Marvel, and their parent company, Disney, are a tough bunch to read when it comes to certain properties. Many have speculated over the years that Marvel, Disney, or even both have black listed characters from the X-Men and Fantastic Four series because they do not retain the movie rights to those characters, and thus they are not as valuable as say, The Avengers or the team members that make up that team. This is contradicted by a push on Marvel’s part in the publishing side in 2017 with a pile of new X-Men books on a bi-monthly release schedule, on the video game front by several X-Men being added to the mobile game Marvel Future Fight, new toys in Hasbro’s Marvel Legends series and shows like the phenomenal Legion on FX and Gifted, which will start this fall, could not happen without Marvel’s say so as Fox, the company who owns the film rights to the FF and X-Men, only owns the rights to both franchises when it comes to film but not TV. But then you also have things like what happened last week where Gazillion Entertainment, the makers of the Marvel Heroes MMO for PC and now console, announced last week that a renegotiation of their licensing agreement meant they had to pull everything related to the Fantastic Four out of the game.
Long time fans of Capcom’s series of Marvel fighting games, crossed over or otherwise, have been quite vocal about the apparent lack of X-Men themed characters in Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite, as they’ve appeared in every Vs. Series game in some capacity, as well as Marvel Super Heroes and of course X-Men: Children of the Atom. In an interview, two producers on Infinite, Peter Rosas and Michael Evans, were asked why the game won’t have fighters like Cyclops and Wolverine and had this to say:
“Your modern Marvel fan, maybe they don’t even remember some of the X-Men characters, but they know some of the Guardians characters or Black Panther. You know what I mean? Captain Marvel may seem like a strange pick, but she’s fantastic. She fits the gameplay. She fits the story, and they’re gonna be really pushing her as a strong female lead all the way up into the movie. We’re trying to take everything into account and choose the best characters.”
In the same interview the duo admitted there is aspects of licensing that they could not get into, so clearly they could not straight out say the reason the X-Men and related characters are missing from the game because of spite, but their non-answer on why you won’t hear the words “berserker barrage” uttered in Infinite are telling without them coming out and plainly stating it. It was a different licensing agreement and time when this series first started back in the mid-90’s, and I didn’t know about a characters like Shuma-Gorath on the Marvel side and Hayato Kanzaki from the Capcom camp but learned who they were through the Vs. Series. Characters as they appear in video games and movies are perhaps bigger business to Disney/Marvel than comics, so if they can’t make money from movies, why restrict video games?