Scott Ellison II - June 6, 2012
WB Games used E3 2012 to blow the lid off of NetherRealm Studios' next game after the critically-acclaimed and commercially successful Mortal Kombat (2011). While the DC Comics universe is no stranger to the Mortal Kombat development team, Injustice: Gods Among Us is a completely standalone franchise for the team lead by Ed Boon. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to sit down with Ed and ask some questions about NetherRealm's latest foray into the fighting realm.
Ed Boon: Oh wow, good question! I think we had another year of Mortal Kombat before the WB acquisition. I would say maybe a year or maybe a little less. We started to talk about it pretty early. In terms of actually working on the game, creating content, that was little bit later.
Ed Boon: Actually, yeah. WB was a really big fan of MK vs DC. We didn’t want to do a sequel to it just because we kind of feel like Mortal Kombat has this expectation and DC has this expectation and sometimes they conflict with each other. Sometimes it is impossible to fulfill both of them.
Ed Boon: Oh, it was always going to be a fighting game. Definitely.
Ed Boon: It’s always nice to do something new and different. We don’t want to release Mortal Kombat every single year and kind of get people burned out on it and what not. We like the fact that we’re going to be starting a series of games and be able to return to Mortal Kombat later with even newer ideas.
STORY & CHARACTERS
Ed Boon: I guess there are a number of variables involved with it. One is DLC is always an option, so we can expect that in. The second is that we’re probably going to be releasing information about new characters, additional modes in the upcoming months. I would make it comparable to what Mortal Kombat had for this game.
Ed Boon: The main criteria was, we knew we wanted to have a huge wide range of characters from the standpoint of size, ability, level of superpower. I think Superman and Batman are at two ends of the spectrum. Grundy is on this end. Harley is kinda of this end. One is a power character. So we wanted to have three power characters and three gadget characters to really kind of define how this whole thing is going to be mixed up.
Ed Boon: The “big guns” are pretty safe to say that we’re going to use. But we’re going to have a couple of obscure ones.
Ed Boon: Well, I think if we was in the game, we would probably do something kind of new with him too. But we don’t know at this point.
Ed Boon: Those guys are great. The thing that they really lend to it is there is a consistency with characters, how they behave, what they would say in a situation. They’ve been working with us for so long that they help us kind of keep the behavior of our characters consistent with how Superman would behave, how Wonder Woman would behave. At the same time, the story part - the plot, the details of the story - was mainly written in-house by the NetherRealm writing team.
Ed Boon: It’s interesting, MK vs DC actually was the first one with this type of “story mode” that would present things in a movie format where you would go in and out of fights. Then the Mortal Kombat game that we did last year kind of expanded on it. So, we want to do a detailed story mode, especially with these characters that have such a great opportunity to tell a story. As far as the exact format, or the exact way that you’re going to interact and suspend in the story, that’s something that we’re going to release a little bit later. But we were definitely happy with how things turned out with the entire single player experience of Mortal Kombat.
IMPROVEMENTS OVER MK9
Ed Boon: One of the things we did with Mortal Kombat is that we consciously added features that are kind of like for the tournament guys, like there are details that maybe the more casual player isn’t even going to pick up on, but the tournament guys are going to count frames, take things apart, cancels and all those kind of more advanced strategies. We want to expand that way with this game. We want this game to be a tournament game, like EVO and what not. But at the same time, it’s going to be attracting a lot of players that don’t normally play fighting games. So we really want to make sure that we still have the accessibility that Mortal Kombat has always had. While also layering in those deeper features.
Ed Boon: Yeah we’re definitely going to have character damage. Not all the characters wear armor though, like Grundy doesn’t have armor and Harley Quinn doesn’t have armor. The characters that traditionally would just have a skin type outfit, we want to make more visually interesting like armor and other stitching in their uniforms. Just to make things more contemporary modern.
Ed Boon: One of the things Injustice has that Mortal Kombat did not is the multiple arenas per environment. So that obviously takes up more memory. Having the transitions for falling down the shafts and landing on your head, all that crazy stuff like that takes up more memory. Then we also have these crazy Super Moves, Flash running around the world and Superman knocking someone into outer space is not free basically.
Ed Boon: Yeah, for sure.
Ed Boon: Oh even during Mortal Kombat we were constantly in the process of improving our network code. We always want every game to play online better than before. In Mortal Kombat we also had the issue with the [DLC] characters where you might download Freddy Krueger and if I didn’t have it then we couldn’t play against each other, that compatibility stuff. We definitely don’t want to go the route of putting it on the disc, because then there are objections to that. We feel like we need to devise a method to get the data onto everybody’s system. I think that’s actually something you will see.
Ed Boon: Not dramatically. I think there are things like how Back to Block has been part of Street Fighter and Tekken for many many years so it’s not like it’s going to be foreign concept to a lot of players. There are little things like how you can’t physically block when you are across the screen from someone. While that’ll effect the mechanics of the game, it won’t change up the entire game.
Ed Boon: I don’t think it’ll be an issue. Obviously we’re going to let players configure their button combos. Our button layout is nothing like Mortal Kombat but we have this fourth button for the [player specific special attacks], I could totally see players putting that where the Block button used to be.
Ed Boon: For me personally it’s the environments and the fact that they have features and objects that get involved in the gameplay.
Ed Boon: Exactly.
Ed Boon: Yes.
Ed Boon: Every character is going to have a variety of moves. They’ll all have one big devastating move that is kind of the equivalent of an X-ray move.
Ed Boon: I don’t know of a current plan to but it’s definitely still on the table.
Ed Boon: Sure thing anytime, thank you.