"When's Mahvel 4?" This is the question that many "Marvel vs. Capcom" fans have been asking over the past few years, and it reached a fever pitch earlier this week when Disney announced that it would shutter its "Infinity" line of video games.
This recent chain of events was set in motion when Disney CEO Bob Iger stated that the company had deemed it too risky to continue with the game due to the risks of trying to keep the Infinity line relevant in an ever-changing market.
"That business is a changing business, and we did not have enough confidence in the business in terms of it being stable enough to stay in it," Iger said at the time.
Iger then dropped this bombshell: instead of developing games from the ground up on their own, Disney will limit risks by licensing characters to other companies that seek to use them in their own media.
The new business venture meant the end for "Disney Infinity," but it was huge for "Marvel vs. Capcom" fans because, as you know, Marvel Comics is now owned by Disney. This means that various Marvel characters that have appeared in the game (or people may want in the game) are in the hands of Disney now, and that opens up the possibility of a new "Marvel vs. Capcom" title.
Well aware of this fact, the /r/MvC3 community on Reddit wasted no time in taking advantage of the situation. They have put together a petition asking Disney, Capcom, Marvel Comics, Sony and Microsoft for MvC4.
The petition has been hugely successful and, as of writing this, only needs 267 more signatures to reach its goal of 5,000. The goal of the petition is to make companies potentially involved in the process aware of just how much the fans want a new title in the series.
It should be noted, however, that even if the peition goes through and the relevant companies take notice, there would still be a long list of problems standing in "MvC4's" way, most important among them being the roster. Long viewed as an activity reserved for geeks or nerds, comic books have essentially become mainstream thanks to the various superhero movies that have been released over the years.
This, however, has led to a major issue that can easily stop "Marvel vs. Capcom 4" in its tracks: licensing.
Ever since the first crossover game between the two franchises, "X-Men vs. Street FIghter," arrived on arcades in 1996, the games have always been about pitting their most iconic characters against one another in 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 battle. Each game's roster is a clear reflection of who is the most relevant within the company at any given time. For example, "Resident Evil 2's" Jill Valentine was the only RE character in MvC2 but was joined by Chris Redfield, Albert Wesker and Nemesis in MvC3. In a similar vein, Rocket Racoon appeared in MvC3 thanks to the upcoming "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie.
While Disney does have the rights to many of the characters, it doesn't have the rights to all of them. It's somewhat convoluted, but 20th Century Fox owns the rights (in some form) of the X-Men, The Fantastic Four and Deadpool. All three of these series have characters who appeared in the MvC series at some point or another and can certainly do so again, but Disney will need to work hard to get each character included in a future installment.
This dilemma also ties into the contracts, which affects the game's longevity. "Marvel vs. Capcom 3" came out in 2011, and Capcom released an updated version within the same year, titled "Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3." In comparison, Capcom released "Street Fighter IV" in 2008 and consistently released updates for the game up through 2014.
That short life-cycle was due to the contract between Capcom and Marvel expiring and not being renewed. In fact, many steps that Capcom took needed an okay from Marvel, which explains why Dormammu made it in "Marvel vs. Capcom 3" before Doctor Strange and why Venom wasn't included at all. Without an approval from Marvel, Capcom couldn't make any additions to the game, resulting in an unfortunate lack of content and updates.
With all that work required to make a new game, Disney and the other powers that be might simply not bother with a new one, something that the folks at the r/MvC3/ community are well aware of: "While there is still a small chance we will see an update or new addition to the Marvel vs Capcom series, we can still hope and show the MVC community is ready for it..."