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Ono: We've placed a lot of emphasis on capturing the hearts of two main user groups with Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite

Executive Producer on how Capcom aimed to appeal to two distinct demographics with their latest MvC installment

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • December 31, 2017 at 12:37 p.m. PST • Comments: 85

There's a special appeal baked right into the Marvel vs. Capcom fighting game franchise: it automatically garners attention of fans of two huge properties, each with a wealth of charismatic characters.

Capcom published an interview with their own Yoshinori Ono, Executive Producer for all fighting game titles, wherein he spoke about the two major demographics the company is aiming to appeal to with this latest entry in the MvC franchise.

"We think there are two main segments within the Marvel vs. Capcom fan base. One segment is that of Capcom fans; this includes everyone from core players to pro gamers, all who have lent their support to Street Fighter, past fighting game booms and to the thriving eSports movement of today," he explains.

"The other segment is that of Marvel fans; here we have a very broad target segment that goes beyond age or gender: men and women, young and old, people who might enjoy watching the films on a date night; many of them connect to Marvel's highly relatable characters and engaging tales of good versus evil."

Indeed it felt as though Infinite would be a success the moment it was announced back in December of 2016. With the Marvel Cinematic Universe dominating mainstream film for the better part of the last decade, you'd be hard pressed to find any individuals between the ages of five and 95 that didn't know who Thor, Iron Man or Spider-Man are as they exist in recent films.

The reach of Capcom surely isn't as widespread in the general public, but within the gaming community (and even more specifically, the fighting game community) images of figures like Chun-Li, Ryu and Mega Man permeate just about every avenue.

Ono gives us an idea of Capcom's thought process when approaching these two distinct fan bases with regards to what a fighting game like MvCI has to offer:

"...we've placed a lot of emphasis on capturing the hearts of each of these two user groups with this title. On the one hand, we've got the gameplay, which we want to satisfy our core users. We want them to come away thinking, 'I love Capcom fighting games!' On the other hand, we've got the story, which we want Marvel fans to connect with. We'd like them come away thinking, 'that was a challenge, but really entertaining.' It's game design that allows you to really feel good about fighting games."

The politics of eSports are heavily at play as well. There's no denying the recent shift in competitive gaming as it has begun transitioning into the realm of spectator sports.

Trying to break the mold that has encapsulated a traditionally niche crowd, Capcom has clearly attempted to lower the barrier of entry in the current generation of fighting titles in an attempt to make it more appealing to audiences and new players alike.

"Of course, in order to get people to understand why fighting games are interesting, we need to help them better understand how to play. This time around, we've taken what normally tends to be a highly complex control system and overhauled it so that the time spent getting used to the play controls isn't a chore," continue Ono.

Marvel Infinite has a few major pillars that hold up its appeal to customers: charismatic characters, competitive gameplay and non-competitive gameplay (story). The fusion of two major IP's lends itself to a plethora of potential storylines, and with NetherRealm Studios titles like the recent Mortal Kombats and Injustices carrying the torch in terms of story modes, the bar has been raised to new heights for the genre.

Ono notes that MvCI has taken a similar path to the aforementioned NetherRealm Studios titles in story presentation, "At the same time, we've put together a story mode that plays out like a movie, linking the paths of each of the different characters. Newcomers can enjoy the story while getting a chance to learn the fun and mechanics of fighting games."

We've had Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite for a good three and a half months now, and so now we can look on it with some retrospect to see if it has reached the breadth of audience Ono and Capcom were aiming for. Sales for the game have been okay, but feel a bit underwhelming considering the encouraging potential we just discussed.

The future for Infinite feels hazy right now. Initial reception and fervor in the FGC seems more lukewarm than expected, but the game really hasn't had a chance to fly yet as it's still in infancy and hasn't had a tournament circuit deemed all that legitimate by traditional competitive standards.

2018 should bring with it much more clarification as we observe tournament attendance, continued sales reports, and future game updates. What do you think about MvCI's initial splash as well as its potential over the next year? Chime in with your thoughts in the comments and let us know.

You can read the full Capcom interview right here.

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