'Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite' Roster: X-Men characters are missing — and Marvel movies are to blame

'Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite' Roster: X-Men characters are missing — and Marvel movies are to blame
'Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite'
Source: Capcom
'Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite'
Source: Capcom
opinion
Mic invites contributors and staff to offer commentary and context about news and timely issues.

If you're still holding out hope that your favorite X-Men hero or villain will show up in the Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite roster, we've got some bad news. It's not happening, and Marvel's movie franchise is to blame. Confused? Don't worry, we're here to explain.

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite roster: What does it have to do with the Marvel movies?

The Marvel line of movies and TV shows is indomitable, an absurdly profitable enterprise where actors agree to devote years of their lives to its lengthy cinematic roadmap. As such, it's just common sense for Marvel to use the movies' success to dictate how its characters are used in other media. It's a giant corporation that exists to make money above all else.

Still, it's tough not to be disappointed with how this approach has affected Marvel video games.

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite roster: Producer claims fans "don't even remember" the X-Men

In case you hadn't noticed, the roster for the upcoming fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite notably lacks any X-Men characters. This is a big deal because characters like Wolverine and Storm have been in previous MvC games and, if you didn't know any better, you'd expect them to return, right?

Apparently not. In an interview with GameSpot, producer Michael Evans gave an interesting answer when asked about the lack of previously iconic characters. He said that the first two considerations when selecting characters for the game were gameplay and storytelling potential, which is understandable. The third thing, however, is a bit more telling:

Then the third one is obviously the popularity of these characters. X was one we had to get in there. A lot of fans wanted to see X, so we brought him back. Then also we talked with Marvel very closely about their future roadmap, about what's gonna be happening. Your modern Marvel fan, maybe they don't even remember some of the X-Men characters, but they know some of the Guardians characters or Black Panther. You know what I mean? Captain Marvel may seem like a strange pick, but she's fantastic. She fits the gameplay. She fits the story and they're gonna be really pushing her as a strong female lead all the way up into the movie. We're trying to take everything into account and choose the best characters.

"Marvel fans don't even remember the X-Men" is a hell of a take. For the record, X-Men Apocalypse and Logan hit theaters in 2016 and 2017, respectively, with the latter garnering tremendous critical acclaim and financial success. Fans being more invested in Guardians of the Galaxy isn't an unfortunate coincidence — it's by design.

You see, X-Men, the Fantastic Four and Deadpool are still licensed out to Fox, which is why those characters have appeared in their own separate cinematic universe for years. You might notice that none of those characters are in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. That's because Marvel, in a fit of incredible pettiness, has arguably been deliberately diminishing those brands — X-Men and Fantastic Four, especially — where it can to get back at Fox. It's complicated, but Bleeding Cool has a good roundup of it all.

Hulk fighting Strider in 'Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite'
Source: Capcom

MvC isn't the only ongoing Marvel game to be affected by this corporate attitude. The Diablo-like Marvel Heroes is set to remove Fantastic Four characters from its marketplace soon, with Kotaku speculating that it's another consequence of the Marvel versus Fox war.

It's a bummer when real-life business dealings get in the way of fun. From the outside looking in, it seems like Marvel won't do the right thing because they don't have as much cinematic control over those characters as they would like. It might not be the worst thing about MvC Infinite, but it's unfortunate nonetheless.

More gaming news and updates

Check out the latest from Mic, like this essay about the sinister, subtle evils lurking in rural America that Far Cry 5 shouldn’t ignore. Also, be sure to read our review of Tekken 7, an article about D.Va’s influence on one Overwatch player’s ideas about femininity and an analysis of gaming’s racist habit of darkening villains’ skin tones.