Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds Interview (Xbox360)

A classic crossover fighting series returns in February when Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds slams into stores. With the game less than a month away, we talked to MvC 3’s producer and director Ryota Niitsuma.

Strategy Informer: Street Fighter IV sparked a revival for the fighting genre. Was Capcom’s decision to return to the Marvel vs. Capcom series inspired by its success or were plans already in the works?

Ryota Niitsuma: The actual development of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 had started before that of Street Fighter IV. The success of SFIV has given backwind to the project but it certainly wasn’t a trigger itself.

Strategy Informer: Were the recent launches of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom on the Wii and the Marvel vs. Capcom 2 port for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network used to gather player feedback for MvC 3?

Ryota Niitsuma: It wasn’t that we had this planned out strictly speaking but it’s true that it’s ended up that way and we’ve seen what the market has wanted through the releases of those two titles.

Strategy Informer: Both TvC and MvC 2 were critically well-received but how well do you think they went down with gamers and were you happy with their sales numbers?

Ryota Niitsuma: Everything is linked here. Although neither Tatsunoko vs. Capcom or Marvel vs. Capcom 2 on XBLA and PSN have done millions, they certainly haven’t lost the company money. This has given backwind to Marvel vs. Capcom 3 in that we haven’t received any budget reductions which could have happened had MvC 2 or TvC flopped. As a result we were able to do the full production and didn’t have to compromise on any of the factors that we had planned out.

Strategy Informer: What were the factors behind the move to the three dimensional look and away from the 2D sprites of the past games?

Ryota Niitsuma: Obviously, Tatsunoko characters were originally from anime and Marvel’s originally from comics, meaning both were traditionally drawn in 2D. We think that using three dimensional models we’re able to show the characters in more detail – allowing us to portray them in 360 degrees along with the other effects that come from 3D rendering - so we felt that this was the way forward in making the characters more believable, in a sense.

Strategy Informer: How much involvement does Marvel have in the game’s development? For example, do they request certain characters be included or excluded?

Ryota Niitsuma: Everything was up for discussion. If the topic in question was more about the game than Marvel in general did not really comment because they knew that we knew about our games more than any one else. As for Marvel characters and how they are shown in the game they were more specific – obviously they wanted to protect their own property. When it comes to character selection it sits in the middle – it’s about the game but also about the characters. We had lengthy discussions about what characters were to be selected but it was always a collaboration and there was almost nothing where one side really had to fight for something to be realised.

Strategy Informer: You were the producer on Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. How does working with Marvel compare with working with Tatsunoko?

Ryota Niitsuma: A general attitude towards business. Tatsunoko primarily work in Japan whereas Marvel is more of a global company. The way things are done like approval processes are different too but we had all this in mind so it wasn’t an issue. Time differences sometimes made things tough but otherwise everything went smoothly.

Strategy Informer: Are there any Capcom or Marvel characters you personally made a push to include?

Ryota Niitsuma: In terms of Marvel characters we pushed for Shuma-Goroth - that’s one of Capcom’s favourite Marvel characters and he appeared in MvC 2. We really wanted him but Marvel were quite reluctant to have him in the game because they felt there were more appropriate characters that could fill that slot out of the limited number that could be included in the game. In the end our passion was acknowledged by Marvel and they’ve allowed us to include him as DLC.

In terms of Capcom characters we wanted to push for one of the most popular franchise heroes we have which is Dante from Devil May Cry. There was a lot of work involved in this. People seem to think that because it’s internal that it’s easy but in fact within Capcom each franchise is heavily guarded by its individual producer. We had to have a pretty lengthy conversation with the producer of DMC but we finally won approval from him to have Dante from Devil May Cry 3 in the game.

Strategy Informer: Street Fighter’s Ken is a notably absent from the roster of playable fighters. What were the reasons for leaving him out, especially given his popularity with players of Street Fighter IV?

Ryota Niitsuma: A big difference between the last game is that MvC 3 doesn’t have any clone characters - every single character has a unique fighting style. Even though Ryu and Akuma appear similar we considered those two to have different fighting styles. We have limited ourselves to four Street Fighter characters since this is a vs. Capcom title and not a vs. Street Fighter one. We wanted this to be a celebration of Capcom and the addition of Ken would make it a lopsided roster toward one franchise.

Strategy Informer: Marvel writer Frank Tieri mentioned at the MvC 3 panel at Comic-Con last year that Marvel and Capcom characters outside of the playable roster will make cameo appearances at certain points, specifically in the game’s endings. Can you expand on this and tell us which characters these will be?

Ryota Niitsuma: I don’t recall seeing the models for any Marvel characters appearing in this manner but there will be Capcom characters in the background of some stages. Tyrant is in the back of the Resident Evil stage and Firebrand in Ghosts ‘n Goblins stage, for example.

Strategy Informer: Marvel’s Shuma-Gorath and Resident Evil’s Jill Valentine have been announced as early downloadable content. Are there any plans beyond those for more character and maybe costumes downloads?

Ryota Niitsuma: We’ve not got plans in place - nothing has been decided at this time.

Thanks to Niitsuma-san and Capcom for giving us a little more insight into the game. Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds launches worldwide mid-Feburary on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms.