Everyone who plays games has that one game that is very special to them. Something that becomes more than just a game, but an inseparable part of your life. For me, that game is Marvel vs Capcom 2. My first big fighting game was the original Marvel vs. Capcom, and the sequel was where my love for the genre was forever cemented. However, as beloved as the game is by myself and legions of fans, time has not been kind to it. Well, in regard to its availability, anyway. This is why a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #FreeMvC2 is looking to change that.
The story of this campaign begins with a company named Digital Eclipse. It’s a studio that specializes in rereleases of older titles. This includes the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King, and most recently the Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection. The company was successfully funded via republic.co, which is like Kickstarter, but for investors looking to invest in startup companies. This means it was fully funded to start continuing its work of bringing back classic games, but under its own leadership.
After news of this broke, the studio head of Digital Eclipse, Mike Mika, went to Twitter asking fans what game they would like to see given the rerelease treatment. Naturally, the comments section was a goldmine of classic games. But a little bit after this tweet, one name started to pop up above the rest. Can you guess what that was?
For those who don’t know, Maximilian Dood is the biggest content creator for fighting games on YouTube. He has worked on games like Killer Instinct, and has made promotional content for developers like Capcom. Max made a video earlier in the week discussing why Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is in desperate need of this rerelease/revival treatment. This is where the #FreeMvC2 campaign began.
Oh man! I almost had a heart attack there!
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 first released in 2000 in Japanese arcades. It was an instant smash hit. Shortly after, the game was released on Dreamcast in 2000, with PlayStation 2 and Xbox ports hitting American shores in 2002. As it turned out, the Dreamcast version became the standard for the community. This was because the Sega NAOMI hardware inside of the Dreamcast allowed for perfect arcade ports of games that ran on that same hardware in arcades.
The game became a huge success, and developed a community that still plays the game to this day. In 2009, MvC 2 became available on the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. This was the first version of the game to feature online play. It was also one of the earliest adopters of rollback netcode, which made the game run shockingly well online. Rollback netcode would later become a necessity in fighting games, as recent titles like Guilty Gear Strive demonstrate.
On December 15, 2013, Marvel vs Capcom 2 was pulled from digital storefronts after Capcom’s licensing contracts with Marvel ended. This also meant that games like Marvel vs. Capcom Origins were also pulled from digital store shelves. Over time, other entries in the series have popped up in various places. The most recent and notable example is the Arcade 1Up line of arcade cabinets. Unfortunately, Marvel vs Capcom 2 remained locked away. As of this year, the game has been unavailable for purchase for eight years. The only ways of playing it is through emulation, or by buying a very expensive physical copy.
Where yo curleh mustache at!?
For such an influential and beloved piece of video game and pop culture history, it’s crazy. This brings us back to Maximilian, who last year began the #BringBackKI Twitter campaign. This aimed to bring the series back into Microsoft’s purview to hopefully do something with it. This week, he decided to try that again with the #FreeMvC2 Twitter campaign. Maximilian asked fans of the game to spread the hashtag around, and let Digital Eclipse, Capcom, and Marvel know that people are interested.
Which, they did, and in large numbers. The night Max’s video released, #FreeMvC2 was already trending on Twitter. Everyone from pro players like Justin Wong to other content creators chimed in. Not long after, Mike Mika even tweeted his own message with the hashtag, stating that he was willing to talk to the parties involved to make it happen. Now, the thing to keep in mind is that this isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility. In fact, that team that developed the 2009 rerelease was called Backbone Entertainment. And for those who don’t know, Backbone used to be a division of Digital Eclipse. Plus, even after the unfortunate failure of Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite, those Arcade 1Up cabinets show that Marvel/Disney and Capcom are still willing to talk.
We don’t like to do “call to actions” here much, but I think this is more than enough of a worthy cause. If you are a fan of Marvel vs. Capcom 2, then get on Twitter and use the #FreeMvC2 hashtag to let the powers that be know you want this to happen. With any luck, a rerelease of one of the greatest fighting games of all time could be within our grasp. For the first time in almost a decade, the answer to “When’s Mahvel?” could finally be “now.”