Marvel vs. Capcom
The popular Marvel vs. Capcom fighting series is a fun way to settle ridiculous arguments about who would win in a fight between characters that otherwise wouldn’t meet or interact in any meaningful way. Just as importantly for both Marvel and Capcom, they’re a tremendous source of income.
Licensing it as a fresh IP today, though, would be a hot mess. Licensing was tricky for Marvel vs Capcom 3 was tricky, and that’s with years of fan demand after two previously popular entries in the series. Today, the Marvel license is stretched across several different publishers. Activision handles Spider-Man, the X-Men, and crossovers that aren’t MvC; Sega handles movie tie-ins such as Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man (but not Spidey); THQ has games based on the Super Hero Squad cartoon; Zen Studios has pinball. For a game to include all of those characters without other publishers getting pissed about it … well, that’s sticky.
Another sticking point is that Marvel is a much more lucrative license now than it was when titles like X-Men vs. Street Fighter first came out. At the end of 1996, Marvel was filing for bankruptcy protection and things were looking grim. After the success of the Spider-Man movies starting in 2002, as well as subsequent movies such as Iron Man in 2008, Marvel started raking it in again. Suddenly, that game license becomes just a bit pricier, and what reason would Marvel have to put their characters in a silly fighting game with the likes of Phoenix Wright and Tron Bonne?
Real-life NFL games are usually pretty goddamn fun, but the NFL as a business entity is fantastically shitty. Their brand overprotection leads to instantaneous removal of game footage on YouTube, instead forcing users to use their archaic video player. They’re also staunch supporters of the anti-Internet SOPA bill, but I digress.
The recent revival of NFL Blitz further exemplifies the lengths that the league goes to for the sake of protecting its brand. Lost are the late hits that added so much to the ridiculous fun of arcade football, which admittedly doesn’t remove a lot from the experience. Yet even a neutered NFL Blitz probably wouldn’t exist if not for fan nostalgia of the old Midway classics. If you were to pitch the game without the guaranteed cash that nostalgia is capable of pulling, there’s no way the No Fun League approves a seven-on-seven arcade football game.
Have I mentioned how much I hate the NFL yet?