As soon as Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite comes out on September 19, every copy of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will evaporate into a fine mist, never to be played again -- OK, not really, but you'd never know it from the approach taken by players' farewells to the game. The end is nigh.
This week, UMvC3 player Amongst Shadows put out a video compilation of impressive in-game combos and titled it "My Last UMvC3 Combo Video", writing in the description field, "My Final Goodbye to UMvC3… This has been my favourite game over the past 6 years and it's sad to see it come to an end." UMvC3 YouTuber TheKoreanDrifter also put out a farewell video, complete with a mournful piano soundtrack.
An MvC tournament organiser who goes by the handle Jako Man announced sign-ups for an event he is co-organising this September 8 called "Farewell to UMVC3: The Final UMVC3 PS4 Online Tournament". A promotional video for the tournament features the melancholy strains of Explosions in the Sky's "Your Hand In Mine".
Fighting game fans, pros and tournament organisers tend to switch to a game's sequel as soon as it becomes available. Super Smash Brothers is one notable exception, given that both Melee and Smash 4 coexist at major tournaments, but Smash's community is fan-run and doesn't rely on Nintendo-endorsed events. By contrast, Capcom does tend to support their games' competitive scene through events such as the Capcom Pro Tour and, more recently, the Street Fighter 5 invitational on TBS' Eleague.
UMvC3 has been fighting for its life for several years. Both MvC3 and its updated version, UMvC3, came out in 2011. In 2012, Capcom stopped updating the game: No new characters, no balance patches to fix the game's emerging quirks, and therefore, less encouragement for high-level players to shake up their tactics or rosters much. UMvC3 did manage to secure enough fan votes to get a main stage spot at Evo this past year, and many saw the event as the game's last hurrah. Capcom declined to comment on whether they had any future plans for UMvC3.
The MvC3 subreddit still gets a handful of posts every few days from new players checking in, but these newcomers will be looking at a dwindling online tournament scene come September. Jako Man co-organises many of the subreddit's online tournaments and hosts years of video archives of these tournaments on his YouTube channel, but this UMvC3 tournament will truly be a farewell, as the title states.
"After the farewell tournament, there are no plans to do more online tournaments for UMvC3 in the future," Jako Man told us. "I am focusing all of my energy in MvCI when it drops next month."
Jako Man does not believe MvCI will suffer the same slow death as MvC3. He theorises Capcom will throw a lot of resources into MvCI's competitive scene, just as the company has done for Street Fighter 5 this past year. As evidence for his theory, he cited the accidental leak of an esports proposal by John Diamonon, Capcom's Senior Director of Licensing and Esports. Diamonon removed the video and tweeted an explanation: "The Capcom esports video that was mistakenly uploaded to my YouTube channel was a proposal and the information included was not final." Jako Man recognises the leaked proposal is "not finalised yet", but he still noted that the proposal "show[ed] off future plans for MVCI in the Capcom Cup". That video has been enough to give the MvC fandom hope that this time, it will be different.
That change can't come soon enough, according to Jako Man: "Let's be real here for a moment. If MvCI didn't happen, this community would somewhat die at this point. Players would stop playing the game, major tournaments will not host or live stream UMvC3, no new updates for the game, et cetera."
But just because Jako Man is looking forward to MvCI and its potential longevity doesn't mean he isn't sad to see the sun setting on UMvC3. He believes "a small group of players" will stick with the game in "side tournaments", even if MvCI eclipses its predecessor with an influx of high-paying competitions.
"UMvC3 will always be the favourite by the community," he says. "UMvC3 is one of those games that you can't stop playing. It has so much freedom and individuality… You can have your own combos, synergies, style, teams, etc. It's endless."
Well, almost endless.