Marvel vs. Capcom 3 E3 2010 Interview

By Brian Leahy, Jun 24, 2010 10:10am PDT Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was playable at E3 2010 (you can read my preview here) and after getting a few session in against Capcom special advisor Seth Killian, I was able to convince him to do a quick interview.

Below, you'll find our conversation, in which we talk about the hype, lessons from Marvel vs. Capcom 2, gameplay systems, and the brand-new X-Factor ability.

Shack: Does Marvel vs. Capcom 3 live up to the hype?

Seth Killian: I don't know what the hype expectations were, but it's hard to come back after 10 years. Judging by the line outside, the smiles on the faces, and the awards we've been nominated for, it looks like it's living up to the hype.

Shack: Of the playable characters we've seen so far, there's no filler. Each character is powerful. Is that the goal of the team?

Seth Killian: That was one of the explicit goals. One of the things we got brow-beat on with Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was the Capcom characters weren't considered as strong as the Marvel guys. That's understandable, you've got the Hulk and Storm - who is technically a goddess - versus Ryu, who's just pretty good at karate.

But seriously, we've made a conscious effort to power up the Capcom guys, but in ways that are true to their character. That's the challenge and the team takes that very seriously. Dante is a great example. He's got all of his special moves from Devil May Cry 3, but they are in a fighting game and they totally work. If you're a fan of Dante, you can use his gauntlets, both of his guns, and all of his sword tricks with fire and ice. They are all there.

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Shack: What gameplay systems from MvC2 make a return?

Seth Killian: Basically, all the systems from MvC2 are back. Even stuff for the hardcore guys like wave-dashing and triangle jumps - all that stuff is still there. We've got some new mechanics that are slightly more core like the Air Combo button, but there is a problem with the messaging [that could be annoying the hardcore fans].

There are still four attack buttons, one just has a fancy new name. In the air, if you just hit the Air Combo button, it just works like a hard attack. If you pair it with up, towards, or down, you'll tag in a teammate or slam the opponent in that direction.

If the opponent guesses correctly they can counter out of it, but there are some mind games there. One of the things that sucked about Marvel 2 is that if you got blown out of the water quick and were down to your last man, you had almost no chance to come back. We have a new 'X-Factor' ability when you're down to your last guy - if you hit both assist buttons, you'll go into a power-up mode, which will cancel out of whatever you're doing instantly, even in the middle of a hyper combo. You also get a pretty significant damage boost. It's on a timer so you don't have all the time in the world, but if you find an opportunity with that one guy, you have a chance to take out one of their characters.

Shack: Is X-Factor a one-time use ability?

Seth Killian: It is one-time use, yes. There won't be any strategies where you're intentionally going down to one character to get some big boost, but it does help level the playing field for one character. Of course, if you knock your opponent down to one character, they still have that ability as well.

Shack: Is there any downside to using this?

Seth Killian: No, not really. It's just finding a good time to use it. You want to take advantage of it and there's no downside.

Shack: Does it require any meter to use?

Seth Killian: No. Once active, a timer ticks down on your life bar. It's like Makoto's power-up [Super Street Fighter IV], but it doesn't use any hyper meter.

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Shack: With assists right now, I had a lot of trouble getting my support characters to jump in. How does it work and is this final?

Seth Killian: So you can hit the assist button in any neutral state, but right now to tag in a character it's back plus the assist button. Right now it's harder to call assists in a defensive posture, but that's probably going to change.

Shack: What about level 3 hyper combos? None have been shown yet, but they will be in the game?

Seth Killian: Yes, some of those are already finished. Some news got out about one of them, Deadpool's - he grabs the life bar and beats the opponent with it, sort of the ultimate fourth-wall breaking move. Those will be in the game, but they are far from finished and we didn't want to show them for just a few characters.

Development schedules being what they are, characters aren't always finished at the same time. Deadpool is probably the most finished character in the game. Dante is getting there.

Shack: Is the engine work all done? Is the team just working on character creation and balancing at this point?

Seth Killian: Exactly, so most of the core systems are fixed, but even things like the controls may change going forward.

Shack: What's the highest combo that you've been able to hit so far?

Seth Killian: (laughs) Well, I won't talk about the infinites that I might have found. We're very early in balancing. I haven't seen anyone else pull off anything too brutal, maybe somewhere in the upper 80's and a lot of those are hyper combo into hyper combo into hyper combo. Nothing too breathtaking so far, but there are a lot of combo possibilities.

Shack: Iron Man came back from MvC2 and he plays a lot differently. He's much faster and his Proton Cannon hyper can be angled up. Are changes like this being made across the board?

Seth Killian: Yes, for instance, with Ryu - his Hurricane Kick, depending on which button you use have a different distance and angle. The light hurrican kick will angle down so you can cross people up and it's mostly safe in the air. Iron Man's triangle jumps are unbelievably ridiculous right now. They are faster, I believe, than anything ever was in Marvel vs. Capcom 2. The overall pace of the game is up and down, but hopefully people will find a good set of characters that fit their play style.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds is due out in spring 2011 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

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