All it takes is checking out a few YouTube reaction videos to see how excited—and shocked—fans were to see Capcom announce Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite at PlayStation Experience 2016. Of course, once the excitement died down, the terrible truth sank in: We would now have an excruciating wait until the game’s release. To help pass a little of the time until that fateful day, we’ve dug through all of the information released since the game’s reveal to give you a clearer picture of what to expect when the game hits this year.
What we know we know
What are the basics of the gameplay? By far the biggest change here is the switch from 3v3 to a 2v2 format, harkening back to the original Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes. Tagging in and out between your characters will be instantaneous, in part to facilitate the stringing together of combos (in similar fashion to Street Fighter X Tekken). Meanwhile, the Delayed Hyper Combos last seen in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will be making a return. What won’t be returning, however, are assists. Control-wise, the game utilizes a six-button layout, consisting of light punch, heavy punch, light kick, heavy kick, a button for triggering your current Infinity Stone, and a button for tagging in your other character.
But will I be able to play it? If you’ve ever watched any of the Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 tournaments that have taken place in recent years, you’ll know that the game can seem fast, chaotic, complex, and decidedly newbie-unfriendly. In an interview last March with Gamesindustry.biz, however, Capcom Europe COO Stuart Turner called Marvel vs. Capcom a “great introduction to the genre,” one that’s “far more simplistic and technically easier to pick up and play.” While Turner didn’t specify Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite by name in that statement, those and other comments he made do hint that Capcom wants the game to be accessible for a wide segment of fans—including those who love the Marvel universe—and not just fighting game die-hards.
That echoes what Marvel Games executive producer Mike Jones said about MvC: Infinite late last year, when he noted that the game would be “more elegant and simplified” while remaining as “complex and hardcore” as previous titles in the franchise. Plus, we’ve already seen the publisher try to ease the barrier for entry in Street Fighter V, so continuing that mentality of making a fighter that’s easy to learn but hard to master with Infinite wouldn’t at all be surprising.
In a decision that may end up being somewhat controversial to more hardcore fans, players will be able to unleash a combo string simply by mashing light punch, which will then knock your opponent into the air and continue the combo there if you keep hitting the button. As well, you’ll be able to press light punch, light kick, heavy kick, and heavy punch (one after the other in order) to unleash a universal combo string, or hit heavy punch + heavy kick to trigger your level one hyper combo. While some fans may argue that this makes the game too easy for lesser-skilled players, we expect that—like other fighting games such as The King of Fighters XIV that have employed auto-combo systems in recent years—these types of shortcuts will produce far less damage than doing things the more traditional way. And, don’t worry: all of these shortcuts will be options, so longtime players can still rely on more traditional techniques for unleashing moves or combos.
What Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite cast members are known so far? At the game’s unveiling during PlayStation Experience 2016, we saw the reveal of four characters: Iron Man and Captain Marvel on the Marvel side, and Ryu and Mega Man X on the Capcom side. In the months that followed, we got the announcements of Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, Rocket Raccoon (with Groot), and Ultron for Marvel, and Chun-Li, Strider Hiryu, Morrigan, Chris Redfield, and Sigma (from the Mega Man X series) for Capcom. At E3 2017, new trailers and reveals confirmed a fresh batch of faces: Thanos, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Gamora, and Nova on Marvel’s side, and Dante, Arthur (Ghosts ‘n Goblins), Spencer (Bionic Commando), and Zero (Mega Man X) from Capcom’s. Finally, as part of an exhibition match for the game run during this year’s Evolution Championship Series, we were given the reveal (and first gameplay footage) for Jedah from Darkstalkers 3.
Will there be a season pass? As part of the April information update, Capcom announced that the game will be launching with a 2017 Character Pass. While no price nor exact launch date has been revealed for the pass just yet, as of now we do know that it’ll give players the ability to play as Sigma, Black Panther, and four other yet-to-be-named characters following MvC: Infinite‘s launch.
What modes will be available in the game? It seems Capcom has learned their lesson from the release of Street Fighter V, as MvC: Infinite will have a variety of both single-player and multiplayer content on the disc from day one. At launch, players will have access to full Arcade and VS CPU modes, a cinematic story campaign, Mission Mode (a collection of smaller objectives that’ll act as tutorials as sorts for the game’s fighting engine and individual characters), a database about both the Marvel and Capcom universes (which unlocks as you play), Ranked and Casual online modes, and online lobbies with the ability to spectate matches.
What tech is being used for the game? Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite will be running on Unreal Engine 4, the same engine used for Street Fighter V. Also similar to Capcom’s currently-running fighter, MvC: Infinite will feature ranked and casual matches, online lobbies with spectator mode, and global leaderboards.
When will I get to try it out? Capcom let fans go hands-on with the game at this year’s E3 and CEO events, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the game is then shown off in some form at select later events, such as EVO 2017 in July. As of now, however, the only for-sure way to give Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite a go is through the Story Demo that’s currently offered as a free download on the PlayStation Store for PS4 owners.
When is Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite‘s release date, and what platforms is it coming to? Unlike Street Fighter V, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite isn’t going for any sort of exclusivity, so it’ll be hitting the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on September 19th, 2017.
Does Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite have any special editions or pre-order bonuses? Yep. The Standard Edition of the game will cost you $59.99, and will net you the Warrior Thor and Evil Ryu premium costumes if you pre-order. Next is the Deluxe Edition, which comes with the base game and the 2017 Character Pass for $89.99. Each of the DLC characters comes with his or her own special costume, and pre-ordering this edition will get you even more bonus costumes, including Warrior Thor, Evil Ryu, Gladiator Hulk, and Command Mission Mega Man X. Finally, there’s the Collector’s Edition for $199.99, which nets you the base game, the 2017 Character Pass, and a four-character interlinking diorama of Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Chun-Li, and Mega Man X. You’ll also receive a special collector’s set of LED-powered Infinity Stones, complete with display-worthy premium packaging. Last but not least, you’ll also get all of the premium costumes included with the Deluxe Edition.
What we think we know
What’s the situation with X-Men and Fantastic Four characters? Well, there’s good news and bad news on this one based on what we know at this point. On the bad side, while Marvel has the right to use characters from both of those franchises in games, the company has an internal ban on doing so for any releases coming after 2014’s Marvel: Contest of Champions. The reason is simple: the company is still engaged in a feud with 20th Century Fox, and they don’t want to help promote any characters that are still under the rights of the movie production company. So, this means that beloved MvC characters such as Magneto, Wolverine, Dr. Doom, and Sentinel are probably off of the table—at least in the beginning.
NeoGAF user Ryce—one of the people who leaked MvC: Infinite in the first place—claimed both X-Men and Fantastic Four characters have been cleared to come later as DLC. In a new set of posts kicking off on May 30th, Ryce and another poster who may potentially have inside information, SaikyoBro, unleashed some updated rumors. According to them, the launch roster will consist of 28 characters, with that initial selection containing no X-Men or Fantastic Four faces (along with some familiar Capcom picks also missing).
Who is being rumored to be in the game beyond the announced characters? In mid-May, the company announced a promotional effort that would see Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite variant covers come to 20 of its comics in August. If we assume that most if not all of those covers would be used for titles that would have some relevance to the game, that would give us potential character choices such as Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and Venom—as well as Thanos and Black Panther, who we’ve now had confirmed. Alternately, data miners dug into the released Story Demo soon after it hit, coming up with this list of potential characters from the file names that were found: Firebrand (Ghosts ‘n Goblins), Frank West, Hunter (assumed to be from the Monster Hunter series), Mike Haggar, and Nemesis on the Capcom side, and Dormammu, Ghost Rider, Spider-Man, Venom, and Winter Soldier on the Marvel side.
What’s up with the Infinity Stones? The Infinity Stones will be a new system that replaces X-Factor from Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. In Capcom’s 1995 fighting game Marvel Super Heroes, Infinity Gems were part of the game, granting players temporary boosts based around Power, Time, Space, Reality, Soul, and Mind. While MvC: Infinite‘s Infinity Stones may work similarly to MSH‘s version, there are at least small differences between the two from what we know as of now—such as the older Gems and new Stones not matching up color-wise. (They do, however, match up to the current canonical color choices in the MCU.)
So far, Capcom has revealed four of the Stones: Power (purple), which boosts the strength of attacks; Time (green), which can increase the speed at which characters are able to move or unleash combos; Space (blue), which traps opponents in a force shield-like box, making it easier for players to then employ either offensive or defensive tactics; and Reality (red), which allows characters to fire a special projectile or unleash elemental attacks if powered up. For the final two Stones, a recent leak may have given us details on what role they’ll play in the game, with Soul passively stealing life from the other player in some uses, and Mind creating a copy of your character that will mimic their attacks.
Together with that rumor came details of another important potential element of the Infinity Stones: that each will have two different uses. The first, Infinity Surge, will trigger a lower-level, temporary, and singular use of a Stone’s ability, while Infinity Storm can be activated when your Infinity meter is completely full, unleashing an insanely powerful version of that equipped Stone’s function.
What are the basics of the game’s storyline? While we don’t yet have the full picture of what players will experience on the game’s narrative side, we do know some details about the groundwork the story has been built upon. Two fearsome foes—Ultron from the Marvel side, and Sigma from the Mega Man X series—are using the power of the Reality and Space Infinity Stones to merge their separate worlds into one, as well as personally combine into the new threat Ultron Sigma. (One location players will travel to is Xgard, a combination of Thor’s Asgard and Mega Man X’s Abel City.) Heroes from both sides must come together to try to stop the threat of Ultron Sigma before his plans can be fulfilled and the futures of the two worlds are sealed. Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite‘s story has been specifically crafted from the game, and in a recent interview with Capcom producer Mike Evans, it was noted that while MvC: Infinite isn’t seen specifically as a reboot, it is considered to be a “fresh start” for the franchise.
What we still want to know
Who’s the rest of the cast? Really, that’s the biggest question that exists at this point on the mind of every fan out there. On the Marvel side, we can at least assume that particular characters that are being pushed currently in comics and movies will have a strong chance of being candidates. The previous games tended to also include some more lesser-known choices as well, though, so will we see that trend return here? The bigger unknown may actually be on the Capcom side, as there’s a lot more freedom in what choices can be made—especially when it comes to the unexpected and downright bizarre possibilities. We can all assume at least a few of the familiar faces will be showing up, but how far and wide might Capcom dip into their vast legacy of characters beyond those two? Will they go for choices that help promote their current slate of games, or will they do some serious digging into their archives?
What is the game going to look like? While the visuals shown for the game’s reveal certainly aren’t bad, they definitely are somewhat plain compared to the more comic book-style graphics that were implemented for Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Of course, the visuals for a game are often one of the latter things to be polished up before release, and Capcom’s most recently fighting game, Street Fighter V, went through obvious changes between when it was first shown off and when the final game hit. So, is the graphical style that we’ve seen so far how the game is going to look? Or could there potentially been some cool visual gimmick that’s not to be revealed until a later date?