Nothing says fan service like a good franchise fistfight. Whether it's Tekken taking on Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat squaring off against DC Comics characters or the might of the Marvel universe matching up to Capcom's own characters, the modern day player just can't get enough of these seriously mixed up melees.
In Marvel Vs. Capcom, the licensed fighting title may well have produced its magnum opus, a team-based brawler brimming with color, character and outrageous Hyper Combos. First released in 1998, as the mutant offspring of the X-Men: Children of the Atom arcade game, the series went on to spawn a number of successful home releases, including a recent array of digital downloads.
Now, these latest ports appear to be in trouble, with Capcom announcing on Saturday that Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 and its content-heavy sequel Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 would soon be pulled from digital circulation. The cull, which extends to both XBLA and PlayStation Network services, will begin on December 17 for PSN users and December 26 for Xbox 360 owners.
To soften the (killing) blow Capcom will be offering associated DLC at half price while both titles remain on sale, making it not only the best time to buy in, but possibly the only time to do so - at least for the foreseeable future.
While no particular reason has yet been given for the move, there are a number of distinct possibilities as to why Capcom may have chosen to part with the titles. The first, and most probable is Disney's 2009 acquisition of the Marvel brand. Having already pursued many of the comic book company's wayward licenses in the past, the House of Mouse could easily be withholding continued licensing from Capcom as a means of reclaiming further intellectual rights.
Given the timing of the move, it's likely that the Japanese publisher's previous deal, i.e. the one that allowed them to create Marvel vs. Capcom 3, is set to come to a close at the tail end of 2013. Another, more cynical take on the situation - as put forward by a group of disgruntled fans - argues that by removing the games from sale, only to have them reappear on the newer 8th generation consoles, Capcom could force fans to re-purchase the titles once more at full price.
If the former situation turns out to be true, it could set an interesting precedent for digital-only game sales. Certain characters such as Jill Valentine are only available as DLC downloads, meaning that the character could become completely unavailable for those who pick up the disc version of Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3. While older boxed games can certainly become something of a rarity as time passes, very few titles ever become essentially extinct, something that could conceivably occur with regularity via digital formats such as DLC.
Does the Marvel vs Capcom franchise have a future, or will Disney do away with the series for good? Is de-listed DLC an occasional downside or an inevitable consequence of the digital-only market? Have your say in the comments below, and be sure to check in with all of the latest Marvel vs. Capcom news, right here on Game Rant.
Marvel Vs. Capcom 2/ Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 will be available to download from the PlayStation Network until December 17 (December 19 in Europe). Xbox owners have until December 26 to purchase the digital title.
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Source: Capcom Unity