In yesterday’s hands-on preview with Marvel vs. Capcom 3, it was revealed that the retail version of the game, meaning the one we’ll all be drooling over in less than two weeks, will be without a spectator mode. This has caused a wide amount of controversy; many fans feel slighted and perhaps rightfully so.
The absence of what has for a long time now been considered a staple in the online component of fighting games is definitely an issue. The main problem with the absence of this feature is that fans of Capcom fighting games, the same fans who are probably eagerly frequenting Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and Super Street Fighter IV in anticipation of MVC3, have gotten used to it.
For those who don’t know, spectator mode allows players to watch the battles that take place between other players when they are in the same lobby. For example, in a lobby of four players, two players will always be waiting for their turn since matches are one on one. Spectator mode allows them to watch the match taking place while they wait. Not only that, but hearing people comment and enjoy the fight helps recreate the feeling of being in an arcade, and that simply makes the game better.
This feature has appeared in Super Street Fighter IV, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, and many more. I for one have been enjoying spectator mode since Dead or Alive 4 launched back in 2005. Since then, just about every fighter I can think of has had this feature yet MVC3 won’t.
What does this mean? Well, when you join a lobby with multiple players, you will probably end up staring at names and titles while you wait for your turn, where as in any of the aforementioned games you would have been watching the fights. Many fans have spoken out on various message boards, conveying their unhappiness with this, even threatening pre-orders.I personally don’t see this as a deal breaker since I spend the majority of my time in ranked matches, but I can see this being an issue if I wanted to hook up with friends and play. It’s absolutely an inconvenience for those into the rooms and lobbies.
So what, if anything, will Capcom do? As we know, patching and updates can work miracles. Perhaps the feature will get added to the game at a later date. Alternatively, they may be planning to pull a “Super Street Fighter IV” and re-release the game with features it should have had in the first place. This would alienate fans in a manner we’ve already come to expect from them.
Worse yet, there is also the chance that they won’t release it at all and players will never see the spectator mode in the game. So it really comes down to how optimistic you want to be about it. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 comes out on February 15th and I’ll be there to pick up my copy the moment it comes on sale. Hopefully you will to, but I totally understand if you don’t. How do you feel about it?