were fighting games. Even now, because of my position/title as "the Voice of KPB", I focus the majority of my electronic consumerism on fighting games.
Which brings us to 2016. There's no way that anyone, FGC or not, can look back on this year & not recognize the strides that were made for our community's shared passion. In this year alone, every major series has either gotten a new game (SF5, KOF XIV, Tekken 7), received an episodic continuation (GGXrd-R & BBCF) or was the subject of a massive overhaul/expansion (MKXL & SG2E). On paper, none of that sounds really eventful, but if you were in the room when any of those games were announced... man, you haven't experienced the genuine elation that comes from being "there in that moment". There's nothing like it, plain & simple. Thankfully, most of those moments have a proverbial 'trail of breadcrumbs' to lead us on the right path. It is in this aspect that MVC4 is unique... and I don't mean that in a good way.
For years now, there have been murmurs & whispers that the game was inevitably on its way. Some massive surprise announcement was going to be made at the tail end of one event or another. There's something to be said for enveloping oneself in that kind of intrigue. It's indicative of such unshakable faith that, in a perfect world, it deserves to be rewarded. Unfortunately, this isn't a perfect world. There's a handful of reasons why MVC4, frankly, cannot happen. The most prominent of these is the expiration of the Marvel license that Capcom had. Legalese notwithstanding, it boils down to the fact that Capcom can't use the likenesses of any Marvel characters. As you can imagine, that makes producing a game called Marvel Vs Capcom a little difficult. It's the reason why UMVC3 went completely offline a few years back.
Fast forward to this recent weekend... all it took to kick the hornet's nest on this particular topic again were a few "promotional photos". If I can wax poetic, view them as snowflakes that fell upon the mountaintop. Since the thirst is so unmistakably real, the snowflakes formed into a snowball. With some clicks & a few shares on social media, our delightful snowball started rolling down from the mountaintop. A couple of websites make mention of the aforementioned photos & some rumors that accompany them... voila, the snowball becomes an avalanche. Mark Twain once said that "a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes". It's been hard NOT to replay that quote over & over in my mind these last few days.
Here's the thing, though... I'm not going to be devastated, in either direction, whether or not the game is actually announced. The fate of two worlds will apparently be decided this weekend. Do I care? Not really. I love the idea of the FGC getting another game to sink its collective teeth into, but I'm old enough of a gamer to have some level of recognition towards patterns within this industry. MVC3, whether or not most people are aware of this fact, borrowed heavily from the fighting engine of Tatsunoko Vs Capcom. The reason why that little tidbit escapes a few people is because TVC was (inexplicably) a Wii exclusive. I bring this up is because, and I cannot stress this enough, it begs the question as to what game MVC4 might choose to emulate for its engine?
Which leads me right back to the chosen title of this month's Perspective: Better the devil you know than the devil you don't. For the people who are practically foaming at the mouth at just the idea of an announcement, what makes you think that the game you get will be anything like its predecessor? X-Men: Children of the Atom, Marvel Super Heroes, X-men Vs Street Fighter, Marvel Super Heroes Vs Street Fighter & the original Marvel Vs Capcom all operated on the traditional six button engine made famous by SF2. Marvel Vs Capcom 2, however, opted to simplify things by switching over to a four button engine, but still had most everyone's attack strings follow the six button method in application. Marvel Vs Capcom 3 simplified things even further by switching to a three button engine. Unless everyone is prepared for MVC4 to play like Smash Bros., the need for yet another substantial overhaul to the fighting engine would probably be necessary. In other words, it simply cannot be the same game everyone remembers so fondly.
And if we're to be completely honest with ourselves, Capcom hasn't exactly been batting a thousand lately, so there's always the chance that something can either go horribly wrong in the very beginning or steadily drive us mad over the course the game's shelf life. How long will it be before Capcom finds (or creates) some way to miss an easy free throw? And don't bother wasting your breath to call me a "Capcom hater" or anything like that because you would be mistaken. It's not that I hate them, because I don't... I just expect better from them. The reason I hold Capcom to such a high standard is because they're practically the reason the FGC exists. If it hadn't been for SF2 relieving a lot of us of enough loose change to kill a werewolf or EVO moment 37 & the like, we wouldn't be here to have this conversation right now. I hold them accountable not because of their high standards, but because -- in the beginning, anyways -- they WERE the standard. Period.
Also, and I guess this counts as addressing the other elephant that's sitting on the back of the first elephant who has been in the room this whole time, there's one name that has been curiously absent from all this MVC4 talk: Disney. Let's not forget that they own Marvel, so if the "House That Mickey Built" don't sign off on this (at some level), there's a fairly strong chance it ain't happening. Try to take all of this into consideration because I'm fairly sure nobody wants their supposed dream game to fall short of their expectations, regardless of whether or not those expectations are realistic... or even in the same neighborhood as realistic. After the hell that has been pretty much all of 2016, everyone deserves a little something to look forward to and, should the Fates allow, the Marvel community is long overdue for their silver lining. Just don't let possibility blind you to reality, that's all I ask.
Regardless of where we find ourselves after this weekend, I intend to forego December's Character Battle in order to address the situation in a timely manner. Rest assured, my fellow Scribes will all most likely follow suit come January (I'm giving them the month off), so that's at least one more thing to look forward to in 2017.
Until next time... keep fighting the good fight, my friends.