CCI: "Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3" Panel

New characters, abilities and costumes were debuted for "Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3" at the Marvel vs. Capcom panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego on Saturday, July 23. Although the new characters Strider Hiryu and Firebrand (on the Capcom side) and Ghost Rider and Hawkeye (on the Marvel side) were on display in the Capcom booth throughout the weekend, the characters were revealed with a bit more depth, in addition to displaying a host of new costume items, downloadable content and more.

Strider Hiryu, who debuted in the classic Capcom game "Strider," returns to the "MvC" series after not appearing in "Marvel vs. Capcom 3."

"When we came out with 'Marvel vs. Capcom 3' and there was no Strider, fans were upset," said Ryota Niitsuma, the game's producer, through a translator. "Since we're coming out with 'Ultimate,' we decided to put him in there. Strider is not exactly the same as he was in '2,' but if you were a Strider fan in '2,' you'll feel right at home -- we kept the essence of who he was."

Firebrand is not the obscure villain who's tangled with Iron Man, but one of the bad guys from the video game "Ghosts and Goblins." A clawed dragon, he has the ability to fly, spit fire and chain together multiple clawed melee attacks.

"Did anyone play 'Ghosts and Goblins'?" Niitsuma asked the audience. After the panel-goers clapped in affirmation, he added, "Then you know how strong this guy is going to be."

The panel skipped over discussing the Marvel characters in too much detail, because they would be talked about at the Marvel Games panel happening later that day. However, they did use Marvel characters to better illustrate some of the new costume options being given to characters. Every character will have at least two new costumes based on classic comics and video games with more detail being put into them than just color swaps.

"One of the things we really wanted to do with 'UMvC3' is not make it a color swap," said Chris Baker, manager of licensed games for Marvel Studios. "You'd have Storm looking cool in her '90s white outfit, and then you'd have Gold Storm, just because you could have it in the game."

To demonstrate the change, Phoenix was shown, and in addition to her standard costume, she also had ones based on her White Hot Room form, "X-Men Forever," "New X-Men," "X-Factor" and "Age of Apocalypse."

"I'm super excited for that last one, because I love 'Age of Apocalypse,'" Baker said.

The panel also showed alternate forms for characters based on the Super Nintendo game "Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems," which featured evil versions of Hawkeye, Iron Man and Wolverine. "We wanted to celebrate our history of games," Baker said.

The panel also debuted downloadable content exclusives that can initially be obtained by purchasing from specific retailers, although should eventually be purchasable at some point. Buyers from Gamestop will get alternate skins for X-23, Storm in her mohawk days, Chun Li's "Street Fighter Alpha" costume with pants and "Casual Fridays" Morrigan. Amazon customers can download a more comic-accurate Sentinel, Dr. Doom in his "Doomwar" armor, Strider in clothes more resembling his video game debut and Cyber Akuma. Best Buy purchasers will receive Super-Skrull in his costume from "Annihilation," a special version of Crimson Viper, Wesker from S.T.A.R.S. and Graceland M.O.D.O.K. from "Nextwave."

The panel also debuted a clip of what will eventually be the CG movie that runs during the game's attract mode. The clip started with the Marvel Films flipping pages logo, followed by a similar Capcom one, before showing 3D stills of the character models frozen in the midst of action.

"For the last game we made the CG movie -- we tried to recreate American comics into Japanese video games," explained Niitsuma. "This time around, we wanted to take you into the comic books, as if you were entering the panels."

The panel ended with a video competition, having players using all Marvel characters face off against players using all Capcom characters. The players tended to use teams with the newer characters, anchored by an old standard they knew how to use. The Marvel teams dominated the competition, taking both matches, with the most impressive moment being when one of the players, using Hawkeye, defeated his opponent using one of Hawkeye's specials -- firing an arrow with Ant-Man riding it, who converts to Giant-Man after it hits, crushing his opponent beneath his heel.

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