Interview: Marvel vs Capcom 3 producer Ryota Niitsuma

During E3, we bent the ear of Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds producer Ryota Niitsuma, who in turn gabbed about the new game and previous Vs titles, as well as the possibility of a new arcade stick partnership with Mad Catz. The full interview follows.

Joystiq: We've heard different stories about the origin of Marvel vs Capcom 3 -- both that development started as a result of strong sales of the HD re-release of Marvel vs Capcom 2 and that it was in development long before that. Which is it?

Ryota Niitsuma: Both games were being developed independently -- one didn't lead to the other, as it were. While we were getting the ball rolling on MvC3, the downloadable version of Marvel vs Capcom 2 was being repackaged and distributed. And then that was really successful, as you know, and because of that, it had kind of an impact on Marvel vs Capcom 3. We thought then that the game would be really big and people would be excited about it, so then we were more hopeful and expectant of what would happen with Marvel vs Capcom 3.
%Gallery-91173% Another thing that hasn't been made clear is the exact development team working on Marvel vs Capcom 3. Which Capcom group is behind the game?

The brunt of the work is being done in-house, by Capcom staff. We are working with various outsource companies on different parts of the game -- some programming things where we need outsiders. But the majority of the work is being done in-house at Capcom.

Why no Wii version?

We did have Tatsunoko vs Capcom, which did come out on Wii --

Right, which makes us wonder: Why no Wii version of Marvel vs Capcom 3?

Well, with that, we felt now it's time to do a Vs game on Xbox 360 and PS3. It was just a matter of deciding we wanted to work with those consoles. There's no mindset, personally, within Capcom where we want to go out of our way to avoid Wii or do it only on Wii this time. It's just the flow of development.

So does that mean it's possible MvC3 could come to Wii at some point? It's not entirely ruled out?

Well, we can't get into any specifics, but all I can is that the game we made right now, as it is, it's for Xbox 360 and PS3. We want to see how it does and maybe see where we'll take it from there.

So, Super Street Fighter IV, Street Fighter IV -- big hits. They've proven that 2D fighters can thrive in the market again. Does this mean we can safely hope for our dream sequel, Capcom vs SNK 3? Are there plans for other Capcom fighting games right now?

Well yeah, because of Street Fighter, we've had fighting games come back and now we have Marvel vs Capcom 3. We'll see how well this one does -- we haven't ruled anything out.

At Capcom, we always think about what we want to do next and how we want it, about what we can bring out next. And if this does well, we'll go back and think about what we want to do. And so there's always the potential.

What about Super Street Fighter IV's online tools? Are there any plans to implement its lobby system into Marvel vs Capcom 3 -- custom tournaments, team play, etc?

The whole online elements of the game are being worked on, even as we speak. Nothing has been finalized on that end, though I can say that Street Fighter (especially Super Street Fighter IV) offers a good model to work with.

One thing is different is that obviously the two games are very different in the way they play -- one thing we have in this game is the 3-on-3 battle. This makes it heavier in terms of data transfer, so we couldn't just transfer the Street Fighter model over to Marvel vs Capcom 3, brick for brick. But we are using it as a reference to decide how we want to finalize it in our game.

So, Disney has acquired Marvel -- what does that afford you? It seems Disney is open to licensing its characters for video games -- Kingdom Hearts is a good example. Could we see a "Capcom vs Disney" game?

First of all, let me establish the fact that Disney purchased Marvel, and it didn't have any impact on the development of this game. It just was what it was.

As far as working with Disney on something, the idea has potential, I think. Right now, all of our efforts are on making Marvel vs Capcom 3 and putting it out. We'll see how this does and then we can start talking about doing other things. The potential is there, but we just want to concentrate on this first.

The art direction in Marvel vs Capcom 3 is very different than in Marvel vs Capcom 2 -- it's more reminiscent of Tatsunoko vs Capcom. Did that game influence the art direction of MvC3?

I wouldn't say Tatsunoko had an influence on our design. The art design is heavily influenced by comic books themselves. We tried to make the comic book art come alive in the game.

If you look at the two games, there are similarities. I think one of the things is you have the 3D models on a 2D plane and so that similarity is there. With Tatsunoko vs Capcom, our goal was to bring the animation -- the anime of Tatsunoko Productions -- to the game and to make that work. This time we're trying to bring comic books to life in a game.

So trying to bring comic books and animation into a game, I could see why you'd say they look similar, but the art direction was completely thought up on a different basis.

Marvel vs Capcom 3
is powered by MT Framework -- it's the first Capcom fighting game built on this engine. How is that working out? What are the advantages of MT Framework?

First of all, I think MT Framework is a really great engine for development, we use it all of the time. For a fighting game, the biggest appeal of it is that you can develop for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 at the same time. So we're able to develop for both systems with just one line of production.

And we learned a lot from the development of Street Fighter IV -- where the goal was to increase the quality of the game, while decreasing the time it takes to make it. And MT Framework really allows us that luxury. [Editor's note: Neither Street Fighter IV nor Super Street Fighter IV are built on MT Framework -- Niitsuma is simply referring to Capcom's multiplatform development strategy in general.]

Capcom and Mad Catz have formed a solid relationship. According to its annual earnings report, Mad Catz enjoyed strong sales of the Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs Capcom 2 FightSticks. Any plans to release a new stick for Marvel vs Capcom 3 -- maybe some kind of bundle?

I'm not sure about the possibility of doing packages, bundles or anything like that, but, yeah, because this is a fighting game, a fighting stick is a necessity. Nothing is finalized on that front, but definitely, we'd like to do something in regards to that -- team up with them in some way.

Finally, we just have to ask: Will Strider be in MvC3 as a playable character? Can you confirm this?

Unfortunately, we haven't heard anything from the dev team regarding Strider. If he's in there, they haven't confirmed with me yet. I can't give you a final answer on that.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.