As many long time gamers know, Capcom used to hold the rights to create games based on Marvel comics. It was at that time that they created what is perhaps the greatest cross-over fighting game of all time. Marvel Vs Capcom 2; a triple tag team fighter featuring over fifty of the companies' greatest characters. The amount of variety in the game's roster is simply dizzying. Not even Smash Bros Brawl can claim to have the same level of dream-match, cross-over craziness as Marvel Vs Capcom 2.
Despite it being Y2K, a year when the 3D fighting game were king, Marvel Vs Capcom 2 was still hugely popular. Then, out of nowhere, it the series just died. Capcom wasn't even allowed to press more discs of Marvel Vs Capcom 2 for the PS2 and Xbox, causing the few copies of the game released in stores to suddenly become worth big money. The series seemed truly over, and with its passing died a little bit of the soul of every 2D fighting game devotee.
If any of this strikes a chord for you, then I have good news. Your soul may be saved this day. I've Matlocked a butt-load of evidence that has led me to believe that Marvel Vs Capcom 3 is coming to the USA and to Europe, probably on the Wii, and most likely in 2009. Hit the jump for the details.
Exhibit A: Capcom needs a way to release Tatsunoko Vs Capcom outside of Japan
If you care enough about Capcom fighting games to even be reading this article, then you know that this December, Capcom is set to release Tatsunoko Vs Capcom on the Wii in Japan. The game is a cross-over fighter just like a Marvel Vs Capcom game except with various characters from Japanese animation studio Tatsunoko in place of the Marvel comics icons. This makes sense for the Japanese market, as Tatsunoko's animation has been a part of the Japanese psyche since the 1970's, where Marvel comics are only now beginning to gain some popularity in the Manga obsessed country.
As much as Capcom USA may want Tatsunoko Vs Capcom localized, it's just not likely to happen. In a TGS meetings with "multiple (Capcom) representatives", Spencer from Siliconera was told that due to the North American licensing issues, a game with all that Tastunoko magic going on just wasn't possible to publish outside of Japan.
That's terrible news to non-Japanese fans of Tastunoko characters like Gatchaman and Casshern, but it's incredible news for fans of Marvel Vs Capcom 2. In order to get around all the red tape, Capcom could swap out the Tatsunoko characters for Marvel characters for a fairly low cost, a cost they would probably make back quikcly via the sale of Marvel Vs Capcom 3. But does Capcom of Japan even want to make a new Marvel Vs Capcom game? Well by gum, I reckon they do. Just check Exhibit B and see for yourself!
Exhibit B: Capcom of Japan wants Marvel Vs Capcom 3 to happen
Just recently, Street Fighter IV's producer stated that he'd want to make a new Marvel Vs Capcom. He even said that he met with Marvel at Comic Con 2008, and though he coyly states that nothing is happening between the two companies yet, that he'd certainly like that to change.
It's an answer you'd expect from a guy who wants to get people talking, but doesn't want to draw too much attention away from his current project. If Marvel Vs Capcom 3 is definitely going to happen, the time to announce it would not be while doing press for the build up to Street Fighter IV. But what if you worked for another company involved in the Marvel Vs Capcom 3 project, one that could speak more freely without caring of how it will affect the press and the sales of Street Fighter IV? Well, you'd probably get something like Exhibit C...
Exhibit C: Marvel says it's happening
At this years San Diego Comi-Con, the President of Marvel Studios just came out and said that Marvel Vs Capcom 3 is happening. This is significant for a couple of reasons. For one, it's info coming from a non-videogame related source, and is therefore more credible. For whatever reason, videogame developers and publishers always lie about what they're up to, which is why we often have to turn to the ESRB, the comic book, or the movie industry for reliable inside info on what they're planning (I'm looking at you, Gary Oldman).
Secondly, the fact that the guy even knew what the hell Marvel Vs Capcom 3 is evidence that he's got some familiarity with the series, which tells us he knows about what makes a good Marvel game. In the past, Marvel's dealing with videogame companies was handled by second party negotiators, people who lacked any creative connection to Marvel's characters or interest in videogames in general. It was under their watch in 2004 that EA was handed the rights to start making Marvel games, which lead to the crappy-ass fighter Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects. After that snooze-fest was released, it made fighting games fans all the more hungry for the return a real Marvel fighting game, which would probably require someone other than EA publishing the it. That brings us to Exibit D...
Exhibit D: EA lost the liscense to make Marvel games in early 2008
There was a direct correlation between the end of Marvel's relationship with Capcom and the start of their relationship with EA. Though I have not the evidence to prove it, it stands to reason that the EA and Capcom deals couldn't exist at the same time. This is perhaps due to the fact that EA's deal and Capcom's deal were for the same characters. Both were for use of the entire core Marvel comic book universe, as opposed to the rights to make games based on Marvel movies which is owned by various game publishers, or the rights to the Ultimate Marvel line of characters which is owned by Activision.
So if EA lost the rights to make games with core Marvel comic characters, can you guess who has them now? Here's a hint, it like Moc-Pac, only backwards.Exhibit E: Marvel Vs Capcom 2 is now listed on the ESRB for the PS3 and the 360
Remember when I was saying that you often have to look to non-videogame related sources to find out what game developers are up to? Well, the ESRB is probably number one on the list of those sources, as they require game developers to submit their games for review far before the game's are ready to be released. That's how we found out about Beautiful Katamari coming to the 360, how we found out the Pikmin Japanese Wii re-releases were coming stateside, and so on.
In this case, the ESRB has told us not only that Marvel Vs Capcom 2 is being re-released, but in doing so has told us that Capcom has regained the rights to publish a games based on Marvel characters. Like I said before, Capcom had to stop making money off Marvel Vs Capcom 2 when they lost the rights to make game's with Marvel characters. If Marvel Vs Capcom 2 is to be released on the 360 and the PS3, that means that Capcom must have the rights to make games with Marvel characters again, which means that legally, nothing is stopping them from making Marvel Vs Capcom 3.
Capcom needs to get rid of the Tatsunoko characters in Tatsunoko Vs Capcom in order to release the game outside of Japan. Capcom of Japan wants to make Marvel Vs Capcom 3. Marvel says that Marvel Vs Capcom 3 is coming soon. EA has lost the rights to make games with Marvel comic's characters, and Capcom has regained them. All the evidence is there. Unless there is some fluke accident where a Marvel rep. accidentally poops on the desk of a Capcom Japan executive, Marvel Vs Capcom 3 will be made. The most logical way to make it would be from from the guts of Tatsunoko Vs Capcom, which means it will be on the Wii (and maybe other consoles), and coming to the USA no sooner than 2009 (probably after Street Fighter IV comes out, as to keep Capcom for directly competing with itself).
Now the only thing worth speculating on is which Tatsunoko characters will be swapped out for which Marvel characters. My guess is the Tastunoko guy made out of little yellow rocks will be replaced by the Marvel guy made out of little yellow rocks, and that Tastunoko guy in the skin spandex suit with the big muscles will be replaced by the Marvel in the skin spandex suit with the big muscles. Man, speculating is hard work.
Just you wait and see, folks! Matlock has spoken!