The Limitations and Shortcomings of Infinity.


With Marvel vs Capcom Infinite hitting store shelves in a few days, the time has come for everyone to join hands, take a deep breath, and admit that the roster is garbage.

That’s right the franchise that started out as the natural successor to a what-if scenario that pitted “Xmen” and “Street Fighters” character against each other in a 2D fighting game has finally dropped the ball on the one thing that seemed impossible to screw up; the roster. To think that two companies that hold millions of dollars’ worth of intellectual property and characters would have a difficult time picking characters to fill a greatest hits roster for a fighting game is beyond mind-boggling. Yet through hard work and determination, they managed to pull it off to their own detriment. To someone new to the series, the roster might seem decent. Marvel has most of the “Avengers”, “Spiderman” and the “Guardians of the Galaxy” on their side while Capcom has “Megaman”, “Street Fighter” and “Resident Evil” on their roster. And normally that would be a good roster if this wasn’t the 5th installment in this franchise’s history.

I am not new to these types of games nor am I new to the companies involved with each section of the roster. I’ve played plenty of Capcom games and have read comic books for years. I’ve spent countless hours perusing wiki pages and learning about every aspect of Marvel comics that I can find. So, when a guy like me, equipped with way too much knowledge on both companies looks at this roster and thinks its garbage, rest easy because it’s true.

If this roster existed for the first installment, then sure it could have been written off as a good base to start off with and then be improved upon in later games, but that’s not the world we live in. Marvel comics is not just avengers and guardians; it’s also Xmen, fantastic four, defenders, Inhumans, cosmic characters and a slew of individual crime fighters and villains that have made their impact on the cultural zeitgeist for generations to come. Same for Capcom, it’s not just home to a couple of big franchises but also has some of the most beloved characters in video game history with one of my all-time favorite characters (Phoenix Wright) being a part of that catalog of characters.

All that culture and love for gaming history is dead in this game. And I like gaming history and its culture this game and I are not starting out on the right foot.

Let’s go back to the size of the roster for a bit. The second game in this franchise had a fifty-six -character roster and the last two games, “Marvel vs Capcom 3” and the Ultimate edition sported thirty-eight and fifty for their respective roster when factoring in DLC. This leaves infinite with the smallest roster of the sequel games with only thirty characters to start and six confirmed DLC characters bumping it up to thirty-six which is what MVC3 had as a base roster. While a smaller might seem like a good idea, giving developers more time to focus on perfecting the characters game-play as opposed to trying to churn out twenty characters in a single night, but that logic only works if this is the first installment. As games release sequels developers are generally aware of how returning characters will play so it’s less about starting from scratch and more about tweaking any problems that weren’t dealt with the last time around. And this game has a lot of returning characters, twenty-four to be exact. So, the consumer is paying at least fifty dollars for only six new characters plus a smaller roster. To compare, a copy of Ultimate MVC3 currently goes for about twenty-five dollars on Steam with all the DLC included. Why would I spend fifty for a game with a smaller roster that also lacks the creativity that I desire from these types of games.

I sense a few holdouts though that think this roster is still fine. So let us go deeper into the content provided, shall we?

First. let’s get Capcom out of the way – the side of the fence that was built via comity. Remember how I mentioned a lot of Capcom success was built on having characters that are extremely beloved?

Yeah, most of them got cut from the roster.

Phoenix Wright (my personal favorite), Viewtiful Joe, and Amaterasu were all cut from the roster. And there isn’t a decent excuse for it. Joe and Amaterasu have cult followings that are now pissed beyond recognition, so don’t expect them to judge this game unbiased.

As for the Phoenix fans? We’re mad beyond recognition. For so long we waited to get this guy into one of these fighters and how many games did we get to keep him for? One. One measly game while a side character like Firebrand gets to stick around without anyone batting an eye. Seriously the franchise that just returned to the gaming scene after a few years on hiatus is snubbed by a character that hasn’t been relevant in years? Capcom, do you even known how to treat a beloved IP anymore?

Not to mention all the favorites from the big franchises that were cut like Albert Wesker, Akuma, Trish and Vergil from “Devil May Cry” alongside most of the original “Darkstalkers” cast and Jill from “Resident Evil”. This wouldn’t be a problem if the returning characters along with the new ones were equally beloved.

Spoiler, they aren’t.

The characters that got to stay that nobody wanted were Nemesis, Firebrand, and Spencer. Who is Spencer? Exactly, he’s a nobody that got to stay while Phoenix Wright was wrongfully cut. The rest of the roster is loaded with characters that were never in danger of being kicked like Ryu and Megaman X. Even with those mainstays, however, this section of the roster still lacks any of the flair and originality the previous rosters had. This whole section feels like Capcom didn’t even want to try; like they thought Megaman X was the only character needed to win Capcom fans over. It’s a massive let down compared to what was offered up by Capcom in the past as well as the potential franchises that could have been included but weren’t due to the small roster size.

Now let’s look at Marvel, the side that reflects Disneys current IP problems. As mentioned before this series started out as an Xmen and Street Fighter Collaboration game. Since Xmen are extremely important to the history of this game you’d think that they would get at least one character.

They got nothing.

Due to a dispute over the movie rights to the Xmen between Disney and 20th Century Fox, Marvel has decided to kill the cultural importance of the Xmen to render the IP worthless and in turn strongarm Fox into giving the rights over to Disney. This means the Xmen only appear in the comic books and nothing else, and ever those appearances are minor. Disney’s obsession with the movies, in general, is what makes their side of the roster so bland. Marvel tried to replace mainstays like Magneto, Doctor Doom and Deadpool with Ultron, Gamora and Captain Marvel. All of whom either have a movie in the works or has appeared in a movie.

Don’t get me wrong, the movies are great. But when they start to become the main priority of every piece of media released especially for a comic book company that has such great list of characters, they start to lose the magic that drew me into comics in the first place. Characters like Deadpool, Storm, Wolverine, Mysterio, Daredevil and Magneto; they all get thrown away just so Disney can prove to Fox that they have the bigger Sentinel.

I got into comics for characters, not corporate politics.

It annoys me that Marvel is slowly losing all its history and character just to promote their movies. Seriously they don’t need any more advertising, you won the cinema war against Fox and Sony years ago, there is no need to continue the fight. You don’t need to kill the Xmen to prove a point that was made when the first Avengers movie hit theaters all those years ago.

This game was named infinity because it was supposed to be a limitless, timeless experience. Yet from where I’m standing the whole thing looks pretty limiting and dated.

(Update: below is some footage of the game taken by Playstation Clan on Youtube)