My Marvel vs Capcom Spiritual sequel pitch: Text Version.

If you haven´t seen my video, here´s the short version: I can't wait 10 more years for Capcom and Marvel to get together and make a new 3 on 3 player super hero tag team, especially since it's possible Capcom goes under and Marvel is being a jerk about licencing.

So I'm trying to put together a crew of like-minded individuals who want to make a super hero tag team game . We're gonna need composers, drawing artists, people who know about the technical aspects of the game. We're gonna need people who know EF 12, MUGEN, Yoyo Gamemaker, or just plain code.

Now here´s the long written version.

I don´t believe in choosing one´s favorite things without really thinking it. For something to truly be one´s favorite, it must prove itself time and time again. It's the only way to distinguish the passing fads and temporary caprices from what truly hits one's core.

But I think in a sense Marvel vs Capcom 2 has proven itself to be many people´s favorite. It was never a perfect game. The cast came from disparately different games and it showed. The stages weren't anything to write home, and while the 2d sprites that weren't from Darkstalkers looked good, the backgrounds where generic and aged terribly. The music choices are still baffling.

But for a game that basically was a last hurrah for the series collecting all the characters that had been on it, and rounding  it with basically random stragglers(2 Wolverines and Anakaris? Amingo? Where's Anita, U.S. Agent and Shadow Lady? Where the hell is Cyber Akuma? No Warzard characters?) proved itself to have huge legs. For 10 years it was a mainstay of arcades, and the tourney years. 10 years. Halo is over 10 years. Do people still feverishly play Halo's multiplayer?

The known, colorful characters where certainly a plus. The game certainly held a lot of appeal with the promise of making a team with Street Fighter's Bison teaming up with Spider-Man. That's certainly part of it. But it wasn't the only fighting game with Marvel characters.

The success of that game is, at it's core, a design success. The gameplay is fast and accessible, but  with 56 characters to add to a 3 character team, that means that there was bound to be 168 possible teams, which, every character having 3 assist types, raises the possible combinations to 504. Even the update to the sequel couldn't touch it.

Speaking of that, UMVC3 is nearing it's fourth year birthday. Fans of the series where pretty disappointing with Capcom's handling overall of UMVC3 afterwards. The DLC was certainly disappointing/on disk. Capcom seems to have given up on this huge seller pretty quickly. Can't even play it online no more.

The Marvel series is showing all the signs to be headed into an even longer slumber than the decade between MVC2 and MVC3. Capcom is not doing so hot, lately. Don't be surprised if in a couple of years Capcom goes under, or gets bought up or sold.

Meanwhile, Marvel is doing so good, it's decided it to treat it's games division as another subsidiary of the films, focusing on producing games aligned with the movies it's making more than anything. Which is why Activision isn't making X-Men and Spider-Man games anymore.

So, until Marvel's games model goes kaput and Capcom pulls itself out of the muck, the odds of MVC4 are low to nil. And this is where the story used to end, back in the early 2000's.

But it's not the early 2000's anymore. Now, when Microsoft won't release a new Banjo Kazooie game, former Rare staff make a kickstarter for Yooka Laylee. When Konami won't make a traditional Castlevania,  it's original creator puts out a Kickstarter for  Bloodstained. When Capcom won't make a new Megaman game, it's original creator makes Mighty No.9.

So where's our spiritual sequel to Marvel vs Capcom? I mean,  fighting games have some of the more intense fan content generating scenes I've seen, and that's just MUGEN alone! We made Pokken before Pokken was cool. And that's what I'm here to pitch. An idea for us to get together and make a new MVC styled game.

Now, MVC had a pretty deep well of well known  and obscure characters from which to draw. And all those guys are gonna be under copyright for the forseeable future.

But not all superheroes are under copyright. Over the years, hundreds of this heroes have lost their copyright due to their parents companies going under and other such fates.

While you wouldn't mistake any of these guys for anything other than 1940's superheroes in their original state, it's certainly possible to reinvent them as something more modern. Say, analogues to popular current comic book and videogame characters.

For some, you wouldn't even need to go too far. I mean, look at Comet and Spider-Queen.

You're making a fighting game and you're gonna make a moveset for "shoots eyebeams" and "Can shoot web from her wrist." Hello? Streamline the designs a little, and you have some cool chars for a game!

Alas, there's other characters that don't really have that much going for them in terms of powers. A lot of them just have what I call "The Basic Superman". Really strong, Can Fly. A lot of them just have a costume and a gimmick with no actual powers.

But WE'RE calling the shots. We can make this characters do whatever we want! For an example, here's Red Rube.
Also, apparently "Red Rube" is a sexual thing that I don't want to be image googling.

Red Rube is a Captain Marvel(Whom, by the way, can also be on the game) knockoff with no actual powers other than being superstrong and supernaked. Like Captain Marvel, he's an orphan who transforms when he yells out a magic word.  But when he transforms he does a thing with a tornado instead of a thing with lightening.

So why not extrapolate that power set to "he can shoot tornados!" If you wanted him to be an analogue, there's at least two MVC characters with whirlwind powers.

There's all sorts of things that can be done. You can make a legacy character so as to mold the character into whatever age or race or gender you want to. You can pretend the character had a lenghty history to say "hey, that's what the character looked like in the 90's!" or "eventually he got powers" or "He's actually a character from an old videogame, brought to life." We could totally work in those snubbed characters that definitively should have been on there, but whern't.

And that's all before even discussing making an original character. It's certainly a possibility. Jussayin' is all. It's not like we can't make a whole new character or anything.

As for gameplay, may I suggest starting off with a base MVC2 engine, and then improving on that?

For example, add a combo breaker or  somesuch system. Batzarro's personally not  a huge fan of infinites. Or how was that thing in Tatsunoko called? Megacrash?

Another thing I'd like is the ability to choose assist types on the fly. It would add unpredictability to fights to not be expecting something in specific everytime you  see the assist character arrive.

It'd be pretty cool if all  characters could buff up their stats, similar to Juggernaut's Power Up move, with the caveat that it'd drain their meter. You can continually buff on top of the buffs, but it'd keep draining more and more meter. Once you're out of meter, the buffs are gone. We could call this option "Retcon".

Inversely, you could maybe debuff yourself temporarilly in exchange for more meter. Would you be willing to be a bit more frail or slower in exchange for that necessary bit of hyperbar?

There's also non-fighting things that I'd like to improve on the Marvel Games. For example, the story. I'd like to think we can come up with something a little  better than a slideshow for each character(or in MVC2's case, no even that). I mean, it doesn't have to be Mortal Kombat 9's or anything, but even Touki Densho had  somewhat more of a story than a game with characters that have decades of story to them. That's right, Touki Densho. You haven't even heard about that one.

How about endings that acknoweledge that the characters where a team, instead of just giving an ending to the guy who last punched? I know at least MVC1 toyed with that for a bit, but there's certainly more that can be done. 

I was making a fighting game story mode once, and while I couldn't ever finish it, It basically amounted to generic dialogue that could be replaced with character specific versions. You know, you say, for example "What would Ryu say HERE to start a fight? Something like 'I want to test my strength against you' right? But what would Wolverine say? 'Get out of my way, Bub!' probably!" Much like certain parts of Star Wars Kotor, different dialogues basically taking the story in a same direction.

How about Co-Op? The Marvel games completely missed the idea of Co-op, but this isn't 1999 anymore! There's no reason why multiple players can't control each  characters. Hell, can you imagine 3 on 3 gameplay? That would be boss.

In short,I don't think we've done enough with the idea of a super hero tag team game and with fighting games in general. 10 more years? Let's NOT wait 10 more years. Let's get together and do it.


BGE investigates. The Special Move Problem

Yeah, good luck pulling this shit off in an Xbox 360 controller.

I like fighting games.  For a long, long time I've loved them. My first experience with them was walking into a shop with my dad, and out in the corner, was Street Fighter 2.
After the obligatory parental beggary, I convinced my old man to  lend me of his money to try out this strange machine of wonder, which promised  the excitement of battle.

I lost, of course. I picked Guile because he looked cool, and when you're  7 and playing a random game that's all you need.  I did not know how to play Street Fighter. Guile is a charge character. You're expected to hold back for a few seconds, hold forward, and, not letting go forward push on your choice of 3 out of 6 overall buttons to show a projectile. Which is fair and lovely, once you know it, but as a newbie picking up a game blindly trying to achieve "fun" it's a bit over your head.

He also had a move where you hold down, and then up and a button in a similar fashion. But of course, if you do it wrong, you'll wind up jumping, which is not what you want to be doing in the early 90's because air blocking hasn't been invented yet.

Special Moves as we know them where invented with the first Street Fighter machine, which had pads that you punched and, depending of how much strenght you put into it, would do either regular moves or the now famed Hadouken. But as these pads proved not sturdy enough to withstand the blows of player all over the world, they where replaced with the 6 button layout we all know and love. The Special moves where performed with twirls meant to emulate the movement of Ryu's hands to perform the actual move. And that solved the only problem Street Fighter had and everybody loved it forever.

Diamond in the rough.

Nah, just kidding. A couple years more later Capcom made a sequel to Street Fighter. Now you could play as any of the characters in the game, all of which had different  special moves from Ryu. Well, except Ken. Besides the twirls, we where introduced to the fast tap for characters like Chun Li and Honda, charge attack for characters like Guile, and...I'm told Zangief has Special Moves, too, I'm gonna check back on that.

As you may know, Street Fighter 2 was a huge hit, sucking up money in Arcades, Consoles, and on merchandise. Imitators quickly pulled up on the scene, trying to emulate Capcom's success by emulating Capcom's gameplay and characters. Now, don't get me wrong, imitators doesn't mean that they didn't innovate or that they whern't any good. But basically every fighting game under the sun that was released after SF2 started with a solid Street Fighter base, including the idea and, for the most part, execution of special moves. It just became a thing that fighting games do because that's what a fighting game is.

But I don't think "that's just the way it's always been" is a satisfying answer to why fighting games continue to include special moves. 

I still remember the uproar when Capcom announced MVC3 would have a Simple Mode. The  VS series had always been a simpler take on Capcom's increasingly convoluted Street FIghter series, which continued to pile on technicallities to the allienation of casual fans. But even in that, the concept of being able to pull of special moves without applying rote memorization seemed like giving in to the devil itself.
"Simple"? NEVER!

Rote memorization is so expected, that Netherrealm actually went ahead and added a pay-for-easy-Fatalities option to Mortal Kombat X, to the chagrin of many. But they're not angry they're still expected to learn a secret little jig to perform a key feature in a game, but that someone might bypass it and perform the move without knowing and executing the secret handshake.

When you see what is known as "high level gameplay", rote memorization trumps all.  Once someone figures out the one combo that just  can't be escaped, high level matches start deevolving into a game of who lets their guard down first.
It's either bragging rights in a videogame or keeping those carpals going.

So, do we need Special Moves? There's  no univeral answer, but I'd argue that, no, we don't need them. The 3D side of fighting games that draws more from Virtua Fighter and Tekken, such as Soul Calibur, Dead or Alive has mostly done away with them. The availability of different attacks in there is mostly tied to no more than holding in a direction and pressing one of the attack buttons, or combining two attack buttons. I never had to sit down and read a guide to know the very basic of Tina Armstrong moves.  Soul Calibur  has scores of moves for each character, and most of those aren't tied to twirls and spins.

Now, yes, these games don't have "special moves" as much as "just moves". It's no coincidence that Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat are back to being stuck in a 2D plane. They just couldn't mesh "sidestepping 3D" and "Shooting Fireballs" in a way that makes sense. After all the EX and Armageddon nonsense they're back just pretending that third dimension never existed. But there is another game that does have directional input: Nintendo's Smash Bros.

Some are reluctant to call Smash a fighting game. But why wouldn't it be?  It's got strategy, focuses on combat, and has special moves. It's specials, of course, are tied to pushing a Special button and the direction you push. Like the original Street Fighter, the context it tied to the direction you press: Press Special + Down on the air and if your character has a dive attack that's probably where you'll find it. Press Special + Up to dash upward. It's super simple. You can leave out the memory crap and focus on core fighting strategy.

Now, take out the Party fighter stuff. Imagine you had a traditional, Angry Japanese Guy 2d type fighter. You have a special button. You have a special move for Special + nothing, SP + forward, SP + forward + up, SP + forward + down, SP + down, SP + down + back, SP + back, SP + up + back, SP + up and SP + up + forward. That's 8 Special moves, more than you have for most character in SF 2. You could always have 2 special buttons. You could have 2 variations of each move, just like how in SF you can get different kinds of Fireballs according to which punch button you press. Or you could just have 16 specials, if you're so inclined. And you'd still have 4 core buttons left for those punches and kicks everybody loves.

Sure, you and I know how to pull of a Hadoken. We went through it. But out there, there's a younger us, who sees Scorpion and Sub Zero shooting ice and spears at each other, and he thinks it's the coolest thing he's ever seen. He wants to do that. And if we tie up all the cool stuff behind button combinations no one could figure naturally on their own, he might very justifiably take his buisness elswhere, to another game that DOESN'T Require working knoweledge of a 20 + year game genre to have fun.

Want it or not, casuals ARE the future of fighting games, because every one of us started by casually playing a game for fun. And whether you wound up  winning EVO or just tricking people into thinking Megaman X was in Marvel vs Capcom 3, it all depended on whether you had fun during those first times to see if you stuck with it. If we can put aside our pride for a bit, we could grow the community beyond the people we already have. We could grow fighting games as a genre. And that's good for everyone.

BGE investigates: Is Batman a huge hippocrite?

The Bats are gonna fly toniiiiight! They're wearing Hockey pads, toniiiight!

Batman. Who is this man, and what drives him to do the things he does?

This might be the kinds of nerdy questions that mostly should be answered by "he's not real, jerk," but for 70 years a multitude of artists and writers have  made their livelihood by essaying  into comics, movies, and tv shows  carefully  crafted answers to that question.

While the Bat's personality is a reflection on the artists, the society at the time, and mercenary creative need, most Bat-fans would probably  know the following.

1)Batman is Bruce Wayne, Millionaire Playboy , whose parent's murder as a child drove him to become a vigilante/super hero.
2)Batman does not kill.
3)Batman does not use guns.

You can see fan outrage for those times when Batman kills, or for those rarer still moments when he can be found clutching a handgun. Batman Beyond, an official cartoon depicting  the future of the Animated Series, depicts the moment Bruce decides  to stop being Batman as being one time illness FORCED him to use a gun to scare off a criminal.

So Batman does not use guns. This is an integral part of the character, now.  All he has is his wits and his fists and his gadgets and vehicles. Otherwise his just an ordinary billionaire who engages in regular exercise. You don't see Batman shoot up a place. Except in, like this scene.

In this scene, The Joker is gassing the city, and it's up to Batman to stop him. He does, and then he takes aim from his airship towards the Joker.

The intention is pretty clear, here. Batman is trying to shoot this single man from the sky with the guns in his warplane. While it is pretty dramatically convenient that Batman's aim is so lousy,  Batman's idea here isn't for Joker to do a stint on prison. He's trying to shoot him dead.

Now, being fair, Batman DOESN'T have an established code against killing in that movie, nor an established code against guns, perse. Many fans have gone on to believe that THIS particular Batman is acting severely out of character. REAL Batman wouldn't bomb a building, or burn a man alive with his car's afterburner or throw the Joker off a cathedral to his own death, they'll say.

"Real Batman" might more closely ressemble The Dark Knight Trilogy VERSION, to many of those fans. That one DOES establish Batman has  a reason for not wanting to kill, and a specific aversion to guns. He rejects  killing after his initiation on the league of Shadows involves murdering an accused criminal, and rejects guns after his love interest scolds him for his intention to shoot the man who murdered his parents.

After that, it's nothing but  his wits and his fists and his gadgets and vehicles. And my what vehicles these are! There's the Tumbler, a tank-like military offroad vehicle equiped with jumping action, fiery turbines, missile launchers,  and what appears to be a periscope style overhead machine gun.

Of course, Batman didn't order that made custom. He doesn't need military grade weapons. He's not a killer, guys! He only ever uses the Tumbler's missile capacity to take down  a train.  Further movies, though, establish his continually upgraded fleet includes a motorcycle that detaches itself from the Tumbler. Pretty useful for chasing after the Joker, but as we see here, not as useful for apprehending him.

This scene echoes the earlier scene where  Batman blasted away at the Joker from his high tech plane, except in this scene Batman doesn't blast at the Joker. I mean, with the enormous guns in the Batbike, he'd tear him to pieces. But he can't even manage to run him over, which he seems he kind of wanted to do but doesn't. You know there's a couple of things between running over a man with your motorcycle and just sort of letting him go, right, Batty?
"Okay, lemme explain. This doesn't shoot bullets, it shoots plastic explosives. Totally non-lethal stuff."

And if you're wondering if those are guns, flip over to the ending of Dark Knight Rises, where Catwoman, riding the same model,  explodes a barricade and eventually Bane, the movie's villain. The Batpod isn't just armed with peashooters, it's a fucking war machine.

He's also got "The Bat", a hovering...thing, also armed with  machine guns and explosives.

So what gives, anyway? Am I the only one who has noticed?
The Bathorse is also armed!

Batman's "No GUNS" thing is kind of weirdly structured. On the one hand, Batman outright refuses to even WORK with somebody who's carrying, but sees no objection to having a 50 cal mounted on his Bat Huey.

Most of the same reasons for using firearms are the same kind of reasons for putting them on vehicles. "Guns are for killing, and I don't kill" Well, Batman doesn't have to use guns to straight up murder. He an debilitate  an opponent, scatter a crowd of unarmed thugs.  In the same way he can have machine guns mounted on the hood of his car and not necessarily use that shoot Poison Ivy dead, he can have a handgun in case the situation calls for it.

"Guns are what criminals use!" First of all, YOU'RE a criminal. You're embezzling money from your company, engaging in acts of aggression, driving unsanctioned vehicles and  Second of all, let's be adults here, Batman.  All sorts of people carry guns. Police. Military personnel. Security guards. Civilians who want to defend themselves. I'm not pro-guns  or anything, but it is what it is. It's especially weird to say that in the world of DC when it involves metabeings.  Some of these people can fly and throw blasts out of their hands. I'm sure if you look hard enough in the DC universe, there's a guy whose powers is shooting bullets out of his eyes.

"Guns killed my parents." Yes, the classic trauma. Batman is AVERSE to firearms, and somehow this mental avertion goes away if it's the vehicle he's riding doing the shooting.

But wouldn't the SOUND of the machine guns on the Batmobile trigger back memories of that fateful day?

For such a presumed "important" part of the character, this discrepancy has not yet been tackled. In fact, Arcades all over the continent are filling up with Batman: The Arcade Game, a game that lets you choose from MOST of the popular Batmobiles, and allows you to shoot up the streets as you try to stop Bane, Mr Freeze and The Joker.  While some of this vehicles never actually shot anything on their original version, this game allows it like it's the most natural thing in the world.

So pick one, Bats. Either never guns, or sometimes guns.

A Spiritual Sequel to Marvel Vs Capcom? Yes!

Wherein I outline the secret plot to out-Mahvel Capcom!

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