OPINION: How To Improve Fighting Games

The Marvel vs Capcom series began as a testament to fighting games and comic books, a celebration of what made them both great and fused them to make something truly unique. From X-Men vs Street Fighter to Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, these games remain the most popular and best-selling games of all time. However, although I love copyright as much as the next guy, the lack of X-Men are the last thing that has halted the sales of Marvel vs Capcom Infinite. Superhero fighting games are missing what makes them strong for several simple reasons.

It all comes down to what makes the game come together, so what makes a fighting game fun? Interesting characters, graphics, style, music and a captivating story. By this logic, both the MvC and Injustice series are falling behind. Don’t get me wrong, the sales of both franchises are good, but looking at other fighting game properties, we can clearly see what needs to be improved upon.

When it comes to characters, Injustice has done it right while Marvel has fallen short. True, the X-Men are not their property, but both the Capcom and Marvel sides are filled to the brim with repeated characters. I understand that Ryu and Captain America are just as necessary as Superman and Batman, yet when side-characters are all repeats with the same moves, maybe those characters aren’t going to blow the audience away. You don’t buy a fighting game to play the same game as before, you need new, relevant characters that the community loves. Supergirl and Robin are new and interesting; Haggar and Ghostrider are not.

Graphics have been improved upon in Injustice, while MvCI has so little style I believe a teenager could’ve done a better job. The opening credits of UMvC3 has more style than the entire story mode of Infinite, and this is where both franchises fall short, the style and story.

If companies want to thrive in a fighting game environment, they need to keep it interesting. This involves refraining from replacing music with orchestra. Every time I start up Injustice I begin to teeter off. I don’t care if the movies use orchestra, they have an excuse; movies need their music to follow on-screen suspense. Music in fighting games should make me want to fight. Rock? Go for it. Dubstep? Keep it up, Skrillex. Orchestra? Don’t even think about it.

When focusing on a game about superheroes beating the crap out of one another, the story should be about the characters first and foremost. The story should then focus on these characters beating the paste out of one another. This should not be done in a movie format. You do not play a fighting game to watch cutscenes. Don’t have characters fight generic NPCs like Ultron copies, have them fight other playable characters. Don’t focus on a lackluster story, give each character their own ending, like in UMvC and the original Mortal Kombat games, and then make an awesome final boss.

Injustice and Marvel vs Capcom are making it harder than it needs to be. Have cool tunes, new characters, and focus on beating these characters up until they get an ending. Fighting games can be a gold mine for comic companies, they simply need to make their games focus on fights.

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