Runback/Retort with… 2Tall: Why We Need Community Independence

Hey everyone! You may be asking yourselves “Why is 2Tall still writing Runback/Retorts? When’s Muzik?” Well, rest assured, the music writeups will be back, but I felt that this is something I had to address, so stick with me. Over the past few weeks, Marvel fanatics around the globe celebrated the fact that our game, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, won the EVO Donation drive and will have one last year at Evo before it’s sequel -- Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite -- comes out. On Facebook & Twitter, I saw people expressing tremendous amounts of joy. I can’t even lie, I’m very happy myself. I’m glad Pokkén Tournament and every other title in the running lost because I would have been miffed if something that wasn’t Marvel was on stage on the final day of Evo on the main stage. However, this isn’t because I dislike the other games. In fact, a lot of my KPB Family is really into Skullgirls (I used to dabble myself, I admit it). The problem I would have had with another game being on the mainstage instead of Marvel is because of all of the history the game/series has with Evo. That would have been a grand disrespect to the Marvel vs Capcom series... the series that arguably made Evo what it is today.

I started entering tournaments in 2012, so I would by no means say I’m an OG or anything like that. However, I did follow a little bit of the scene before I started entering tournaments and as KPB’s resident Marvel ambassador, I have to know the rich history of not only the game that I love, but the franchise that I love. As long as it’s Marvel vs Capcom, I’m in there! Long story short, before the FGC’s world championship was called Evolution Championship Series, it was called B3, or Battle Of The Bay, in 2002. The East Coast/West Coast rivalry always came to a head at this tournament. Players came from their respective regions to battle it out in Marvel vs Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes, creating some of the most hype matches around. MVC2 was at every B tournament and every Evo tournament thus far. In fact, even when MVC3 was announced, they still had it at Evo for one last hoorah (although on 360) to pay respects to the legacy that the game had in this tournament series.

Enter Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3’s final year. Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite was announced and we are all super excited for it. UMVC3 is also seeing a release on PS4, Xbox One and PC. It’s looking like things are good for our game in it’s last year of relevance. However, when Evo announced the main 8 games, Mahvel was oddly missing from the list. Come to find out, it was placed in a competition for the 9th spot through the donation drive. While donation drives are good & I support the cause, the fact that a Marvel vs Capcom game was not automatically in the main lineup for Evolution was, at best, a mistake and, at worst, a supreme show of disrespect to the series that helped Evolution become as big as it is today. As the days of the donation drive went on, there was the nonsense that you’d assume went on like credit card fraud, disrespecting games and their scenes... the (unfortunate) list goes on. Marvel won out in the end, but there are many lessons to be learned here.

A lot of folks were happy that the community banded together to help get Marvel its place on the world’s stage for the last year. Admittedly, I am too. However, what’s more important and what really needs to be looked at is WHY it wasn’t a game that was guaranteed a spot. The sad truth is that Marvel needs Evo. You’d think that the hypest fighting game around doesn’t need any particular tournament but, unfortunately, it does. Evo knew that and that’s why they got away with putting it on the donation drive. If we take a look back to a few years ago when Super Smash Bros. Melee was on the donation drive, the ravenous bunch of Melee fans got together and donated an absurd amount of money to get their game a spot on the main stage and it’s been a mainstay ever since. If Melee had lost the donation drive, that community arguably wouldn’t have been affected one bit. They have tons of events all over the country with people coming out in droves to support them. The competition is always fierce and there’s even pot bonuses. They have their big stages across the globe. Marvel, on the other hand, is dependent on the current FGC tournament organizers for tourney support. Simply put, there are no series of major events that are Marvel centric the way there are tourneys around the globe that focus on Smash & other titles unless the big organizers decide to have it. If Big E, Jebailey, Mr.Wizard or any of the other big names don’t host Marvel in a major, it just won’t be played at that scale with hundreds of entrants coming from all over. This reality is the reason why Marvel, the game with so much rich history in this community that helped make EVO what it is today, was put on the donation drive. Our dependence on EVO led us to donate money for a game that should have been in the main lineup in the first place without question.

The one main thing to take away from this entire donation drive scenario with UMVC3 is that at the end of the day, the scene for the game that you play cannot be dependent on people outside of its respective community. Melee has a community so passionate around the globe that they don’t need an EVO and they don’t need a Nintendo Cup. All they need are their CRT’s & Gamecube controllers and there will always be huge tournaments. The community action behind that game is astounding and it’s made it so that they’ve ascended past the point of needing any entity other than the community itself. Marvel needs to ascend to that point because, as this year has shown us, our game is not safe. The hypest fighting game around is still subject to the whims of those outside its community and that needs to change.

We could try to point fingers at a big name like Yipes, who seems to be the global ambassador for Marvel, and say that he didn’t do enough with Curleh Mustache (which was a fantastic event and I hope to see it grow). However, the blame doesn’t fall on Yipes... it falls squarely on all of us. This is our game. We love this game of Marvel with all our mind, body and strength, so it’s our collective responsibility as players of this game to make sure that Marvel will always be played. Mistakes have been made, but we’re getting a brand new game towards the end of this year in Infinite. While I do think that the game will be on the Capcom Pro Tour, we can’t be satisfied with just that. This is the perfect opportunity to really make sure that we, the community, have a strong grip on our game and that we aren’t dependent on anyone for anything. We will have our Marvel World Championship with or without Capcom or Evo.

Remember guys, long live Marvel, From today till the end of days. But it'll only be that way if we work to see it that as the reality. See you next time.

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