At the Penny Arcade Expo 2011 in Seattle, Newsarama cornered Capcom’s Community Manager, the tastefully named Seth Killian, where he could not tag out and got him to answer a few questions about the expanded superhero roster and some other changes coming in the upcoming Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.Newsarama: With the expansion of the fighting roster in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, can you tell us what went into the selection of the six new Marvel Comics characters (Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider, Iron Fist, Hawkeye, Rocket Raccoon and Nova)?
Seth Killian: Marvel-side characters were mostly determined by Marvel, but its all a collaborative process between Marvel and Capcom. What [Marvel] did was throw over a list of characters that they are interested in seeing in there, often times they are characters that are making moves whether in the comic books or in the movies. Characters that are known favorites or ones that they would like to have a higher profile, or they want to help raise their profile. So where the collaboration on the Capcom on the [new] Marvel side comes in, we’ll throw it back and say ‘well, this character is not going to work gameplay-wise’ or ‘this character has a great story but we don’t think he’s going to add enough in terms of game mechanics’ or something like that, to really keep the characters fresh and new. We reach our consensus that way. Then of course we are tasked with coming up with, well in some cases there are character like Iron Fist who has an established set of fighting moves, while Doctor Strange doesn’t, he has powers. So it’s a matter of trying to think through what kind of fighting game move would this power translate into, or could it translate into, and making sure we get the details right too, it’s a long process, but a fun one.
Nrama: In your consults with Marvel, who did you work with? PR folks or editors and writers?Killian: We worked with Frank Tieri (World War Hulk: Gamma Corps), who helped with writing the game. We also worked closely with the Marvel licensing staff who look closely at the games coming in from the licensers and see what kind of possibilities they could add. We’ve done a lot of things with alternate costumes, to make sure the characters look and feel like Marvel characters, from the moves to the win poses, ephemera that goes the extra mile for Marvel fans who are looking very closely.
Nrama: With the range of new characters on both sides, how hard was it to find a new balance?
Killian: We had to throw a few things to the wind with overall power. We’ve got characters like Dormammu and Hulk, who would be pretty tough to contend with. Chun-Li is excellent at Kung-Fu, but can she really take out the Hulk? We had to suspend a certain kind of belief there for a while. It’s really about getting fun moves that [fit] the character. Hulk is not a prancing little elf, he hits hard, all of his moves are very Hulk-like, so you feel like the Hulk, even though we normalize damage to make it a competitive game.
Nrama: Even though Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is not technically a sequel, has the story changed?Killian: There will be additional story elements and more new in-game features that we will be talking about as we move forward with the game. But really we think of it as more of the same great thing. You’ve got twelve new characters, new stages and for a fighting game that’s really the meat and potatoes. We’ve also got a new Spectator Mode for people to play online. Friends can go into a lobby and watch each other play, talk a little trash and get some hints on what your next opponent’s play style might be. For any one who loved [the original] it’s going to be even better, and for anyone who missed it before, it’s coming in at the $39.99 price point, so you’ll be getting more content for less then the original.
Nrama: On the subject of new features, was user feedback on the previous game used, and how?
Killian: We tracked a lot of tournaments and some really competitive players, as well as looking at what new players were confused by that we could make a little more obvious. So we went back and changed some of the [user interface] elements. X-Factor was a big gameplay component but it wasn’t very obvious with the old UI exactly if you still had X-Factor, you could see it of course, but you had to know what you were looking for, so we redesigned some of the [heads up display] elements. As far as the competitive and tournament side goes, we track everything that’s happening around the world and that’s really useful data, what’s good and what’s bad. So we’re going back to revisit all of the existing characters some in some cases little properties have changed a little bit and in other cases they get all brand new moves.Nrama: Of the new characters, which is your favorite and which do you think is going to be a breakout hit among fans?
Killian: Right now I’ve been playing a lot of Ghost Rider and Doctor Strange, but Rocket Raccoon is a character that leaked out on us and we’ve owned up to it, and he’s a lot of fun for me as well. He’s a very tricky character with a lot of unique moves. Also I’m really looking forward to Phoenix Wright, because he’s the kind of character you would not expect to see in a fighting game, but he’s here. Those guys are going to be a lot of fun. [Note: the announced new Capcom side characters also include Firebrand (Ghosts 'n Goblins), Frank West (Dead Rising), Nemesis (Resident Evil 3), and Vergil (Devil May Cry 3)]
Nrama: Has a release date been set?
Killian: November for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.