It's hard to believe that the Mortal Kombat is now 13 years old. It seems like just yesterday we were directing digitized characters to smack the pixilated red blood out of each other in arcades. Since that time, the series has seen its fair share of highs and lows, as most long-running franchises have. However, whereas some of MK's peers have faded into memory, this franchise is one of the few that has managed to stick around and actually evolve over time. The latest bit of evolution for the series is the upcoming MK: Shaolin Monks, an action game starring Liu Kang and Kung Lao set during the MK II era. Though previous attempts to branch the series out haven't gone over so well, Monks appears to be poised to shake that trend.
Though the game didn't make the best first impression when we got our initial look at it, due to a pretty rough showing, it has since come quite a ways. Midway and developer Paradox's collaboration has resulted in a unique game that takes a good chunk of the MK elements and marries them with action-platforming elements. The results we've seen most recently point to the game featuring solid gameplay that won't offend current fans and may well make some new ones. Above and beyond the gameplay, Midway and Paradox have peppered the game with a "who's who" of little touches that root the game in the MK II universe. We recently had the chance to talk to Ed Boon and Shaun Himmerich, who have been shepherding the title along its path to release, to get a closer look at how the game came together and how it's shaping up.