Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite features a base roster of 30 playable characters, consisting of both new and returning heroes and villains in the Marvel vs. Capcom series. Additional characters will also be released post-launch as downloadable content (DLC). According to Producer Mike Evans and Associate Producer Peter Rosas, the development team examined the strengths and weaknesses of each returning character and adjusted them by providing new moves and abilities, hoping to make every fighter viable. In terms of roster selection, characters were chosen based on two aspects: their potential interactions within the story and their gameplay style. The developers sought to include a variety of different character archetypes, from small, nimble characters, such as Strider Hiryu, to large, brawler-type characters, such as the Hulk. The Marvel characters’ designs were proposed by Capcom’s research and development team in Japan, who took inspiration from both the characters’ comic book and film appearances. Marvel staff members worked closely with the team, providing feedback to maintain the authenticity of their characters’ portrayals. While speaking at E3 2017, Evans explained how they picked the roster based on which characters Marvel was currently pushing or planning to push in the future.
Like its predecessors, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is a 2D fighting game in which players compete against each other in tag team combat using characters from both the Marvel Comics and Capcom universes. Players must knock out the opposing team by repeatedly attacking the opponent and draining their health bar. Infinite features two-on-two partner battles, similar to Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes and earlier installments in the franchise. Unlike past entries, the game does not allow players to use traditional call-in assist attacks from off-screen characters; instead, Infinite utilizes a “free-form” tag system, known as “Active Switch”, which shares similarities with Marvel vs. Capcom 3’s “Team Aerial Combo” system and Street Fighter X Tekken’s “Switch Cancel” system. Players can immediately switch between their team members at any point, even while mid-air or during attack animations. This provides players with the abilities to create their own offensive or defensive assists through the tag system and form continuous combos between their two characters. Alternatively, players can sacrifice meter from their Hyper Combo Gauge to perform the newly introduced “Counter Switch” mechanic, which tags in their partner character while the opponent is attacking them, providing the opportunity to counterattack and free the character trapped in the enemy’s combo. The game also features several playable stages that combine notable locations from Marvel and Capcom franchises, such as Valkanda, a fusion of Val Habar and Wakanda, and XGard, a fusion of Abel City and Asgard.
Infinite moves away from the button layout previously used in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and instead employs a control scheme more similar to Marvel vs. Capcom 2, which includes four attack buttons, consisting of two pairs of light and heavy punches and kicks, and two additional buttons used for swapping characters and activating Infinity Stone powers. To improve accessibility, the game includes an “auto-combo” system which allows players to repeatedly press the light punch button to automatically perform both ground and air combos. In addition, certain Hyper Combos can now be activated by simply pressing the two heavy attack buttons, as opposed to the specific joystick and button combinations required in previous titles.
Infinite also implements the Infinity Stones as a gameplay mechanic, similar to Marvel Super Heroes, where each stone grants unique abilities. Before the match begins, each player selects one of the six Infinity Stones – Power, Space, Time, Reality, Mind, and Soul – which bestows one ability that can be activated at any time, known as the “Infinity Surge”. For example, the Power Stone produces a knockback effect when used, while the Space Stone pulls an opponent closer to the player character. A second, stronger ability called the “Infinity Storm” can be activated after a player fills their Infinity meter at least halfway, giving them a significant boost for a limited time, similar to the X-Factor system from Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The boost is determined by the chosen Infinity Stone; for example, the Power Stone increases the user’s damage output and combo ability, while the Space Stone traps an opponent within a confined area that severely limits their movement.
The game offers various offline and online single-player and multiplayer game modes. The offline features include Story Mode, a two-hour cinematic story campaign; Arcade Mode, a classic arcade game experience where players fight against several AI-controlled opponents before confronting the final boss characters Ultron Sigma and Ultron Omega; Mission Mode, where players can complete tutorial missions and character-specific challenges; Training Mode, where players can practice their fighting abilities and adjust various training field parameters; Versus Player 2, where two players can battle against each other locally; Versus CPU, where players can battle solo against an AI-controlled opponent; and Collection Mode, where extras unlocked through gameplay are stored, including story cutscenes, character and stage information, concept artwork, and audio tracks. Online multiplayer includes ranked and casual matches, global leaderboards, replays, and eight-player lobbies with spectating. The online mode also introduces the Beginners League, a special league designated for low-ranking players to compete for graduation into higher ranks.