Frank West and Rocket Raccoon revealed for Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 – are other developers losing their creativity?

Capcom recently unveiled their final two characters for the upcoming Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, both very creative and extremely different to anything seen in a fighting game before. But now it the later years of gaming, are other developers running out of ideas?

Generic Shooter

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is Capcom’s second iteration of over-the-top fighting game Marvel vs Capcom 3, featuring twelve brand new characters, new stages, and new modes. This week, the final two new characters in the game – Rocket Raccoon and Frank West – were given their reveal trailers; they didn’t disappoint. Capcom certainly saved the best till last, and – in my opinion – these are two of the most unique and creative characters ever to have appeared in a fighting game. Uniqueness is not so common any more, the ‘Golden Age’ of gaming seems to be coming to a close, and developers, their new games, and their new characters all seem to be lacking in creativity. Are we running out of ideas, or are we still waiting on a new generation of consoles and engines?

November is a seriously big month for gaming releases, but are any of the releases truly original? With the exception of Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, I say no.

Although I may be criticisizing the creativity of these game’s devlopers, that doesn’t mean that these games are bad by any means. I know that I will be buying all of the mentioned games, and likely enjoy them all; but they are all very similar to other games in the same genre, despite possibly being the best of the selection.

Sonic Generations

Sonic Generations, a generic platforming game; a generic Sonic game. Gameplay wise, it is clearly superior to recent platformers with a mix of 2D and 3D sections developed to a very high standard, as well as new features and styles that make it stand out from many other titles. But it is: the same blue hedgehog dashing around, the same ‘Green Hill Zone’ remasterd for the unteenth time, the same furry companions, the same enemies, the same everything. Although, I know I’ll love it.

Modern Warfare 3 – one of my most anticipated titles of this year – another generic military shooter, and essentially a rehashed version of Modern Warfare 2. Again, gamplay and features wise, it’s definitely improved on it’s predecessor and with its revamping of the killstreak system the franchise introduced, a game to dominate the FPS genre. At heart, is it any different from the countless other military shooters out there though? Not at all. Many ‘true’ gamers aren’t ‘supposed’ to like Call of Duty, but I can’t help myself… you could say it’s my guilty pleasure. It’s hard to deny that Call of Duty is the best FPS on the market, its multiplayer gameplay is unmatched and the constant repeats of this genre only make it stronger. Instead of technically ‘copying’ this defining series, developers should atleast create something new and innovative, rather than trying to compete when destined to fail.

Saints Row 3 – a completely generic, lifeless, pointless free-roam game cluttered with meaningless, continually boring, and bland mini quests. AKA: a typical free roam game. (See: ‘How Arkham City does open-world ‘right”) Sure, it has a heavy focus on humour, allowing players to brutally murder anything that moves with giant purple dildo swords. A story of gang culture, defending territory, gaining territory and killing gang leaders; just more of the same.

Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – a medieval open-world RPG adventure with mages, dragons, swords and shields, essentially the same as Oblivion, Morrowind, the rest of the series, as well as any other medieval RPG. Wander the open planes gathering quests, slaying demons, casting spells, looting corpses and raiding dungeons; familiar? Of course it is. Sure, it’s the most high tech, epic game likely to release this year, but it’s nothing that we’ve not seen before.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations – It’s Assassin’s Creed… again. The same dull characters with a couple of new faces sporting the same ‘sleek assassin’ look. It’s almost identical to its predecessors, bar the fact that it’s in a different location. Gameplay wise, a few new weapons and costumes have been added, but the building climbing, back stabbing, lacklustre blade fighting all remains the same. It’s not really an advancement in the series, just basically a relocating of it. Save yourself some money and buy Assassin’s Creed 2. (Which is still pretty terrible.)

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 however seems to be the only title that remains unique and damn amazing. (Sure, you might say that it’s a money-grabbing attempt at a game from Capcom, but see my other article on why you’re completely wrong.) Building on its first release’s already expansive roster, UMvC3 adds twelve brand new characters, each extremely special and inventive. The latest fighters to be officially revealed are Dead Rising’s photographic journalist Frank West (-insert ‘covered wars’ joke-) and the crazy British intergalactic furball – Rocket Raccoon. Trailers: FrankRocket

Frank West and Rocket Raccoon

Fighting games aren’t really known for being too different from each other, okay, character’s will differentiate and they’ll have a few different special moves, but they all mostly consist of stereotypical half-naked punchy guy. Not only does UMvC3 break that tradition by adding all manner of beings, it also makes each character vastly different, and implements mechanics previously unseen. X Factor (in the previous game too) activated at different times gives a massive bonus to your characters, Frank West can ‘level up’ mid-fight, boosting his power and constantly changing his moveset, Phoenix Wright can collect evidence before switching to courtroom mode and ‘submitting’ the evidence as more powerful attacks, and  so much more. Even the character choice and design are near perfect; who would’ve thought that Arthur, an 8-bit legend, or a tiny furry walking arsenal could work in  fighting game?

Capcom are one of the few developers left who actually have imagination, whose idea well has yet to run dry. But it doesn’t have to be this way, those wells can be refilled. Studios need to be more risky, trying their hand at developing brand new IPs that will shine in the market, not sit on a shelf gathering dust alongside the other hundred of the same category. Perhaps a new console generation would be the push developers desperately need. Gamers simply don’t want more of the same, we want something new, something different and truly unique.