Capcom can't have been pleased. Its Internet-melting Captivate 09 announcement had been ruined. A week earlier, a retailer listing popped up on UK site ShopTo.net for MadCatz Marvel vs. Capcom tournament sticks, scheduled to ship in July. An ERSB listing and thinly-veiled teaser site followed. The proverbial cat was out of the bag.
So, when it came to the night before Captivate proper, there were no gasps or tears of joy or screams of adulation when Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was announced and its title was blazed across a widescreen television. It was more a case of, well, yeah, tell us something we don't know.
And, actually, playing the thing sparks a similar feeling. For all intents and purposes this XBLA and PSN re-release of the Dreamcast fighting game classic is a straight-up port. The game's still got a huge, eclectic roster of characters, still got an accessible but deep fighting system, still got an incredible pace, still got three-on-three fights and still got special attacks that result in hundred hit combos. Bar some new graphical options, widescreen support and, most importantly of all, online play, this is the same game that's still to this day played in fighting game competitions around the world.
Now this might disappoint some who had hoped for an HD Remix of the game, ala Backbone's Super Street Fighter II Turbo, but the fact that Capcom hasn't given it a Remix lick of paint shouldn't come as a surprise: its work on Super Turbo was a tortuous affair that ran over budget and over time. And in any case, the number of frames of animation included in MvC2 is many times more than in Super Turbo. We would probably have had to wait a decade for the redrawn art, let alone the rebalanced gameplay.
Still, MvC2 arguably is one of those games that doesn't need to be HD Remixed, because it still looks lovely to this day and the fighting engine is so tight. The backgrounds (all 3D, remember) are vibrant, full of colour and movement, and every single one of the 56 characters is finely detailed, with expressive animations and spectacular attacks. MvC2 is a gorgeous game. It always was, and probably always will be, with a charm that comes from a roster packed full of memorable faces.