This is a good question, and one I think bears a thought-out response. Personally, I am of a mixed opinion on these, tending toward favoring newer characters and having realistic expectations for old cast.
Captain Commando makes a fantastic example. I voted for him in at least one of the polls. I didn’t do this because I expect Captain Corridor assist to be a top-notch anti-air option… you will never see me vote for a character because they have one effective move that was intuitive and easy to use. That’s voting for an individual attack, not a character. Instead, I voted for him on the assumption that if he does show up in UMvC3, the bulk of his movelist will be interesting, fun, and add something to the game. He also has an awesome exaggerated 80s hero vibe, and I love that. Thus, I voted for him on the good faith belief that he will be a good character to add to UMvC3, and not just hoping that his Corridor/Collider will be a good anti-air assist.
Conversely, Psylocke held no interest to me. When some people spoke to me in hopes of earning my vote for Psylocke, they made two very poor cases. The first was “she’ll have a gdlk anti-air assist, which the game needs”, and the second was showing me the animated gif of her breasts-heaving stance; I’m sure you’ve seen it. Well, I agree that UMvC3 would benefit from better anti-air assists. I do. However, these can be easily attained by just tweaking existing assists. Make Ryu’s Shoryuken assist invulnerable in the air. Make Cap’s Stars & Stripes do likewise. Maybe this would turn out to be a bad idea balance-wise, but the materials to implement what they wanted out of Psylocke are already in the game. As for heaving breasts… well, I do not need female anatomy to needlessly ‘jiggle’ for me to notice it is there. Most of my favorite female characters are those whose gender and beauty are obvious enough, but they do not use it in heavy-handed and pandering ways. I’m more than willing to settle for ‘beautiful without physical exaggeration, backed by useful combat powers and an interesting personality.’ Simply put, I was not impressed with Psylocke because the pitch made to me was “Well, her assist was amazing ten years ago; maybe it’ll still be amazing today” and “big, heaving breasts.” I’ll pass.
To be fair: I’m sure some Psylocke fans legitimately like her as a character from her comic appearances, and/or her coherent playstyle in MvC2. What I’m saying is the people who spoke to me built their pitch around blatant sexual pandering and a love of one move, not her whole play-style. That’s not going to win me over.
There is also the matter of “if you want (character), go play (last game they were in).” I understand staying faithful to a character you legitimately enjoy. You need some of that in a roster so you have some points of familiarity; a basis to learn the new characters from. However, speaking solely for myself, I thrive on new experiences. If I’ve gotten a decade plus out of a character, which I have with Ryu in most fighting games he has been in… then I’ve gotten enough. The best thing I ever did for my growth as a fighting game player was stop using Ryu and learn how to enjoy other characters. In turn, this became how I had my most fun; learning new, unusual characters and growing as a player through understanding them. Instead of Ryu/Ken/Akuma, I now enjoy teams like Dormammu/Captain America (yeah, somewhat shoto-y, I know)/Amaterasu. I use Q and Hugo in Third Strike. Embracing change got me out of a rut!
This is one of the major reasons why Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 excites me. The vast majority of the new cast are wholly new fighters, or else have only been in one or two other games at most and bring unusual combat styles with them. My response to Hiryu’s inclusion was “Eh, cool. Does nothing for me, but I’m glad his fans will be satisfied.” My response to Dr. Strange was “Fascinating. I’m eager to try this guy out.” My response to Frank West was to pre-order the game, since he has only been in one previous game, features a brilliant move list that was simply not tweaked properly in TvC, and I am legitimately a fan of the character.
In the end, I voted for a mix. A few of my choices were for veterans, ones I feel truly will add to the game beyond one or two dominant moves. Most of my desires were for newcomers, however. Capcom has been doing a great job satisfying this interest so far, and I hope they’ll continue it with DLC; I’d love to see them bring some heroes from unrepresented games into the equation, because I bet they’ll come up with some really cool playstyles for them. And if I haven’t name-dropped Nina from Breath of Fire lately, allow me to do so now since I think she would make a fantastic addition to the roster.
Thank you for raising this topic, Icytor. I hope it will prompt a good discussion!