Marvel vs. Capcom 3 launched back in 2011. Let that sink in for a second. So the incredibly popular fighter was prominant in the video game world before the Marvel Cinematic Universe ever took off. And that’s important to realize when looking at Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite. Looking through that prism will allow us to get a better understanding of the mindset that went into making the next iteration in a historic franchise. To get a good feel I had the great pleasure of sitting down at this year’s E3 with part of the Marvel/Capcom team, including: Creative Director of Marvel Entertainment Bill Rosemann, Director of Production at Capcom Mike Evans, and Peter Rosas (a.k.a. The Combo Fiend).

Both Marvel and Capcom are very cognizant of the cinematic universe’s popularity right now, but aren’t allowing the pressure of that success to force them into making compromises for the sake of making the movie fans happy. Instead, the team realizes that because the films have done so well there will be a slew of newcomers checking the game out because of the Marvel popularity in pop culture. To address that, there are settings that allow for easy combos by simply hitting the same button four times. It won’t win any fights, but it lowers the barrier of entry.

This mindset also brought about one of the biggest changes that’s being made to the franchise: going 2 vs. 2 instead of the usual 3-on-3 battles. By taking this route, it makes it easier to follow along, and isn’t as convoluted. Another reason for this change is the fact that the third character in in each team was usually being used for a function. The team felt that removing the character and replacing it with an Infinity Stone (you choose a stone that grants you some crazy power each time you fight) which serves the function equally as well if not better than a third fighter. The final reason for this shift also seems to be about utilizing the instant switches between characters while fighting. A simple click of a button allows you to change between your fighters with very little to no restriction, which becomes harder to manage with a third character.

As for the art-style and character designs, both Marvel and Capcom wanted to make this their own thing–independent of other mediums. The fine line being making characters that are recognizable with a twist that makes them unique to this video game. “Take a look at some of the characters from the trailer: Thanos and Gamora. The Thanos is a completely original design, while Gamora is more like her character in the comic book with the space armor, and she’s basically a space ninja,” explained Mike Evans.

It’s such a strange place to be simply because some of these characters now have films and their popularity is skyrocketing. So you don’t want fans to feel like you’re simply pandering to those newer fans, while still trying to take advantage of some cool opportunities like sticking Rocket Raccoon with Dante from Devil May Cry. On the Capcom side, the team definitely looks at interesting characters that are up and coming (at least on the Marvel side with the likes of Captain Marvel), and characters that make sense in this world. With a focus on adding a single-player campaign that will take about four hours to complete depending on your skill means that brawlers need to fit right into the narrative. And the developers looked at all the mediums to create the designs, which is great for fans of these franchises.

As for the competitive scene, it’s also interesting that the game wasn’t necessarily built from the ground-up to be an eSport, but the potential is there. The game still has that depth and following that could propel it to some interesting heights–if the quality is there, of course. I’m sure the business folks over there would love it to have that staying power, but I’ll take their word for it that their focus was on pushing out a game that speaks for itself. And honestly, while I was skeptical at first, the gameplay was still a total blast, despite all the changes made to the formula we’re used to.

This game is going to have an interesting launch, and a tough one because excellent fighting games like Injustice 2 and Tekken 7 are already in consumers’ hands. How this one will be received by the general consumer is going to be something to be on the lookout for. I’m hopeful that the final product will live up to the high-quality we’re used to with the franchise. Swing your thoughts into the comment section below.

Image: Marvel, Capcom