Some of you may remember when Multiplayer pondered the question of who should make "Halo 4". We're pondering a new hypothetical today.
With the news that EA and Marvel have parted ways after the closing of the EA's Chicago studio, it means that the license for Marvel inspired fighting games is now up for grabs.
That leaves the question that is near and dear to my heart … who will step up to make the next fighting game worthy of starring Marvel's super heroes?
Once held by the 2-D fighting kings, Capcom, the license is not only a lucrative, but one that has spawned some of the greatest fighting games of all time. While the perfection that is "Marvel vs. Capcom 2" may never again be achieved, there are a variety of other publishers that could do the license justice.
I consider the top candidates -- and some longshots -- below.
Some of the publishers listed below an extensive fighting game pedigree, while others have the deep character rosters that have the potential to send any gamer's mind reeling at the potential cross-over match-ups. The odds assigned to each publisher are purely speculative, of course. They are basically numbers I pulled out of the air.
If Team Ninja had their way with Marvel I have a feeling that Psylocke and Rogue would look just a little bit different. With the experience of four successful "D.O.A." games under their belt the Tecmo team has quite a stake in the modern 3-d fighting arena. Also it might not be too much of a stretch for the "D.O.A." gang to need some superhero help to take down the likes of ALPHA-152 and DOATEC.
Odds: 10 to 1
While it may seem unlikely that Activision could make an attempt to scoop up the Marvel fighting license, keep in mind two things: 1. Activision already has the Marvel action/rpg license and 2. Activision likes money, and they are the only publisher on this list that hasn’t taken a stab at the fighting genre. However, if they were to make their own fighting game, it would most likely be in the vein of EA's unsuccessful "Rise of the Imperfects" meaning that they would need to create their own character set or go with an all Marvel cast since Activision doesn’t really have the stable of go-to characters. Is Tony Hawk going to try and take down The Hulk with his skateboard? Or is Slash going to rip through Iron Man with frets of furry? Most likely not.
Odds: 2 to 1
Sonic made the jump to "Super Smash Bros." so why couldn't Wolverine make the jump to "Virtua Fighter?" "VF4" is the best looking fighter so far in this generation of consoles, so, if Sega took that power and put it behind the Marvel line-up, long time fans would be able to rest easy. Now, if Sega threw their all-star cast of characters into the mix, it would truly make for some of the most unique match-ups ever conceived. Sonic could take all the skills he learned in "Sonic Battle" and put them to the test against Omega Red. And gamers could find out what kind of destruction would happen if Samba went toe to toe with Beast.
Odds 3 to 1
While Nintendo may seem like an unlikely candidate, they do already have two extremely successful, active fighting franchises - "Smash Bros." and the Japan-only "Jump Super Stars." The likelihood of Nintendo featuring Marvel characters in the next iteration of "SSB" is very low, but, they could be an unlikely contender with their "Jump Super Stars" background. Try imagining every Marvel character in your pocket, with "Smash Bros." like gameplay on your DS. A gamer can dream ,can't he?
Odds: 50 to 1
Square Enix has tried hard in the past to put together a really great fighting game ("Tobal" and "Ehrgeiz" come to mind), but they always seem to fall a little bit short. That doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t be able to construct an epic story on par with some of the great arcs of the Marvel history - one that would be completely worthy of a Square/Marvel crossover game. So, Square Enix could bring the story, the cinematic, the characters, but most likely not the actual fighting - unless the forth-coming "Dissidia" has some surprises for us.
Odds: 30 to 1
Namco Bandai is the proud owner of two of the biggest fighting franchises that are still standing in what was once a very crowded landscape. But even "Tekken" and "Soul Calibur" have taken a few hits over the years, and may never return to their original greatness (no matter what your feelings are about Darth Vader and Yoda - they can only helps so much). Both series exhibit a wealth of different characters that could put up a pretty good fight against the Marvel super heroes. King and Ivy seem like they could fit right in with the Marvel crime fighters, as they try and take down the evil team of Volodo and Bryan Fury (I wonder if there's any relation to Nick).
Odds: 10 to 1
What could be the ultimate slap in Capcom's face (about 10 years too late) would be "Marvel vs. Mortal Kombat" hitting
arcades all home consoles this summer. The "Mortal Kombat" franchise may have limped its way to the end of the last generation's life cycle, but a rejuvenation on the PS3 and 360 seems possible. Strengthening that cast with Cyclops and Captain America couldn't hurt. Maybe Cap would be able to stop Scorpion's spear with his shield.
Odds: 5 to 1
Is there a potential contender here? Is one of these companies more likely to grab the license for some of the most beloved characters of comic lore? Only time will tell… however, thoughts of "Marvel vs. Capcom 3" give me that funny feeling in my stomach that's normally reserved for the finer things in life, so I'm going cross my fanboy fingers and hope for a miracle.