sf is owned by capcom, marvel is not. licensing, IP’s, and representation are not BS. they’re simply business realities that are essentially irremovable from the equation. not to mention, games pay for themselves (except skullgirls :D/ ). afaik (correct me if i’m wrong), mvc3 wasn’t a big fiscal success…sf4 was. considering when umvc3 was released (during the holiday season), that’s pretty telling of a games consumer reception. if your game doesn’t sell then, your budget for future updates will probably be pretty slim. at that point, your only other recourse is to ask the execs for more money, but they have to believe the juice is worth the squeeze (not likely).
then there’s also the next gen issue. releasing a game representing a genre at (or around) launch is a better business decision than releasing one for a previous console.
when you factor in everything from timing, upcoming media projects, licensing, money, next gen, outsourcing, etc., it’s understandable.