All fans can do now is wait to see what happens and continue to show support with #FreeMVC2.
The fighting game community has a mission: free “Marvel vs Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes.”
“Marvel vs Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes,” nicknamed “Marvel 2” or “MVC2” by fans, is a crossover fighting game released in 2000 featuring characters from Marvel Comics and Capcom games. Picture Ryu from the Street Fighter series facing off against Wolverine from the X-Men series.
Yes, it’s just as cool as it sounds.
“Marvel 2” has stood the test of time due to its pop culture relevance, from the iconic Iron-Man infinite tutorial video to ESPN making a roster image of the 2020 NBA finals inspired by the “Marvel 2” character select screen.
Even actor Michael B. Jordan voiced his support for the game by posting, “We gotta figure out how to bring back Marvel vs Capcom 2” on Instagram.
Simply put, people love “Marvel 2.” The only problem, as Jordan alluded to, is that you can’t buy it. The last time “Marvel 2” was available on consoles was a digital re-release on Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade in 2009, followed by an iOS release in 2012.
In 2013, Capcom lost the licensing rights for “Marvel 2” and announced its removal from digital marketplaces. This fate is unfortunately common for beloved licensed games, such as PlatinumGames’ “Transformers Devastation” after losing Hasbro’s licensing rights, but licensed games deserve preservation like any other. There is hope for removed licensed games in the form of re-releases, like how Ubisoft re-released “Scott Pilgrim vs The World” with creator Bryan O’Malley.
It’s ultimately the decision of the intellectual property’s owner if a licensed game should be re-released, and there are a number of reasons why IP owners decline re-releases, including other licensees for the same property. Although Marvel owns the comic rights to all their characters, fans speculate that “Marvel 2” hasn’t been re-released because Marvel’s parent company, Disney, focuses more attention on characters they have the film rights to.
Later installments in the Marvel vs Capcom series, including 2017’s “Marvel vs Capcom Infinite,” received criticism for lacking fan-favorite characters from the X-Men and Fantastic Four series. When “Infinite” was released, Fox owned the film rights to both franchises. Since “Marvel 2” includes characters like Colossus and Doctor Doom, the rights dispute between Disney and Fox may have discouraged a re-release before Disney purchased Fox and their film franchises.
Since Capcom is unable to re-release it, the restraints on attaining a copy of “Marvel 2” are ridiculous. The only ways new players can access “Marvel 2” are emulation or purchasing a physical copy secondhand for either the Playstation 2, Dreamcast or the original Xbox. The latter method costs upwards of $300.
Thankfully, things are looking up for “Marvel 2.” Digital Eclipse, a game development company that specializes in re-releasing vintage games, announced on Twitter that the company is ready to work on a new game. Studio head Mike Mika stated that Digital Eclipse was open to suggestions for their next project.
“With Digital Eclipse in a funded situation, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what games we should go after,” Mika said. “Our mission is to re-release, re-master and re-imagine. This means not only documentaries, museums, game improvements but also sequels and more. We’re funded! Let’s go!”
Maximilian Dood, a fighting-game-focused YouTube and Twitch personality, proposed on social media that Digital Eclipse should work on a “Marvel 2” remaster. He encouraged fans to rally behind a simple hashtag and show their support.
“I would like to start a Twitter hashtag, which is #FreeMVC2, free ‘MVC2’ from its imprisonment that it’s been stuck in for the past seven years,” Dood said, “to get as many people to remind Digital Eclipse, Marvel and Capcom how important ‘Marvel Vs Capcom 2’ actually is to you and give them a reason to bring it back.”
#FreeMVC2 now has over 1 million interactions from fans, including fanart, gameplay footage and general kind words about the game and why they want it back. The community support was so overwhelming that Mika himself had to comment.
“I love the outpouring. We’d swap in GGPO and do documentary and museum work, etc,” Mika wrote in a comment. “We’ll need to talk to Disney and Capcom to make it real. We’re game if they are.”
In a recent Shack News interview, Mika revealed that Digital Eclipse, Disney and Capcom are discussing a “Marvel 2” remaster. This is a major step forward, but the return of “Marvel 2” isn’t guaranteed.
“Ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s really not up to [Digital Eclipse],” Mika said during the interview. “So all we can really do is just make the best case possible and try to make it easy for [Disney and Capcom], and see if they’re interested.”
The fate of “Marvel vs Capcom 2” is unclear, but one thing is certain: the fans’ love for the game made this amount of progress possible, which only a few game communities can say they’ve accomplished. All fans can do now is wait to see what happens and continue to show support with #FreeMVC2.