Mortal Kombat developer to diversify in 2012

NetherRealm creative director Ed Boon says there's an "assumption" another Mortal Kombat game to come, but wants to work on new IPs on multiple formats, genres.

Mortal Kombat developer NetherRealm had a strong 2011. The Chicago-based studio released Mortal Kombat on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 to a warm critical reception, and the title has gone on to sell more than 3 million units.

This year, however, the studio is hoping to diversify. In an interview with GameSpot, Mortal Kombat co-creator and NetherRealm creative director Ed Boon talked about the Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition, its iOS project Batman: Arkham City Lockdown, and how the studio is seeking to branch out in 2012.

NetherRealm is seeking to expand beyond Mortal Kombat in 2012.

GameSpot: The Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition is pretty diverse. It has a movie, CD, downloadable characters, and more. How did you go about deciding what to include in the pack, and why did you include what you did?

Ed Boon: After the game was released and we did all the DLC--there's so much content to download--we knew that we were going to have like a Game of the Year Edition. We wanted to do like a celebration-type version. We've had so much DLC…four separate characters and all of the costumes, and we wanted to have everything packaged together. That was the main motivation for doing it. And the movie and the other items were things that marketing said, "Hey things are available, what do you think?" And our opinion was that anything that makes it that much more special is a win. So those were thrown in as well.

GS: The latest figure Warner Bros. announced was 3 million for Mortal Kombat sales. Is there an updated figure available? If not, what does it mean to you, and to NetherRealm, to have your game appreciated by so many?

"With our studio, we really want to diversify ourselves and work on multiple formats, multiple types of games, not just Mortal Kombat games."

EB: I've heard other numbers, but I'm not at liberty to say. But it's continuing to do well. And we're very happy with the fact that it sold as well as it did. And it really is the first high-profile title from our studio, so for us it was always a big deal, that we come out with a bang and really put us on the map. We couldn't be happier, and we hope that this is one of even better things to come.

GS: Mortal Kombat was the fifth most searched gaming item on Google in 2011. What do you think drove so many to Google your game?

EB: I didn't know that stat, so that's pretty cool, considering all the kind of crazy busy high-profile titles that have been released this year. So that's really a great stat. I guess it means that we're really glad that people enjoy our game. Keep in mind that this franchise is coming up on 20 years old, so from our standpoint that makes it that much more of an accomplishment because we're competing against much younger franchises, and it's just very hard to make a splash when you have so many other gigantic boulders falling onto the water, too. We're very happy with it.

GS: I saw on Twitter that you're hoping Microsoft points get phased out. Why is this?

EB: From my perspective, there's always been this translation that has to be done. When a game comes out it's 800 MS points, and what does that translate to? When I first heard about it, I always thought to myself, "Why would you do that?" And then after thinking about it, I thought, "Well, OK, it costs more per point, and then keep the prices point-wise the same," and I saw that value, but to me, I think it's just a simpler model. Everyone's gonna do the math, so why make them take that step? And I just think simpler is better.

GS: NetherRealm recently released Arkham City Lockdown for the iOS. Will NetherRealm continue to work on iOS projects, and what was it like developing it compared to a console game?

"I would be surprised if we never did another Mortal Kombat game again."
EB: It's surprisingly similar, but for not as long a time period. We're working in the Unreal environment, both in our console games as well as the iOS games, so there's a familiarity there. We can share our programming resources, which is great. Obviously, the iOS games aren't as long, in terms of how long it takes us to complete the project. As for future ones, we would definitely like to do additional iOS titles; we have nothing to announce at the moment, but that's generally something we want to do. With our studio, we really want to diversify ourselves, and work on multiple formats, multiple types of games, not just Mortal Kombat games.

GS: You're not saying anything about Mortal Kombat for iOS?

EB: No, not today.

GS: Also there was a rumor, which you debunked, that you're giving Mortal Kombat a rest. But what can you say to gamers eager about the next console Mortal Kombat experience, especially with next-gen rumors swirling?

EB: I would be surprised if Warner Bros. and us never released another Mortal Kombat game again. We don't have a title to announce, but if this last one sold over 3 million and counting, there's a certain amount of assumption that we'd consider doing another Mortal Kombat game. But at the same time, we want our studio to do more than just make Mortal Kombat games. We love making them but we also want to do different types of games. Different genres, different IPs. The Batman iOS game was kind of like us dipping our foot into that whole different types of games to do. We're going to continue in that direction, but I would be surprised if we never did another Mortal Kombat game again.

GS: So you would say 2012 will be a year of diversification for NetherRealm?

EB: Oh yes, without a doubt.

"The Batman iOS game was kind of like us dipping our foot into that whole different types of games to do."
GS: Some have said the future of the fighting game genre is character customization. What do you think about this, and what is your vision for the future of the fighting game genre?

EB: Character customization can be taken in such a broad range of interpretation. From my personal perspective, to say, OK well, let the player dress his character, put on a scarf, a belt, put other things. I think there's novelty to that, and it's fun, but I don't know how much weight that really carries. If you can modify things like the properties in certain attacks, or if they're carrying a certain weapon, changing that weapon. Make it a little more interesting. Now, it adds the challenge of you don't want someone creating this uber-character that beats everyone because he's so strong; there's a balancing issue there. But customization is great. But when it's just looks--aesthetics, costumes--I don't feel like that's as interesting or as deep as we all can go.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and is a big UCONN athletics fan.

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Discussion

59 comments
Mk_Fan_Flame
Mk_Fan_Flame

as a mortal kombat, i love mortalk kombat actually i grew up with mk, best games every year i was so eager to have an mk game come out but the best i would say would be mortal kombat armagedon the creating a fighter system really brong the game to glory the problem was, that it just wasnt free enough in the sense it would be awesome to create  a character fully customable, meaning that you could add your own moves change the colors of the moves give them your own poses but in a new way, more items to add on the character, not just one thing get me? more like lets say i want this glove for an arm and this cyber arm for the other, or adding diferent accessories, it would have been epic to play konquest mode like in shaolin monks but also as a custom character that you have created.

would be epic if it had better specials, most of the armagedon specials where horrible, we as fans would love to be able to put more then just a mask, for example i can put on visor glasses but no mask? see you have to make it more costumizable. would be awesome to actually face the people who died in mk9 who cam eback as dark souls, but definetly i would say that your charts would hit the roof or beyond if you guys did add another mk character creator, and let them have more freedom some peoples mk characts have telekenesis yet in armagedon all you could do was tele furry that was horrible, as a fan i felt like it was bad, but i couldnt complain because it had a create a fighter lol, you guys could do something baout the puzzle portraits for them, do something like soul calibur where you can make your own portraits for the characters...

I think you guys should stick more on the mk as a main thing, make it even better give it things that fans would love in a game just dont put naything with the number 666 or i wont be able to buy it. you guys shouldnt kill the mk games something i would really hate to see gone, my future dream was to always help create mk games with you guys, now im 20 lol still dont know how to make that dream happen yet, would love to hel edd boon and john obias with amazing ideas and characters and stories.. so yeah dont let us down guys you worked so hard on this game to give up on it at all and look how much fans you have millions... it would be like taking a piece of my child hood away would really suck.

josh1607
josh1607

As a mortal kombat fan I want to be able to make my own character and bring back all the charcters with open world gameplay story line we like games like this that has no limits this is what I want and would buy. Open world play like (deception) in story mode and create a character with endless powers i bet you top the sales charts. Where you failed with armageddon to me  there was a limit to what you could wear and the costum stuff you could do when creating open it up turn on the heat. Enovate in what we like and you will get them sales I promise.

lm316
lm316

a new IP??? meh... stick to MK, a new IP will not get sales

NoHotAshes
NoHotAshes

.....diversify us a PC version of MK9

Coolyfett
Coolyfett

MK9 was a great fighting game. Way better than Bash Bros.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

NetherRealm develop something besides MK titles? I'll believe it when I see it.

strayfies
strayfies

It's hard to say how much weight customization carries, but if games like CoH and the Sims are any indication, it does indeed carry weight.

DeadrisingX1
DeadrisingX1

Maybe a PC version of MK would be nice, if it's not too much trouble. :)

fogopop
fogopop

They seem to want to learn from Midway's mistakes and not put all of their eggs in one basket. It'll be interesting to see what they come up with. I damn sure want a new MK since the last one was the best in my opinion, If they just took that, added Friendships, Hara Kiris, and more recent characters like Bo Rai Cho, Moloch, Onaga, and Blaze, that would be fine with me.

TheoAlmighty
TheoAlmighty

add to the story mode at least... didnt like how it ended at all

Coco_pierrot
Coco_pierrot

The problem with caracter creation for a MK game is ... how you create Fatalities for it ??? It was the problem with MK: Armageddon. The link Fatality was dull and every caracter had the same Fatality in the end and to me it killed the joy of the Fatality ( for that game ). For me it would have been more interesting with some unlockable ... like hidden caracters or not having them all unlock at first. You have to finish the game or when you finish all Test your **** you get one new caracter. And yes new IP would be cool !!! As long as you cover MK 4,DA,D and Armageddon in the next MK.

monoalvarez
monoalvarez

IMO, the future of fighting games should add a character development system, sort of like in RPGs. Or at least a mode that includes irt. In that way you could evolve a specific character in a personalized way, unlock new powers and finishing moves and so on. That would be awesome, specially for online gaming.

Chaos_Dante_456
Chaos_Dante_456

I wouldn't mind seeing some DLC for all that other stuff Boon claimed the had planned/was working on, but couldn't put in the game due to time constraints.

Chaos_Dante_456
Chaos_Dante_456

@Fooljeff It's not illogical to think that character building could have some balance issues. It's already difficult enough to balance normal characters but to balance a whole system of customization would likely have way more issues. Besides I doubt devs would want to do all that extra work considering the content that is included in most fighting games

Fooljeff
Fooljeff

People who say character creator wouldn't be balanced don't understand competitive gaming. It might appear one build is slightly overpowered, but top tier players will learn to adapt and 6 months later no one will be using that build anymore. Meta game and player skill changes things. Anyone complaining about theoretical imbalance would be complaining about imbalance in premade characters anyways.

canderosn983
canderosn983

I would love to see them do MK on the next gen consoles instead of a new one just because it sold well. This way, they will have time to create another master piece. Think about it, new powerful system, new graphics, and it would look super real (which is what they were known for).

nate1222
nate1222

At least Boon acknowledges consumers' wishes. The elimination of MS points, the huge iOS/smart phone demographic, the desire to do "new" things... If it were an interview with most industry heads, they would've been too egomaniacal to acknowledge that stuff.

franzito
franzito

Diversify is always good, learn with the best!

leeko_link
leeko_link

Although I love a new Mortal Kombat game, there's always room for new IP to come by. Hopefully Netherealm Studio is cooking up some awesome titles in the future aside from just Mortal Kombat and DC games.

Sharky_vs_Venom
Sharky_vs_Venom

Doesn't sound too good. They finally mastered MK, I think they should focus on a sequel instead and release it next spring ! :)

Aentikraist
Aentikraist

as long as u keep giving me real MK games as this new one do whatever u want and consider the Friendship again!!!!! cmmon

blamix99
blamix99

i want a single player mortal kombat playing as scorpion or sub-zero will be very cool..

sammyd1234
sammyd1234

they should've included more content in the game, like costumes and character wise, in previous games we had heaps of characters but now they just narrow it down so they can release dlc and make more money, i hate that.

DrKill09
DrKill09

Please make a pc game. :D

newhighscore
newhighscore

all games should allow character customization. in some way, shape, or form. but we live in the age of dlc. so thats why all we get is color swaps. you want the cowboy hat, or that cool gun..you better pre-order or wait for the bundle to drop. smh

KBFloYd
KBFloYd

i hope another studio makes mortal kombat 10..because 9 sucked.

SeptuagintXXX
SeptuagintXXX

MK v. SF. do it. I would love to Finish Ryu.

VikingPhobos
VikingPhobos

I would love to see an MK vs DC in 2D like MK9. That'd be radical, or at least just a DC fighting game.

Henninger
Henninger

From a creative standpoint i understand where their coming from. I wouldnt wanna just keep putting out MK games either. From a gamer standpoint, I want another MK game!!! The story is totally different from the original story line so i wanna know whats gonna happen with Shinnok & Quan Chi. They didnt kill off Johnny Cage this time so i wanna know whats gonna happen with him. They killed off every1 else except for Raiden & Sonya so i wanna know if any1 from the the remake will make an appearence or r they just killed off. But take ur time Neatherealm cuz i dont want a rushed game.

Cataclysmm
Cataclysmm

i now alot of people is going to disagree with me when i say this but,i choose killer instinct over mk..i wish they had hype upkiller instinct more because it is a very underrated game,i really like killer instinct 1.

-DirtySanchez-
-DirtySanchez-

im pretty sure the whole lets make other games besides just straight up MK fighters is part of what made the MK series suck so hard, but hey if you wanna make the same mistake again then please do

Smokescreened84
Smokescreened84

That's why you would need a particular penalty system in it. Like if the character is strong kicks, they might not have such strong punches. Or someone who is more of a heavy set design won't be very fast. Having a penalty system to prevent being unbalanced, over powerful characters would allow for a more tactical side to how the player's created character would work. Like a fast attacker would have weak strength, but make up for that with a flurry of attacks that can be blocked if the opponent is fast enough to block. I tend to get bored of pre-mades all too often, especially more often than not you have something like a dozen or more male characters and one or two female characters. That's pretty unbalanced.

blacksaibot
blacksaibot

MK needed character customization; something cool to work for rather than just stupid Challenge Tower. I'm not asking for Kreate-A-Fighter.

Ringx55
Ringx55

I'm always happy to hear about a new IP :)

Grovilis
Grovilis

@Smokescreened84 Like others have said, character customization makes unbalance issues more probable. Also, I think that the feature would distract the devs too much. In my opinion, most of the time should be spent giving each pre-made character balance, individuality, nice animations and personality. Also, out of all the time I've spent playing the newest Mortal Kombat, I have yet to perfectly master a single character. Did I get pretty good with some of the characters? Yes. Did I master them? Heck no.

Smokescreened84
Smokescreened84

Character creation for fighting games can give that game a lot more life than with just pre-mades. Once you've mastered the pre-mades, if you do, then there really isn't much left to do unless you're the kind of player with no imagination. Being able to create a fighter, choose their gender - such a rare thing in the industry - clothe them however you like and play as you prefer is much more rewarding, allows the player to care for the character instead of being lumped with some generic character, and to give them a story if they wish to. I was disappointed that the recent MK game didn't have character creation, if it had I would have been willing to buy it.

dizz25
dizz25

Definitely supportive of diversification, but also happy there will be more Mortal Kombat. If I HAD to choose either way, I'd say stick with Mortal Kombat, because i just can't get enough of that franchise .. but at the same time, curious and optimistic about what else they are capable of.

Barighm
Barighm

In other words, WB wants more movie licensed games, sooner, and concurrent to the movie's release dates.

Superzone
Superzone

The new Mortal Kombat is the best fighting game of the last several years. I really hope another is on the way soon, but I think anything these guys make should be pretty good.

Grovilis
Grovilis

The next Mortal Kombat should have Havik. He was my favorite character from the 3D era.

MUKUSS
MUKUSS

Please put MK Trilogy on the XBOX LIVE & PS NETWORK.

AmnesiaHaze
AmnesiaHaze

i thought a next MK game is already planned judging by the teaser ending

slikjohnson
slikjohnson

I want to see another spawn game and I think NetherRealm could pull that off. There has not been a good spawn game since the Dream Cast.

Zephol
Zephol

i cant wait for the next Mortal Kombat! Shinnok returns!

King-gamer
King-gamer

Make a Mortal Kombat style fighting game with real actors like in the old MK games. Then give us a character creation that makes use of PlayStation Eye or Kinect, or even DS camera if it's on a DS, or phone camera on smartphones. Now we can put ourselves in the game!! If you do that with Fatalies Ed Boon, first thing I'll do is take a picture of the person I hate most, then perform a fatality on him several times. >:D

Joy-Stick
Joy-Stick

How 'bout a digitized Mortal Kombat?