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January 2nd, 2007
9:39 PM CST -
Gamasutra.com was privileged to visit Midway Chicago's offices to talk with studio head, Scot Bayless. In the interview a few ideas about how the studio decides where to spend their time and effort in developing ideas that not only will make a lot of money, but makes sense for their intellectual property and branding they've built with long running franchises such as Blitz and Mortal Kombat.

When pressed, Bayless believed that bringing Mortal Kombat to the Nintendo DS might sell a lot of copies, it just didn't make sense to him to have the time and effort put into a project that wouldn't further the franchise.

"But to be honest, I would be skeptical about putting an M-rated, unlicensed football game on certain platforms. That platform is aimed at an audience that isn't interested – or if they are interested, their Moms and Dads won’t let them play it."

"The same is true of Mortal Kombat. I'm not going to be a big fan of putting it on Nintendo DS. It would be hard for me to believe that's a good idea. It might even be able to make some money, but it's not a great use of our time."

On the other hand, with Mortal Kombat: Armageddon heading to the Nintendo Wii early this year, Bayless seems very excited about the potential for the Mortal Kombat development team to come up with some very unique and over the top ideas.

"Our goal is to create great IP,” Bayless concludes. "And to project that IP wherever it makes sense. So are we excited about Wii? Yeah, actually, we are. You should see the proposals that are showing up in my inbox. It’s awesome."

"My experience at the - E3 - show was, this-" Bayless makes broad, sweeping arm motions "-doesn’t work. Or it works kind of marginally. What did work was this-" Bayless makes controlled, tight motions. "I think that makes a pretty big impact on how you design your game."

"The other thing all fighters live and die on is responsiveness," he continues. "Right now, there are some profound questions about that controller and timing. But is it interesting? Is it an interesting problem? Heck yeah!"

Despite a Wii version of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon announced for spring of 2007, Bayless remains generally hesistant about bringing Mortal Kombat to a platform known to draw a young audience, adding, "Is there something else we might do with Mortal Kombat that could be appropriate for that audience? Maybe. We’re actually kicking some ideas around. Does this mean Mortal Kombat for Kids? Bayless laughs. "We can’t tell you what they are, but they’re pretty cool."

While there may never be a new Mortal Kombat game on the Nintendo DS, it seems like the MK Team is hard at work at creating a unique experience for the Nintendo Wii and the next Mortal Kombat for the latest generation of consoles. Read the rest of the interview over at Gamasutra.com

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January 5th, 2007
2:15 PM CST -
Thanks to everyone who entered our December 2006 contest. The winners have been selected and notified. The following ten people will be receiving a copy of the Official Mortal Kombat: Armageddon Strategy Guide by Prima Games.

Chris B. (Indiana)
Andrew M. (New Zealand)
James N. (Canada)
Stefan V. R. (Belgium)
Thomas S. (Denmark)
Rodney R. (California)
Rob L. (The Netherlands)
Patrick G. (Australia)
Zach E. (Canada)
Steve N. (California)

Wow! Look at all of those International readers! We'll start sending these guides out next week. Thanks again to Prima Games for providing the strategy guides for the contest. Congrats to the winners and stay tuned for our next contest!

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4:57 PM CST -
Shortly after the release of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, community outcry began after it was discovered that none of the characters in the game had any in-game bios. Questions were abound with how Motaro lost his hind legs, or where in the heck Stryker had been for all of these years. Several vocal MK Team members were upset with the fact that the bios were done, yet didn't get put into the game. These individuals vowed to release them in some fashion to the public. Now, Midway is making good on their plans and have been releasing bio images of characters on the question mark page over on the Official Mortal Kombat: Armageddon Website. So far, the three character bios have been released are Fujin, Sareena and Kenshi. Check them out below.

Continue to keep checking the question mark page for more bio updates. Thanks Glamador.

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January 6th, 2007
12:33 PM CST -
Midway has released the final boxart of the Nintendo Wii version of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. Slated to be released in March 2007, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon for the Nintendo Wii will bring the final iteration of 3D Mortal Kombat fighters on last generation consoles to Nintendo's unique and hot selling console. Featuring an unknown control scheme that is rumored to use both the wii remote and nunchuck attachment, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon for the Nintendo Wii will be an interesting twist on the 3D fighter genre.

Mortal Kombat: Armageddon is the last chapter in the current generation of Mortal Kombat games. Featured initially only on Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation 2, the game has the largest roster of characters and also features a new "kart" racing mini-game dubbed Motor Kombat. Armageddon also features a new konquest adventure mode game and also touts the first ever Kreate a Fatality and Kreate a Character mode which allows you to customize your very own Mortal Kombat fighter and customize many different ways to kill them.

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January 8th, 2007
9:22 AM CST -
Midway announced today that it has shipped 1 million units of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon worldwide on Microsoft Xbox and PlayStation 2. This feat joins other accomplishments from the franchise as Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks previously achieved this retail goal. Armageddon was never released for Microsoft Xbox in European PAL territories, making the achievement a bit more difficult to reach. Worldwide shipped units is a measurement of how many copies retailers have ordered and do not reflect how many of those units have been sold to consumers.

"For the last Mortal Kombat on current generation consoles our Chicago studio continues to deliver on amazing gameplay and intense fighting action that fans have come to expect and love from this long-standing franchise," said David Zucker, president and CEO, Midway. "We're extremely pleased to see that Armageddon has received an enormous amount of praise from both the media and consumers alike."

Also tucked inside this press release was an update to the release date of the Nintendo Wii version of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. Featuring "exclusive features and game modes," Armageddon for Nintendo Wii is now scheduled for release in April 2007.

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10:00 AM CST -
Hardcore Mortal Kombat arcade fans will finally get their long awaited wish granted this year as Sony Online Entertainment announced today that it has struck a licensing deal with Midway to develop and release six classic arcade games, including the franchise gem Mortal Kombat II, on the PLAYSTATION Network, the downloadable game service for Sony's PLAYSTATION 3. In addition to Mortal Kombat II, Gauntlet II, Joust, Rampage World Tour, Rampart and Championship Sprint were chosen to make an appearance on the PLAYSTATION Network specifically for their multiplayer capabilities. The first of the six titles will be released for download on the PLAYSTATION Network in early 2007.

"We knew these titles would be a perfect fit for the PLAYSTATION Network, and based on Sony Online Entertainment's legacy in the online space as well as their intimate knowledge of the PLAYSTATION Network, it was an obvious decision they would be a top company to work with to bring this project to fruition," said Steve Allison, chief marketing officer, Midway.

It is an absolute certainty that all of these titles will feature online multiplayer. Given the technical success of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 on Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade service, an online multiplayer version of Mortal Kombat II is truly a momentous occasion for classic arcade Mortal Kombat fans.

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January 9th, 2007
10:02 AM CST -
Sony Online Entertainment is showing off the recent announcement of six Midway titles for the PLAYSTATION Network out at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. GameSpot was out at CES and got some playing time with Mortal Kombat II a few more details on the game. In the article, it was revealed that Digital Eclipse, the same company behind all of Midway's recent arcade ports, is the developer behind the conversion. The title will support 720p and feature online multiplayer as well as online leaderboards. There are no plans for a graphical update to any of the characters or stages.

The version of the game we played was extremely early but was looking like it was well on its way towards matching the quality of the best MKII conversions. Though early, the game already featured a full roster of fighters, stages, and the assorted finishing moves that were the introduced in the game. Best of all, the title ran at a good clip and felt about right, which bodes well for the final game.

Mortal Kombat II, along with five other classic Midway arcade games, will be released for download on the PLAYSTATION Network for the PLAYSTATION 3 starting early 2007.

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January 23rd, 2007
10:04 AM CST -
GameSpot has broken the first details on the Nintendo Wii version of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. In an e-mail interview with series co-creator Ed Boon, GameSpot uncovers that the game controls are customizable and will give the player the option to play with every control option on the Wii, including just the Wii remote, Wii remote and nunchuck attachment, Classic Controller or the GameCube controller. In addition to the interview, here's a video from Midway of Ed Boon explaining how the control scheme works with special moves and Kreate a Fatality.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

When you play it, you will notice that every single super move in the game is controlled by a Wii gesture system; also, the fatality systems will use the gesture system. For example, to do a move like throw Scorpion's spear, you will swing the Wii-mote away from your enemy and then bring it back toward your enemy, as if you are throwing the spear yourself toward the enemy, in an "away-toward" motion. It makes all of the moves feel more visceral, and it feels like you are more directly doing the action over just button presses. We want the controls of MK: Armageddon to be the biggest feature of this game on top of all of the content it already has.

In addition to the control scheme, new features for the Wii version will include Unchained's Endurance Mode, which is a battle against 20 opponents in succession with only one health bar. Online functionality will not make it as Nintendo didn't have the development tools available to the MK Team in time.

Mortal Kombat: Armageddon for the Nintendo Wii is scheduled for an April 2007 release.

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January 26th, 2007
11:42 AM CST -
Work is currently in progress for the holy grail in classic arcade Mortal Kombat fans for an online multiplayer version of Mortal Kombat II. In the same fashion that Digital Eclipse worked with Microsoft in debuting Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 for Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360, Sony Online Entertainment is working with Digital Eclipse to bring Mortal Kombat II on the PLAYSTATION Network for Sony's PLAYSTATION 3. The first screens have been released for this title, which will most likely feature a stretch widescreen option from the Xbox Live Arcade version of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.

The first of the previously announced classic Midway arcade games are scheduled to be released in "early 2007". Hopefully classic arcade Mortal Kombat fans will be able to play multiplayer online in both Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and Mortal Kombat II on both the Xbox 360 and the PLAYSTATION 3. But for now, each game is slated to remain only on one platform.
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