I personally struggle with the idea behind 'simple' controls for any game, after all, if you can't experience a title the way it's meant to be played why bother playing it at all? But not everyone in the world is like me, some people out there do enjoy just playing a game to get into it. Or perhaps to immerse themselves in the culture, maybe even just for fun. Either way, Capcom seems to think that putting in 'simple' controls for players will open up the audience beyond the typical MvC fan. Is it a good plan? Maybe, but most fans won't really see it that way.
When exactly have any simplified controls made someone better at a game in the long run? Particularly controls that will just cut apart a massive variety of moves from every single character. If the goal is to get 'everyone' to jump on board, wouldn't that mean the developers should be dumbing down the game in general? Seth Killian explained that Simple Play would be an easy way for any player to step in the door, but aside from seeing the special attacks in action it really does nothing to prepare a player for what really using the character is like. Actually learning the right combinations, the various super attacks, and the character's individual perks is what will make the game more fun to play over time. All Simple Play does is take all the learning curve out of the character, and force new players to learn how to block, jump or push a random button to attack.
It's not like there's anything wrong with learning how to do any of those things, but they're aspects of the game that one learns through normal play. If someone is having a hard time getting into a shooter, is the alternative supposed to be giving them an add-on that will auto-target players once the trigger is pulled? Perhaps it won't do headshots, but you'll never miss. It sounds absurd because it is, modifying the game in any way isn't opening the door for new gamers but rather continuing to encourage players that are just bad at the game to stay that way.
It's frustrating to consider for sure, particularly since the old saying 'practice makes perfect' is tossed out the window by this logic. After all the time that Capcom spent in developing character tutorials for Super Street Fighter 4, which actually focused on how to practice combos and develop real skill at the game, why they decided this is a better way to expand the player base is both confusing and strange. I've never met someone who's wanted to play a game, but have a severe disadvantage against their opponent, and on top of that also want to only learn a quarter of the mechanics. It's as far as Simple Play seems to go though, which is why it seems like such a joke. Perhaps if there was a Medium Play option that kept similar mechanics but expanded the complexity a little more I could see it working. In absence of such a mode, the game really just has two options with no way to help players to move on from one to the other.
Capcom isn't the first company to try this either, they're just the only company that I believe should know better. While fighting games like Blazblue do offer similar 'simple' game modes, few fighting games on the market offer legitimate tutorials that can assist in practicing combos.
Super Street Fighter 4 was really the first step in what should be good practice for the genre's developers. Instead, Marvel vs Capcom 3 goes back to firing off random shots in the dark in hopes that it will be a little more inviting to players new to the series. Perhaps it will help sales initially, but in the long run (and for future titles in the genre) it's hard to imagine it will make much of a difference. Disappointing to be sure, but perhaps the sales figures will prove otherwise.