Mortal Kombat: Ed Boon Interview
NowGamer: Mortal Kombat is going back to its roots for this game. What were your aims going into this project?
Ed Boon: Our goal and theme for this Mortal Kombat was a return on a number of levels. Mortal Kombat is returning to a mature presentation, returning to its original 2D fighting plane, and returning to the over-the-top fatalities that defined the series. At the same time this Mortal Kombat has the deepest fighting engine of any Mortal Kombat game.
From what we’ve seen of the gameplay so far, the combat system looks more complex that that of the original 2D Mortal Kombat iterations. In what ways does this new game draw inspiration from or attempt to match the complexity of 2D fighters such as Street Fighter or BlazBlue?
Mortal Kombat has always been a very accessible fighter, and we want to make sure everyone will have fun playing it. At the same time we are adding layers into the fighting engine that might be missed by the casual player, but will certainly give the hardcore players the depth they are looking for in a fighter.
Where does this game sit in the Mortal Kombat timeline? Will the plot do away with or reboot any characters or themes from the series mythology. What prevented the team from creating a pure reboot and start from scratch?
The story starts with and centers on Raiden as he is about to be killed by Shao Kahn following the events of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. With a final burst of energy he sends a message back to himself around the time of the tournament in the original Mortal Kombat. The new game follows Raiden as he tries to make sense of the visions and messages he is receiving from his future self. Going back to the events of the first few games has allowed us to “rewrite history” in a sense, which is something that is very appealing to us. There are definitely a few surprises in store for long time fans of the series.
The fatalities are back in full effect for this sequel. How did the team come up with these finishing moves? How has the team conflicted with, or had to really persuade censors to let some of the more grizzly finishers stay in the final game?
We have a Fatality meeting every few months or so where everyone gets a chance to present their ideas individually and from the reactions in those meetings we can get a pretty good sense of what will make it into the game, what needs refining, etc. You never know what is going to make it through the censor boards, so we don’t really operate with a “line” in place. but everyone has a good sense of what is too much.
Your previous instalment Mortal Kombat Vs DC had a 15+ age certificate here in the UK, how did your team persuade Warner Bros. to keep this game suited to the 18+ certificate the series is known for? In what ways does a lower age rating dilute the Mortal Kombat experience?
We were already in development on a mature rated Mortal Kombat before we made the transition to Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment so we didn’t have to do any “convincing” really. The lower age rating did mean that we had restrictions on what we could show on Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe. However, it also presented this great opportunity we have now in returning to Mortal Kombat’s original mature presentation. The reception we’ve had so far has been amazing.
Few fighters that have roots in the 2D format make the bold leap to 3D. Did you see your first attempt at bringing Mortal Kombat into 3D as brave at the time? What logistical and technical challenges did this shift in perspective bring to the table? Why have you now decided to go back to 2D?
Our goal with Mortal Kombat has always been to bring something new for each game. With Mortal Kombat 4, the technology to transition to 3D was available to us and it seemed like a logical evolutionary step. At the time, 3D fighters were definitely peaking and we felt that trend/direction was the way to make a dramatic change to Mortal Kombat. Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance was our first true 3D game in the franchise and it sold about 3.5 million games, so it seemed to work out for us.
Your team has grown smaller over the years. I say ‘grown’ because this new game appears more focused and more refined than any entry to the series so far. How has the switch to Warner Bros. affected the team and the way you approached this project?
I wouldn’t necessarily say the Warner Bros. acquisition has affected the way we approach the project. We have a pretty well defined pipeline. What Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has provided for us is the time needed to polish the game. They (we) want a quality product and that’s what we are going to deliver.
Want more Mortal Kombat check out the brand spanking new Mortal Kombat Scorpion trailer here