Ryota Niitsuma is working on one of the biggest collaborations in video game history: Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds. We recently got the chance to talk to Niitsuma-san about the game, and probed him on the general state of the fighting scene. Here's how it went down.
Q: How did Marvel vs Capcom come to fruition? If it wasn't for Street Fighter IV bringing the fighting genre back into the eye of the industry, would the game still exist today?
Ryota Niitsuma: Due to the complications of the license, and the vast amounts of time it takes to process such a title, the plan was already there before the launch of Street Fighter IV. Obviously we've been encouraged by the success of Street Fighter IV, but this wasn't started in reaction to the success of that game.
Q: How many of the mechanics from Marvel vs Capcom 2 have made it into 3?
RN: I'm not sure exactly how many, but, for instance, the buttons are quite different to MCV2, but if someone who has played Marvel vs Capcom 2 played this, they will be familiar with the game. So, it depends on how they think, but perhaps half of the philosophy from Marvel vs Capcom 2 has been inherited.
Q: Obviously the first two games in the series are aimed at a very core demographic. With the fighting genre so popular today, Marvel vs Capcom 3 looks set to have a much wider audience than its predecessors. Do you think a newcomer to the series will be able to pick up the game and have as much fun as the core player?
RN: The previous title I produced, Tatsunoko vs Capcom actually had a simple command mode, and by using that we received good feedback from the users, that enabled them to play the game even though they weren't that into hardcore fighting. So in Marvel vs Capcom 3, we'd like to do that too, and narrow the gaps between veteran players and beginners so that they're actually able to play on equal terms using two different modes.
And how will the online lobby system work? Will it be using a system similar to that of Street Fighter IV?
RN: We're actually in the process of doing some online work right now, so we can't really say for sure, but it will be somewhat different from the Street Fighter IV lobby system.
Q: Do you predict that the game will have the same long term support as the first two games had? Will people still be playing this 5-10 years down the line?
RN:It's been almost a decade since the previous Marvel vs Capcom, so we're trying to brush this up so that it will be played in the next ten years. So yes.
Q: Obviously you can't talk about the final character roster, but I wanted to ask how it's put together. Is it restricted much by licensing? Do you choose a character based on how well their moves might work? What's the general procedure?
RN: So at the start of the project, we both created a super-duper wish list - so Marvel listed out all the characters they wanted, and we listed all the characters we wanted, and then we matched them up, and those characters we both had went in. We kind of negotiated saying "ok, we'll put this one in, but instead we'll take that one out" - we're continuously negotiating.