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access_time June 6, 2021 at 6:00 AM in Features by David Poole

Bring it Back | Ruby Heart

It’s Sunday, and that means another Bring it Back feature. Last week, we gave Mistwalker’s Blue Dragon series the limelight, showcasing a JRPG series from industry veterans. This week, we’re going to switch things up a bit. For most of our Bring it Back features, we focus on a particular game or series. This time, we’re actually going to focus on a particular character that is deserving of her own game. That character is none other than Capcom’s Ruby Heart, the sky pirate that originates from the classic fighting game, Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes. While the fighter showcases many characters, Ruby acts as the main protagonist, making it a shame that it’s really her only game.

Ruby Heart has a pretty interesting history when it comes to her creation. Originally, she was a rejected Darkstalkers character concept, likely scrapped from Darkstalkers 3. This information comes from ex-Capcom community manager Seth Killian, who revealed this info at PAX West in 2010. Why she didn’t make the cut isn’t known, but whatever the case, she was given a second chance. When Marvel vs. Capcom 2 came out in 2000, Ruby was the main protagonist of the game.

Ruby herself is a french sky pirate that captains a flying ship known as the Partenaire. She commands not only her ship, but in her moveset, she even utilizes special treasures and artifacts. These artifacts allow her to command the waves, as well as pirate apparitions against her foes. She would work together with her allies Sonson and Amingo to try and take down an entity known as Abyss. Unfortunately, the fighters weren’t strong enough, and this forces Ruby to summon the forces of Marvel and Capcom to join their fight.

While the story is only briefly on display in Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Ruby Heart shows her importance all throughout. She makes for the first character to showcase the Capcom side of the roster during the introduction. She’s also one of the few characters that has a dedicated stage with the Airship. Voiced by veteran Japanese voice actress Atsuko Tanaka, she brings Ruby Heart to life with her powerful delivery. Tanaka had built a resume with both anime and video game roles, including Fushigi Yuugi and Street Fighter III: Third Strike (where she plays Chun-Li). Interestingly enough, her role is uncredited, as Marvel vs. Capcom 2’s credits just say “Secret” for the voice roles.

The only way to see more of the story is to defeat Abyss at the end of the arcade mode. No matter who the player completes the arcade mode with, the ending is always the same. Ruby Heart rides her airship in triumph while holding Abyss’ core. After a brief moment, she tosses the core into the sea, later spending time with the rest of the cast. There’s not much else to her role in Marvel vs. Capcom 2, but she’s a character that has many fans. While she might only be a mid-tier character, she makes a memorable impact in the game.

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 would see multiple ports throughout the years, but Ruby would only make small cameos in other games. For SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters 2 Expand Edition and SVC: Card Fighters DS, she would appear as a card. It wouldn’t be until 2011’s Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 that we would see her again, though sadly, not in a way she deserves. The “Days of Future Past” stage has a large poster in the background showing off several characters. Ruby is among them with the label “apprehended” over her image. It was a fun tease from the development studio, though the images did cause some uproar from the fans of the various cut characters.

Interestingly enough, shortly after Street Fighter V’s release, a character that took inspiration from Ruby Heart appeared on the Shadaloo Combat Research Institute site. This character, simply named Ruby, would be the younger sister of three characters based on the cast of the classic arcade game, Pirate Ship Higemaru. While this isn’t the true Ruby Heart, it shows that Capcom hasn’t forgotten about the character. In fact, there was a point in time where Capcom was heavily considering giving Ruby Heart her own game.

Back in 2013, Capcom was beginning to campaign a Japanese mobile game known as Dai Koukai Frontier. It was a pirate themed card game, originally intended to be part of Capcom’s Minna to series of games. With the discontinuation of that series, the name would eventually change. The game would star several new characters, but fans would notice Ruby Heart front and center of the cast. It’s very likely that Capcom saw the potential in the character and wanted to pursue a new game for her. Unfortunately, the game suffered from many delays, never seeing the light of day.

Dai Koukai Frontier was never officially canceled, but the official website did shut down in 2017. Honestly, we feel that Ruby Heart deserves better anyway. She’s such a cool character and she shouldn’t be limited to a Japanese mobile game. Of course, with such an interesting origin of the character, it makes one question what Capcom should do with her. Starting as a scrapped fighting game character and debuting in a crossover game, she’s in quite a strange spot. Regardless, Ruby Heart is a fantastic concept of a character, and we think it’s time to Bring it Back!

Ruby holds a slight advantage, as she’s in one of the most well known fighting games of all time. Tons of people know who she is thanks to the lasting appeal of Marvel vs. Capcom 2. With this advantage, the question becomes whether to make her a playable character in a fighting game, or to give her a true game of her own. Perhaps she could be Street Fighter V’s mysterious final character (as Ruby). Or maybe even better, we get a Darkstalkers 4 with Ruby properly back in the roster. That series is worthy of it’s own Bring it Back feature, but should it happen, Ruby Heart deserves her justice. Of course, if she gets her own game, it would be the biggest way to give her a breakout role.

What kind of game would suit Ruby Heart? Would she be best in a hack ‘n slash action title? Or perhaps a beat ’em up? Maybe she would be best suited in an action adventure game with strong exploration elements? Whatever the case, it would be for Capcom to decide. It would be a waste to drop her into another card game with her kind of potential. No matter the case, we haven’t seen a good sky pirate game since Skies of Arcadia. I think we’re a little overdue for something new.

What do you think? Would you like to see Ruby Heart appear as a new fighter in Street Fighter or Darkstalkers? Perhaps even in a new Marvel vs. Capcom game? Or would you rather see her get her own starring role in a game herself? Let us know in the comments below to tell us what you think. Also stay tuned for next week where we check out a classic Nintendo sports franchise.

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