Capcom


After a decade of demand, indeed!  Capcom announced today that Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is in fact in development for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.  No release date was provided but the trailer (below) offers a few tidbits of information.  The art style from the new Street Fighter IV series appears to be the palette from which Capcom will develop this title.  This makes sense given the architecture and code for SFIV is already in place and this should help the developer cut down on development time and costs.  Capcom has suggested this title will boast an amazing number of fighters, so all the better that they’re working off of existing code.

This also means the game will not follow the HD 2-D renditions that SNK Playmore has taken with the King of Fighters series.  Based on how long these hand-drawn games seem to take (recall the HD version for SF2?), and given games like BlazBlue have pretty much trumped whatever Capcom could do here, the move to 3-D for the next generation of Marvel vs. Capcom seems the appropriate direction to take.

No doubt this game should do very well upon release.  Hopefully, Capcom won’t take that opportunity to milk the gamers (just imagine all the downloadable un-locking the company could tag on) or offer a slightly downgraded version to later release Super Duper Rejuvenated Marvel vs. Capcom 3: The Definitive Edition, followed by the Actual Super Duper Revival Marvel vs. Capcom 3: The Real One We Should Sold You in the First Place Edition.

Then again, this is Capcom we’re talking about so expect at least one more release after this one; odds are MvC3 will hit later this year or early next year.  I had vowed not to buy a PS3 or 360 (I rarely game much nowadays), but seeing this announcement and as a long-time lover of fighting games (low time commitment titles are my staple — and well, fighting games are about as low-commitment as you can get), I don’t see I can restrain myself from wanting this game 🙂

Of course, I’m already pining a Wii purchase, if only for Tatsunoko vs. Capcom.

Advertisements

It has been hit-or-miss with videogame movies. Despite the reviews, ‘Dead or Alive‘ did have a few classy action sequences and the Mortal Kombat films – while perhaps home to some of the most painfully spoken dialogue in Hollywood history – still stays true to the game series. Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li (why can’t I stop laughing every time I read that title), does have some respectable players behind it. Michael Clarke Duncan plays Balrog and Chris Klein plays Nash (Presume Guile’s friend, Charlie). Then there’s the issue of Kristen Kreuk; the Smallville lady is filling in for the role of thigh-master Chun-Li. There are a lot of opinions about whether she has the physique to play the role – she’s arguably small and it may look unbelievable when she stands to fight, say, Michael Clarke Duncan. Than again, I sincerely doubt anyone who pays to this will care about whether any of it resembles reality.

Capcom released an early shot of Ms. Kreuk and, well, it doesn’t really answer any of the concerns flaring through messageboards and blog communities. It seems most SF diehards want to see her below the waist, and not (necessarily) for perverted reasons, but to see whether she can legitimately sell the lightning and spinning fly kicks Chun-Li is famous for. I’m guessing she will; but then again, I don’t have any plans to watch this film.

Street Fighter fan that I am, I’m somewhat disappointed by what Capcom is doing to the franchise. SF4 has me less than excited. While it’s great to see the series back, the art direction seems to be quite off. All the characters appear to be either on steroids or grossly disproportional. I understand the original Alpha/Zero and 2-series weren’t exactly playing off realism, but SF4 seems to take the proportions to the realm of Gears of War. If that was a move to appease the Western market, then Capcom might have sold-out its fanbase for the sake of mass-appeal (and of course, there’s nothing wrong with that – SF4 is a commercial product, after all). I would have preferred to see SF4 keep the Alpha art direction and move towards a Soul Calibur, 3-D plane. Instead, I feel all SF4 accomplishes is SF2 in a mock-3-D environment. It’s like Viewtiful Joe on steroids — but only in a much more restricted scenery. It’s a 99% graphical overhaul and a 1% gameplay change. I guess as a numbered sequel, I wanted more. Arguably, 3rd Strike was far more revolutionary – the characters might not have all been as memorable, but compared to SF4’s roster (which is essentially SF2’s), it’s at least something “new”.

For SF enthusiasts, I’d recommend checking out Street Fighter Eternal Challenge, a collection of artwork and character information. Nowhere has more SF data been collected. The book is out of print so it’s been selling on eBay and Amazon for astronomical prices ($150-200), but you might be able to find it for less. There are rumors Udon will reprint it for the 20th Anniversary, but it’s looking less likely given Udon is publishing a different SF book entirely. This one looks cool, but it’s not the historic analysis/look that Eternal Challenge is.

karima_adebibe_016.jpg

So the ESRB “slip” about an XBOX 360 title turns out to be true. Eidos UK officially announced that Tomb Raider Anniversary — already released on the PlayStation 2 and PC — will have an episodic release through the XBOX Live Marketplace before its retail release later in the year. For the 360, will mark the first time a retail game is sold via its online store. The game will be made available through four separate downloads, the first two are expected to be released in September with the latter two reaching gamers shortly thereafter. Minus the manor section (which will be available for free), the entire game will cost 2400 MS points, or roughly $30 which matches the MSRP of the current console releases. It’s possible (and probably likely) the retail version will be priced higher — though I don’t suspect by much.  The only bad part about this should-be historic gesture is that Eidos is only allowing those who have TR Legend to download Anniversary — does this make sense to anyone?   Why Eidos is doing this makes little sense, especially if you think about the fact that Anniversary is supposed to be a way to enter the world of Tomb Raider for those who may not yet be familiar with it.  Without a doubt, Eidos is  losing out on online sales by forcing consumers to buy Legend in order to access this option.

This news comes on the heel of Capcom’s announcement that it had signed an agreement with Valve’s online distribution system Stream. Capcom will bring Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, Onimusha 3, Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition and Supper Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (try saying that three times fast) to Stream — and future Capcom titles are also part of this deal. Capcom is the first Japanese developer to sign up with Valve and its move might be the first signal that we may be moving closer to the day when entire games will be purchased online. MS and Sony have repeatedly made mention of this idea — and that it is very likely in the next-gen that disc formats will be made defunct by broadband distribution. While I’d like to agree with them, I do think part of gaming is driven by material collection — it’s the same reason why many people (though not as many as before) still buy music CDs. CD sales in Europe and Japan for instance remain healthy — and that is because music publishers bring out CDs packed with exclusive content (music videos, interviews, not-for-online tracks). US publishers haven’t quite moved in that direction just yet but it’s one way to keep retail sales flowing. That might also explain why so many Japanese console games are released with limited editions and extra swag. We’re already starting to see such collectibility slip into US gaming culture with Halo 3 and multiple variations of Gears of War. As broadband penetration picks up, I’d suspect we’re going to get a lot more of these types of releases. The question is whether broadband will actually make up the majority of future game purchases. If the price difference is substantial then it just might — but something tells me it’s still unlikely — or at least a decade away.

BTW, for all of you staring at the photo, that’s Karima Adebibe — the model Eidos hired to represent Lara Croft for TR: Legend released last year. Eidos has always hired a new model to be Lara for each of its games dating all the way back to the decade old orginal Tomb Raider game (the one Anniversary is a remake of). Based on most gamers’ views, they think Karima is the closest to Lara there has ever been (well, perhaps excluding Angelina Jolie — though that’s debatable after the painfully awful “Cradle of Life”).