March 1st, 2006
11:50 PM CST -
At a press event in Los Angeles held yesterday, Midway annouced that they were expanding their support for Microsoft's Xbox 360 game download service by adding five more classic arcade games to the Xbox Live Arcade. Amongst the new games to be added to Midway's portfolio of Xbox downloads is a game which has never appeared in a Midway Arcade Treasures series, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. While no other details were mentioned other than the titles of the games, the announcement noted that the games were to be released during this year.

"We've been generally surprised by the response rate...the paid downloads are more than we expected," Midway CEO David Zucker told GameSpot. "It's not going to change our economic success overnight, but it's a nice little business on the side, and we're glad that people are happy with the product." Midway's chief executive also expressed interest in doing similar projects with the PlayStation 3 and Revolution, should they provide that functionality.

While it is not Mortal Kombat II, it would be quite interesting to see what type of multiplayer options, if any, Midway decides to include into Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. Another issue to keep track of is whether or not the Ultimate Kombat Kodes persist after entering them and unlocking Ermac, Classic Sub-Zero and Millena, unlike Smoke in the Midway Arcade Treasures version of Mortal Kombat 3.

Midway hits Arcade again [GameSpot]

+10 TRMKarma: sevendead
March 2nd, 2006
12:49 AM CST -
Midway released a patch Wednesday for the missing music tracks issue in the PC version of Midway Arcade Treasures 2 included in the Midway Arcade Treasures: Deluxe Edition compilation. While Midway calls the issue a "silent music issue" in their issue tracker, the nearly 80 MB file to download in order to fix this issue reveals what caused the problem. The answer is simply all of the music tracks were left out of the game's installer. The patch adds every music track for every game in the MAT2 collection, an unfortunate oversight.

Download the patch directly from Midway here: Mat2Music.exe (77.7MB)

While the addition of the music tracks adds a great deal of appeal back into Midway Arcade Treasures: Deluxe Edition, it simply puts it back on par to the console versions of Midway Arcade Treasures 2 and Midway Arcade Treasures 3. Minor issues such as shadow flickering, poorly designed start and pause button mappings causing a major feature to be unreachable (Smoke battle, MK2), and a new minor issue of Kitana's fan attack playing the "hit" sound when the projectile is blocked in MKII, seem to weaken the chances for this PC version to eclipse the almost 16 month old console release. If you have a current-generation console (PS2, Xbox, GameCube), you would probably be better off finding Midway Arcade Treasures 2 in a bargain bin somewhere as your console already features a controller capable of enjoying the MAT versions of the classic MK games to their fullest.
11:26 AM CST -
Midway has released the screenshots from the press event held in Los Angeles a couple of days ago. Our GameRealms for both Mortal Kombat: Unchained and Mortal Kombat Armageddon have been updated with 20 screenshots and renders.
3:28 PM CST -
MK Online has posted a presentation from the recent Midway Pulse press day in Los Angeles. In this video, Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon details several of the new features in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon including: Create-a-Fighter, Create-a-Fatality, an improved Konquest mode featuring multi-directional simultaneous combat similar to Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, an expanded Air-Kombat fighting system.

Boon also unveiled new unmentioned before Parry system that allows your character to avoid an opponent's attack, leaving them open for a "free hit" so well known in the Mortal Kombat universe. Mortal Kombat: Armageddon is scheduled for a Fall 2006 release on Sony PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox.

UPDATE: The transcript from the Ed Boon interview is now available.
4:47 PM CST -
We have posted the recent Mortal Kombat: Armageddon trailer from the Midway Pulse event. Enjoy one click convienence right here. Press play or click here if you would like to scale the video to a larger size.


March 10th, 2006
11:28 AM CST -
Press Start, a feature-length comedy movie featuring videogame themes, has announced an addition to their cast that would peak the interests of the Mortal Kombat fan. Daniel Pesina, best known for his roles as Johnny Cage, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Reptile from the first two Mortal Kombat arcade games, and Carlos Pesina, known for his work as Raiden in the first Mortal Kombat and most recently the man behind the majority of the motion capture work and fighting styles featured in Deadly Alliance and Deception, are lending their talents to the project.

It’s a thrill to have Daniel and Carlos onboard, beams director Ed Glaser. Not only are they skilled and professional, not only are they living videogame icons, but they have a terrific sense of humor about what they do. I think videogame fans are going to love seeing them in these roles. Viewers who realize that they’re watching the Real Deal will find that extra level of humor that makes their scenes just a bit funnier.

Press Start tells the story of a suburban youth in a videogame world who discovers his adventurous, if berserk, destiny when he's recruited by an ill-tempered ninja and a tough-as-nails space soldier to save the world from a tyrannical, but comically insecure, sorcerer.

Read the entire press release, and check out the production's blog.
March 15th, 2006
10:19 AM CST -
Game Informer has posted an interview with Ed Boon that touches on some further details on Mortal Kombat: Armageddon and Mortal Kombat: Unchained. Let's get to some highlights.

GI: One thing that seems pretty common among other fighters is when a player starts getting juggled, they cannot get out and seems to be a big frustration. How are you guys working around that?

Boon: There’s two things. One is the breakers that we had in the other game can be done in the air. The second is with the parries, which can also be done in the air. You will be able to time things and break out of things. One of the things with the aerial combat will be a sort of risk-reward. There will be opportunities for the victim to do things as well. So you could go for a long string combo, but you will have to slam me to the ground which will give me a chance to get out of it.

[...]

GI: When you are creating a character, will you have a set number of attribute points or something that you spend?

Boon: Yes, when you start off, you won’t have the ability to pick every single attack to assign on to your character. Everything that you do in the game we are trying to consolidate into one monetary system. So when you are playing the fighting game, you will be earning the same type of points as you would playing the Konquest Mode or any of the other modes in the game. With that currency, you can go back and purchase different kinds of moves and special attacks and keep building your character visually and skillfully.

In addition to the details on Armageddon, GI also inserts a quick Unchained question into the mix.

GI: I know you’re a fan of the PSP and now you have Unchained coming out. What was it like working with that hardware?

Boon: Well Unchained was developed in Santa Monica by a company called Climax. So we didn’t develop the game here in Chicago but there were a lot of issues that we wanted to address. We really wanted to keep the framerate very high. So we went in there and helped them optimize their code and the Wi-Fi linking - we really wanted to make sure that was tight. We did have a lot more exposure to the hardware than we normally would have when working with a third party, but the main work was done by Climax.

Then, Boon talks a little about the future and work being considered for the next-generation of consoles, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3

GI: So what excites you the most about next-gen development?

Boon: To me the most exciting thing is having the opportunity to start everything over. Brand new presentation, as many new characters as we can, a whole new fighting engine and just the whole starting from scratch. Creating something like Mortal Kombat 1, where no one had seen the game before or like Deadly Alliance where no one had seen that kind of fighting engine. This is another one of these opportunities to make one of these. So when people see it, there is going to be so much “new.”

[...]

GI: Do you think that online takes away from that [the arcade experience] or could it reach that communal aspect?

Boon: I think it can if you had an interface that promoted it. To me, in my head there is this virtual arcade that you walk into an arcade and you see people kind of World of Warcraft-ish - you know with the little name over their head. You can walk up to them and talk to them. See all of these quarters lined up. You could just say “Add my quarters.” And they pop up. DINK! I could just see people doing that. And then you have a button you push and the guy punches the screen and all of the quarters fall off. Stupid stuff like that.

Be sure to check out the rest of the interview.

+10 TRMKarma: Spine Rip
March 16th, 2006
5:15 PM CST -
A post over at Kotaku details information from a "mole" at Microsoft regarding the current state of where things are with the Xbox 360. Among the details was a quick quip about how problems with lag are holding up Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting from the Xbox Live Arcade. "Right now a lot of work is being done of Street Fight 2 because the lag is very bad and they are having trouble getting it playable online." Could this spell online doom for the recently announced Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3?

We should know whether or not a positive online experience is possible with the classic 2D twitch fighter when Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting is expected to make its debut online this month. Until then, get your appetite ready for Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 with this video of the game's "Supreme Demonstration" reward, highlighting every Fatality, Animality, Friendship and Babality from UMK3.


March 22nd, 2006
4:53 PM CST -
GameSpot has posted an updated hands on impression of Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting for Xbox Live Arcade from a recent Microsoft showcase event. SFII:HF is the trailblazer for all 2D twitch fighters being adapted for online play over Xbox Live Arcade. The success of the experience created by Capcom will set the bar for future 2D fighters, most importantly Midway's Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. While the single player game was functionally sound at the event, the online modes were unavailable for demoing after the lack luster build that debuted at a Capcom event in Las Vegas back in February.

Like other Xbox Live Arcade games, you'll be able to earn achievement points for fulfilling certain requirements. Some are easy, like simply playing a game with each character. Other single-player achievements include beating the game without losing a round, and so on. Online, you'll earn points for playing in 250 matches, winning 100 matches, reaching the top 10 leaderboards, and so on. Overall, there seems to be a good balance of easy and difficult points to earn.

So, what's the hold up? Well, presumably there's still work to be done on the online side of things. Considering that a fighting game is useless without a steady stream of competition, the online play will either make or break this one. Last reports put this game on for a March release, but we'll have to wait and see what Capcom is up to.

Although the impression states the game is still set for March, an accompanying video interview with Capcom producer Albin Pedroso stated that the game will be available in "Q2" of this year, which puts the title out to June at the latest. Pedroso states that the team working on the game are still hard at work trying "to optimize the code to recreate the best online experience for all users."
March 30th, 2006
10:35 AM CST -
Microsoft has updated the backwards compatibility list for original Xbox games on the Xbox 360. In this March 2006 update, three new games made it on the list: BLACK™, Star Wars Battlefront™ II and World Soccer Winning Eleven 9.

Along with the new games, several games were updated with bug fixes. The most notable part of this update was the omission of Mortal Kombat: Deception. During the Xbox 360 initial launch, Microsoft announced that Mortal Kombat: Deception was among the list of initial Xbox games that could be played on the Xbox 360. Unfortunately, the emulation was not playable at all, which we detailed in our Mortal Kombat: Deception on Xbox 360 feature. Shortly after our feature was published, Microsoft removed Deception from the backwards compatibility list in the December 2005 update, stating quality issues.

The earliest that Mortal Kombat: Deception could return was in this March 2006 update. Now that this update has passed without the reintroduction of Deception, Mortal Kombat fans will just have to wait a few more months to get their Mortal Kombat on Xbox 360 fix.
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