Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3: a Vita system-seller

Friday, 10th February 2012 13:23 GMT By Brenna Hillier

The Vita launch line-up is a treasure chest of goodies, and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is one of the brightest gems therein. We went straight to the source – Capcom’s Seth Killian – for the lowdown on this system-seller.

Capcom: Seth Killian

Probably best known as a senior Capcom USA community manager, Killian was once a pro fighter. “Not anymore,” he modestly demurs when described as one of the world’s best players. He prefers an arcade stick, crosshand, and is considered one of the best commentators for high-level fighter tournaments. He has a PhD in philosophy and once rescued me from an after-midnight trek in Japan.

“I lose close to 40 IQ points, which I do not have to spare, when I look at a fighting game,” Capcom’s Seth Killian apologised during our brief conversation at a Capcom event in Sydney.

“My whole brain slides right in there.”

Everyone else in the vicinity was suffering the same kind of mindsuck; Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 on the Vita draws the eye like the first exposed flesh of a new summer.

“Hopefully this game looks good to you. I think it’s one of the better-looking games on the Vita,” Killian observed.

It really is. Street Fighter IV was one of the 3DS’s most successful launch titles, suggesting there’s a strong market for core fighters on portables, but UMvC3 has to climb into high heels to piss from a height great enough to communicate its superiority to the earlier release. Get a good look at UMvC at a retail demo station; it’s a system-seller, if not a killer app.

It helps that Capcom has been so clever with its touch controls implementation.

“The touch controls are basically if you turn them on, they’re active the entire time and it’s completely continuous with the regular controls. Often what I do when I play is I play normally on the keypad, and then, I’ll use touch controls in part. So you can use as much of the touch controls as you want, or as little of the touch controls as you like,” Killian explained.

“So let’s see here, Felicia – I can dash around, I can tap out combos. It’s quite good! You tap the screen – there I hit the super. If you hit the super bar, it’ll do a super right away. You can always activate X-factor just by tapping the X on-screen.

“Usually I’ll just do like a normal combo,” he added, demonstrating. “I’ll go up into the air and do a regular combo, and then finish it off with a super on the ground.

“So I used basically no touch controls, and then finished it off with a [touch control] super just because I don’t want to risk losing my super or something.”

This last consideration is a serious one for Killian, who as a high-level player, has never been entirely comfortable with control pad layouts.

“I’ll say this: I play on an arcade sticks, so this is actually not my preferred way of playing, but I can play it easily anyway because touch controls let me overcome the little liabilities I have.”

“I’ll say this: I play on an arcade sticks, most of my fighting games, so this is actually not my preferred way of playing, naturally,” he noted.

“But I can play it easily anyway even though this is not the way I usually play fighting games, just because touch controls let me overcome the little liabilities I have. Like, I miss supers all the time, because it’s hard for me to hit two buttons at the same time.

“You can actually get quite extensive with touch control; it’ll give you a really good combo just by tapping the screen and do touch control combo.

It looked a lot like the simple mode on the standard version of Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, a godsend when fooling about with friends or exploring the move sets of unfamiliar characters.

“The one thing is, you only ever get a couple of variations of these combos,” Killian admitted.

“Basically, about two per character depending on where it starts. So there’s a little bit of limitedness there, and you’re not always doing the right thing; it’s obviously not the greatest combo you could ever do.

“A great player could do something definitely better than that. But for intermediate or newer players, it’s still quite a strong combo.”

Killian’s evangelising isn’t going to convince everybody, but for those on the upper reaches of oline leaderboards, there’s always the option to turn it off, or filter out those using it for online matches – and to be fair, the Vita’s touchscreen isn’t a push-to-win button.

“It’s a good bit of fun – oh, he’s got me. That’s not good. Computer’s getting…” Killian tuned me out momentarily to put the AI opponent in its place, repeating his regular pattern of keypad combos followed by a touchscreen super, fingers flying over the handheld with precision, the screen balanced so carefully it held rock steady despite the frantic action.

Capcom has clearly been quite thoughtful about how to use the system’s strengths rather than simply piling on the novelties.

“We stayed away from the rear screen because the inputs started overlapping,” Killian said.

“You’d get things [happening] just by holding it that you didn’t mean to get. Stuff that you didn’t intend. That didn’t work out so well. We moved away from it.”

UMvC3 Vita trailer.

The Vita version has other system-specific features, both core-friendly and a little more frivolous. There’s a replay sharing system and a hit box viewer – good for pro players keen on analysing and upping their game – and Near functionality allowing players to collect exclusive alternate costumes by swapping data with others nearby – “just a little silly, mini-Pokémon”-style extra.

Killian had turned the difficulty up, and the AI was busy turning him around “like a rag doll” while he spoke, so he returned focus to the game, determined to show off some fancy moves – double supers, for example.

“I can snap out a basic combo, and – oh, he’s dead. Well, then I can super – oh, he’s dead too.”

“You know, Marvel’s already a fairly easy game to pick up and mash around with, and then this just opens that door even further to players.”

What about those already so far through that door that they’ve set up camp in the living room and are demanding tea and their pick of teatime assorted? Is there any reason for core fans to pick up another version of UMvC3 – can it function as a portable training aid, perhaps?

“Oh, totally. Totally. The gameplay is identical,” Killian emphasised.

“The only difference between this and consoles in terms of anything you see on the screen is some of the animations in the background., these guys here will turn their heads in the console version, and here they’re static. If that’s the kind of thing you’re staring at when you’re playing one of these games, you’re doing it wrong anyway.

“The backgrounds are the same, they just animate slightly less, but the characters, the gameplay, the combos – as far as your training aid question? It’s 100% the same. We tested that extensively to make sure there were no secrets. It’s the same code. You’re never quite know when it’s running on a different processor, yeah, but it worked out to be identical.

“You can call assists just by tapping your buddies. Or by holding it down, you can tag in to somebody else. Basically anything you can do in normal Marvel.”

The Synergistic Might of Team Chair
Challenged to a match later in the day, I decided to mine Killian for tips. What is the best team in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3? Interested parties demand answers.

“I switch all the time,” the ex-pro said, disappointingly, but then added:

“For a while I played what I called ‘Team Chair’, which is not a cool group of guys, it was just… guys who sat in chairs at different points in the fight.”


UMvC3 full opening cinematic.

“So Doctor Doom gets out of a throne; M.O.D.O.K. is floating around in a chair the whole time; and then also Dormammu is a hellord who floats up out of a hellish throne at the beginning of the match.

“I reach for inspiration for my team. Not a cool thing like, ‘these guys are all Avengers from Marvel comics’, more like ‘these guys are all in chairs’ or ‘guys who make annoying sound effects’ or something like that.”

“I was kind of expecting you to come back with something more hardcore analytical, like, these three guys have a perfect synergy with this cancel and this super,” I hazarded, exposing my deep, deep ignorance of fighters.

“That’s what everyone else does, and I quite enjoy that,” he agreed.

“But then I want to figure out the same thing – with chairs. Put my own special flavour on it.

“It’s such a creative game, You can find something interesting to do with almost everybody. Not always the best in terms of winning tournaments, but – yeahhh, we won.”

Another victory for Team Chair.

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 releases along side the Vita on February 22 in the US and Europe, and February 23 in Australia.



  1. The_Red

    No, it’s NOT a Vita system seller. Using touch to activate a few specials isn’t gonna cut it. While both this and MK Vita look pretty decent, they are still ports of games that have been on the market for a long time and both have had Ultimate / Komplete editions as well.

    The only reason SF4 sold lots of copies on 3DS was because the system had such a crappy launch line-up that a sub-par port of classic fighting game was its only worthwhile title for some time. SF x Tekken has a much better chance of moving systems if only because it hasn’t been on the market for a long time, it has some exclusive characters for the system and doesn’t have to fight off a decent (in unspectacular) launch line-up.

    I want a dedicated core fighting game MADE for Vita from the beginning (That virtual reality Fighters game doesn’t count). Something like Bushido Blade using touch controls to slice opponents.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Goffee

    The Vita has so many good brawlers that it should appeal to that set of gamers regardless… Gravity Daze appears to be the only unique title that will sell systems (will find out next week as it went on sale in Japan a couple of days ago)

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Patashnik

    I have to admit I winced when I read ‘system seller’. Really?!

    Go easy on the hyperbole, it’s… unbecoming.

    @Goffee Yes, I think Gravity Daze is the real standout for Vita – and probably the main attraction for me.

    Fighter-wise, nothing holds a candle to BlazBlue Extend both in terms of beauty and innovation, so I think that’ll be getting my attention over Marvel.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. poketrainer

    Yea, as cool as it seems it does appear a bit cramped on the screen, and the controls are going to be superior on home consoles. I’m sure it will sell terrible too, being it is on a new platform

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Kabby

    Every fighting game on a handheld is junk. You simply do not have the control. In addition to this performing more complex moves always results in the screen/console jiggling around. It’s just a crappy experience.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. lexph3re

    Funny, Because when I paid off my vita I paid this off as well. Guess that makes it a system seller for me >.<

    As for Kabby's statement. You must not have played Tekken 5 DR or Tekken 6 on psp? Or guilty gear,blazeblue, or sfa3max? Also if your console/screen jiggles to much maybe you should relax and stop spazzing out while playing the games?

    #6 3 years ago
  7. jdfoster00

    @Goffee I also think Escape Plan looks very innovative and new!

    #7 3 years ago
  8. KrazyKraut

    no its not a vita seller….Monster Hunter would be one.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. GameExchangeShoop

    I’m a huge fan of most of the games in the series, mostly because I can play with my girlfriend (she loves fighting games). I’m excited about the Vita, and think this game will be a gem among the launch titles. I think Sony is doing things right with the Vita and they will be successful.

    I also just wrote about the Vita on my blog < Mostly a guide for parents or kids who don't know much about the Vita. Short and sweet and right to the point.

    #9 3 years ago

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