Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe Q&A

We catch up with Ed Boon to find out more about the upcoming fighting mash-up from Midway featuring Mortal Kombat.

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GameSpot: Now that the news has been out for a while, what do you make of the reaction?

Ed Boon: The initial reaction was a pretty universal "WTF?" There were quite a few people who were very vocal about their opinions and a good number of them were objecting to the idea. At the same time, we understood that this was a reaction to an announcement and a teaser trailer that didn't give many specifics about the game. When little information is released, there are a lot of assumptions and speculation made by people, some of which quickly become (incorrect) facts. Fatalities is a great example of this. I was surprised to see so many stories stating (with so much certainty) that the game wasn't going to have fatalities. As if we made an official announcement. We knew that eventually people would learn the truth and all the confusion would be cleared up. In an odd sort of way, I was actually impressed to see how much passion the MK fans still have for the series. If they didn't care, you wouldn't have seen anywhere near the volume of discussion that came from the announcement.

A sight many never expected to see.
A sight many never expected to see.

GS: Is it what you expected? Has there been anything surprising?

EB: To some degree, it was what we were expecting, but not at the intensity level and not the volume. We were really surprised how much of the media that don't normally cover video game news covered the story. We were also surprised by how much speculation and assumptions people made about the game after seeing practically zero gameplay. Again, the MK fans never cease to amaze us. If anything, the intensity of their reaction has inspired us to make the game even better.

GS: How has it gone down with DC? You're obviously used to the Internet percolating over game announcements, but this is probably new ground for them. Did you need to explain anything to them?

EB: Going into this, we've had a number of conversations with DC about what people's reactions will be. We have been pleasantly surprised as to how cooperative DC has been with us. They understand that their universe isn't as violent as Mortal Kombat's and that there would be a lot of assumptions that the game would be a "watered-down MK." So from that standpoint, we know that is where a lot of player's concerns would be. With that, our discussions with DC are mainly based on individual items that may or may not be too violent or are not in brand with their characters. Certain animations, blood effects, and sound effects that we have in the game are really pushing the T-rating envelope.

GS: Did you see any reactions out there that stood out as being valid or totally off base?

EB: In terms of valid responses, I've been surprised at how many people are recognizing all the assumptions that are going on. People who've pointed out the obvious of "nobody has even played the game yet" have a very valid point. On the other hand, the people who have assumed things like there will be no blood or fatalities in the game have been totally off base. Unfortunately, this assumption has been made by a good number of players and even some of the press, but you really can't fault them when so little information has been officially announced. Again, over time, all of the details will be revealed.

GS: Did you see any speculation on the roster that nailed it or came close?

EB: I don't think I saw a list that got all of the characters right. But I did see quite a few people using common sense to guess at which characters would be included, and those were the ones who got the most number of characters correct.

This is not a dance--this is fighting.
This is not a dance--this is fighting.

GS: Has reaction influenced development at all?

EB: To some extent, yes. The MK team definitely wants to please the fans. That has always been our number one goal. At the same time, we understood that a lot of the reaction was from speculation and rumors, so we didn't change things based on someone ranting (incorrectly) that the game was not going to have fatalities. Still, we didn't ignore the reactions as they certainly reinforced how important certain aspects of Mortal Kombat are to the fans.

GS: How's work going? What's gotten done since the announcement?

EB: Since the announcement, we've been in full production mode. A lot of content is being added into the game. Arenas, character models, animations, and sounds. We've also been cranking very hard on our Story mode, which is really going to tell a great story from two perspectives (MK-side and DC-side) that answers all of the questions people have about how these two worlds collide. In addition, we've been refining our different fighting modes (Klose Kombat and Freefall Kombat), so they look, feel, and play just right.

GS: How challenging has it been to revamp the fighting system?

EB: It's been a pretty big challenge. At the same time, it's been nice to reboot the fighting mechanic once again. One of our main points of focus has been the balance between the normal fighting mechanic, the Klose Kombat, and the Freefall Kombat. We want to make sure the amount of time you play in each of these modes feels right.

GS: Have you made any more headway on the fatality versus finishing moves?

EB: Yes we have. All of the MK characters and all of the DC villains will have fatalities. The DC heroes who don't kill that often will have brutalities that will function just like fatalities but don't actually kill the opponent.

GS: What can we look for at E3?

EB: We will be showing four characters and two arenas.

Batman isn't much of a killer, so expect brutalities out of him rather than fatalities.
Batman isn't much of a killer, so expect brutalities out of him rather than fatalities.

GS: So now that the door's been opened with MK vs. DC, do you think fans might get MK vs. Street Fighter?

EB: I've never held back my enthusiasm for doing a project like MK vs. Street Fighter. I still think it would be a blast to do. But the reality of the situation is that we are two different companies. That's a tough obstacle to overcome. It's kind of like doing Tekken vs. Virtua Fighter, Die Hard vs. Rambo, Coke vs. Pepsi, "Family Ties" vs. "Growing Pains," Alien vs. Preda...never mind...you get the idea.

GS: Thanks for your time.

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