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April 3rd, 2009
9:02 PM CST -
First I must remind everyone, this is simply just a rumor at this point. Because the story is spreading around everywhere, we figured it deserved some coverage. There is no solid source to this beyond Kotaku's "sources" and any of our sources have not said anything to indicate this could be happening. So keep that in mind when reading this.

Kotaku is reporting tonight that sources at Midway are saying that the Mortal Kombat Team is looking to split from Midway. The rumors say that senior leaders in the Mortal Kombat Team are negotiating the moving of the team from Midway to another studio. Here is what Kotaku had to say about it:

The MK team, which comprises about 50 developers, is said to be in discussions with a handful of unnamed publishers, with senior members of the group handling negotiations for a possible exodus from Midway. According to Midway sources who wished to remain anonymous, one of the catalysts for the move is a lack of payment in bonuses due to MK team members based on meeting Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe sales targets.

Sources said that the Mortal Kombat team has become increasingly "frustrated" with the handling of Midway's bankruptcy filing. MK staffers also expressed irritation from being in the position of delivering million unit-selling titles on time and on a bi-annual schedule while other projects at the company languish in development.

I am not surprised to hear about discussions with other studios by some members of the team, because of Midway's difficult financial situation. But I am rather surprised that this information would be leaked by anyone part of the group looking to leave Midway. I would assume that if it were true, this is a very delicate situation that could become much more difficult if this news were to leak out prematurely. So if there is any reason I don't trust this rumor it is because of that. Usually when a team, or part of a team, departs their company the news breaks only after it has already happened.

The article then later goes on to discuss the upcoming Mortal Kombat 9, and how the team if they were to leave would be upset to leave the upcoming game behind.

If the MK team—who are apparently not under contract at Midway—does find a new studio to call home at a publisher other than Midway, the fighting game franchise may not go with them. That, as well as having to abandon work on the follow-up to MK vs. DC, tentatively titled Mortal Kombat 9, was going to be "tough."

I've already seen a few instances of this being misinterpreted. What this basically says is that, unless Midway themselves is in on this plan, it is likely the Mortal Kombat franchise will not be following the departing team to another publisher. So obviously the team leaving the in-progress game behind would be very "tough" but necessary thing for them to do.

Until we hear more, I would still chalk this up to a rumor and please try to keep your thoughts on the issue a bit rational until more solid information is revealed. Rumors are just that, rumors, until facts confirm or deny them. Any fan of the Mortal Kombat series should understand that fairly well.

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April 6th, 2009
2:51 PM CST -
Last week TRMK forum member and MK combo expert ded_ and his associates have completed their final combo video, Infini2. The video covers all the remaining infinite combos in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 Arcade, "regardless of their usefulness."

ded_ says there are some hidden Easter eggs in the video, but that you may have to download it from ultimatemk.com if you can't see them in HQ YouTube version embedded above.

Come back next week when Mortal Movie Monday for another great video. We're always looking for great clips to showcase, so don't forget to suggest us a future video to be featured.

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April 10th, 2009
10:44 AM CST -
Yesterday GamePolitics.com reported that Midway Games's mysterious current owner Mark Thomas has filed a document last week before a hearing with the US Bankruptcy Court - District of Delaware . In this new document there are many mentions of Midway's current cash flow situation and how the whole sale of Midway came to be. You can read the document here.

The document states that the company will run out of money come June while Kotaku states that Midway Games has told them that they can exist until August at the current rate. Also mentioned in the article is the statement that Marc Thomas feels that Midway has overstated the value of the Mortal Kombat franchise. The contents of that section are redacted for it is very sensitive information at this time still because of possible other negotiations going on behind the scenes. So there isn't much to learn about there at this time.

Midway still has until June 11th, 2009 to file their Plan of Reorganization with the courts. At that time we will all have a better idea of Midway's plans to hopefully escape from their current financial woes, including where and how they'll be able to finance the company's budget moving forward. Until then, we at TRMK wish all our friends at Midway Games and the MK Team the best in making it through this tough time.

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April 20th, 2009
8:58 AM CST -
This week's Mortal Movie Monday featured video is the cinematic opening sequence to the game Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks. There are actually two reasons why we're featuring it. The first reason is there has been a lot of rumors during the past year that Midway's LA Studio has been developing a sequel to the highly successful Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks that may arrive sometime later this year. It's been a while since we've heard anything, but I suspect if there is more to be known we'll know it sooner than later.

The other reason is also a use of this cinematic video during the movie Crank: High Voltage that just opened this weekend. During the first half of the movie, there is a scene where the doctor played by Dwight Yoakum is seen watching the cinematic intro to the game seen below. It was an unexpected and cool showcasing of the game. It is possible it is meant to be some tie in promotion for the rumored upcoming game. But I personally think that is stretching the reference a bit much, as the Crank series has many homages to various video games. The movies themselves feel like a live action video game actually. They are great fun if you haven't seen them yet, I highly recommend them.

I'd also like to apologize for skipping last week's video, I was away at the Chicago Cubs' opening day game and I didn't have a video ready to go before I left.

Come back next week when Mortal Movie Monday for another great video. We're always looking for great clips to showcase, so don't forget to suggest us a future video to be featured.

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April 25th, 2009
1:47 PM CST -
This week has been filled with good news for Midway Games in their continuing bankruptcy proceedings. According to the Wall Street journal, Midway filed court documents earlier this week stating that they came to agreement with their unsecured creditors over employee bonus plans. The unsecured creditors were upset with the terms and amounts of the previous bonuses. Because the agreement, Bankrupcy judge Kevin Judge approved Midway's updated employee bonus plan. The old bonus plan was the one that sparked a lot of premature rumors about Midway selling off Mortal Kombat.

Under the approved plan, Midway is allowed to distribute two rounds of bonuses if certain goals are met. The first $600,000 may be distributed if the company enters an asset-purchase agreement with a stalking-horse bidder for at least $30 million. Filing a plan of reorganization would also trigger the payment.

The second milestone - which could provide employees with upwards of $1 million in total - requires the company to gain approval of a plan of reorganization or liquidation that fully repays Midway's lenders. The closing of a sale would also entitle the employees to extra cash. If the sale proceeds are $30 million, the employees will share a $1 million pool. For every additional $1 million the sale yields, the employees will share $75,000 more

Image: MCV
Further good news came from a few reports of a potential bid to be made by one of the aforementioned unsecured creditors, Warner Brothers, to purchase Midway Games. Previously the court along with WB and the other creditors had reached a target sales price for Midway to be $30 million. Warner Brothers is said to be particularly interested in some key franchises that Midway Games has like Stranglehold and of course Mortal Kombat. Warner Brothers also has many ties to the Mortal Kombat franchise, so it could give them many reasons to want to own the franchise.

Of course Warner Brothers is the owners of DC Comics and assisted in the development of the latest MK game Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe. Warners also owns the distribution rights for the two previous Mortal Kombat movies. In the late 1990s the company behind distribution of the Mortal Kombat movies, New Line Cinema, was purchased by Warner Bros. So this may give them even more interest in Midway Games, especially with them hopefully thinking of bringing the movies to the Blu-ray HD format sometime soon. This doesn't give new hope for a new movie just yet, as the license rights are owned separately by Threshold Entertainment.

Image: Wikipedia
Also Warner Bros. is no stranger to the video game business either. In the late 70s they purchased Atari Inc from founder Nolan Bushnell. After the video game crash of 1983 nearly shut it down, it was sold to Pac Man developer Namco in 1985. Then, not even 10 years later in 1994 Warner Bros. repurchased Atari from Namco and renamed it Time-Warner Interactive.

During this period, Time-Warner Interactive produced arcade games like Primal Rage, Area 51 and San Francisco Rush under the Atari Games brand. Then in 1996, Time-Warner Interactive was sold to Midway Games in 1996. Midway Games later renamed it Midway Games West, and it existed until 2003 when closed that division. So if this were to go through, Warners would be basically re-purchasing part of the old Atari Games they've owned two other times in the past, along with all the intellectual property that Midway Games has created as well over the years.

Stay tuned for further developments, as it looks like the next few months could be very interesting.

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April 27th, 2009
10:17 AM CST -
This week's Mortal Movie Monday feature is a recently released fan made Mortal Kombat short film called "The Tobias Diamond." Created by InfluenceFilms, the film features some new storyline that follows Mortal Kombat characters Sonya Blade and Scorpion fighting over the mysterious Tobias Diamond. Here is the description of the film:

The popular video game characters Scorpion and Sonya Blade from Mortal Kombat come to life in this exciting fan film. When Scorpion harms Sonya Blade's partner so he can steal the Tobias Diamond, Sonya is instructed to go to Outworld and get the diamond back from Scorpion. However, she isn't only after the diamond, she is also after revenge for her partner. It isn't until Sonya catches up to Scorpion in Outworld that she realizes, she isn't the only person out for revenge - so is Scorpion!

The film is pretty interesting and worth a watch, also keep an eye out for many MK franchise references like the Tobias Diamond and a doctor named Dr. Boon. You can watch the video below, but also make sure to take a look at their website InfluenceFilms.com for more about them and their other films.

Come back next Mortal Movie Monday for another great video. We're always looking for great clips to showcase, so don't forget to suggest us a future video to be featured.
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