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MK ONLINE INTERVIEW WITH ED BOON - MIDWAY PULSE 2006

Scott Bishop - Hi, this is Scott Bishop with Mortal Kombat Online, the net's top Mortal Kombat resource at www.mortalkombatonline.com. I am here with Mortal Kombat series co-creator and project lead for Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Ed Boon. How are you doing today, Ed?

Ed Boon - Doing good, thanks.

SB - Okay, so... Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. The last game in the current generation lineup. The end of the current Mortal Kombat storyline.

EB - The end of this chapter.

SB - What brought about the idea of you to end - to end this chapter of Mortal Kombat on this generation of systems? What brought about this decision to bring a close to this part of Mortal Kombat?

EB - A lot of it was kinda based on the whole idea that this is the last Mortal Kombat we're going to see on the Playstation 3, X-Box, and we really wanted to start the next kind of generation of Mortal Kombat. It's on a new system, wipe the slate in terms of the fighting mechanic, wipe the slate clean in terms of characters. Right now we have some characters we know aren't going to come back; we have certain characters we know we have to bring back. Right now we have certain features we know we have to bring back. *unintelligble* But we really want the next game to be a dramatic change in the whole Mortal Kombat universe, and in doing that there were a lot of story elements that we didn't tie up, and we're doing all of that now.

SB - A number of fans have expressed concern that they believe - they are under the impression that everybody dies. Is there - this is not necessarily the case, though, is it?

EB - No, no, it's not necessarily the case. I mean, we're going to - we may have a bunch of characters die, we may have some characters die. We're certainly not going to kill every single character off. It's kinda speculation, I guess.

SB - Mortal Kombat: Armageddon features every single Mortal Kombat character, of course except for, say, Motaro, or...

EB - He's in there.

SB - He IS in there?

EB - Yes.

SB - You heard it here first, folks. (Note: I didn't remember that his presence was announced in the IGN article. Goof on my part.) What are the challenges in balancing the gameplay for that many characters? What kind of challenges did you encounter...?

EB - The big challenges, I think, are really related to - the main ones are related to the boss characters. You have Goro, Kintaro, Motaro, the Dragon King... all of those are much bigger characters, they don't move as fast, and they're obviously not going to be doing all of these kinds of acrobatic moves that the smaller characters are. We needed to kind of give them their own strengths to compensate for the fact that they can't jump as high, and that kind of led to that situation.

SB - Now, continuing on the gameplay, I noticed you, in addition to the Breakers - I noticed Breakers in the trailer - you also have a new Parry system. What other changes can we see to the ground gameplay, such as... will we see wake-up games, where characters can choose when their characters come up?

EB - With every Mortal Kombat there's been new ideas and stuff like that. We haven't shown every new element that we're going to add ... *unintelligible* You know we're going to be adding the jumping ability that we didn't have since MK4, and we'll also add - we're going to be adding the air combo system. We're going to do pretty much all the combo moves that you do on the ground, and all of the basic features like the parry, the combo breakers, stuff like that that you can do on the ground.

SB - As far as air kombat goes, how much of an influence would you say Shaolin Monks has had on that? From where I'm standing, it looks like there was a great influence from that game.

EB - I think that in the style of the combos that you do, that certainly has been influenced by Shaolin Monks. I was working *unintelligible* the mechanics of that game. But in terms of the jumping around, that influence was really from Mortal Kombats 1, 2, and 3. We wanted people to get that basic feeling of jumping over projectiles and all the basic moves we brought back.

SB - Now, with create-a-character...

John Podlasek sits down next to Scott at this point.

SB - We're joined here by John Podlasek, who is producer of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon.

EB - Podlasek. (Correcting my mangled pronounciation...)

SB - Podlasek. Mea culpa. Now...

Ed and John take this opportunity to toast each other.

SB - Let's skip over create-a-character for sec. Create-a-fatality, or fatalities in general: can we expect to see standard fatalities as in previous games in addition to create-a-fatality?

EB - Ah, no, actually. We really wanted to change the fatality system completely, and the point being that we wanted every step of the fatality to be something that the player controls. So, we're not going to have the standard fatalities where you put in a button combination and something happens. We want the player to be creative.

SB - Will specific characters be able to have, for example, signature moves in their fatalities? For example, will we see Sub-Zero freeze, or Scorpion do his hellfire, that kind of thing??

EB - Yes. Specific fatality moves will be tailor-made for specific characters.

SB - Now, what can you tell us about Konquest mode that's not been revealed just yet? We see that it's - again, a great deal of Shaolin Monks influence in it. Does it use the Shaolin Monks engine in it, or is it an extension of the previous Konquest engine?

EB - Uhm, truly, I think a lot of people compare it to Shaolin Monks simply just because it's *unintelligible* plus you're fighting with a whole bunch of enemies at the same time, and it's similar in that you're doing the *unintelligible* and punching, But it doesn't really play like Shaolin Monks. Shaolin Monks has a lot of more of the aerial kind of moves. *unintelligible* tailor made for this.

SB - Going back to characters, how many new characters can we expect to see in Armageddon?

EB - Uhm, at least one. I mean, I guess with Armageddon we really wanted to make it the big roster. The new Konquest character is unlockable. The main emphasis is going to be bringing back all the classic characters that we haven't seen like Sheeva, Fujin, and Stryker.

SB - Now, finally, this is the first game - no, this is the last game on the current generation system.

EB - Or is it? *laugh*

SB - It's the last tournament fighting game.

EB - Right.

SB - Can we expect to see 360 compatibility out of the box?

EB - For the X-Box 360?

SB - Yes.

EB - Uhm, I think we're doing everything we can for X-Box 360 support.

SB - And what can we expect to see from the other side of Mortal Kombat? For example, you're branching out - started branching out with the action/adventure games... again, Shaolin Monks. What concepts can you tell us about that you're looking at for the next Mortal Kombat game? For the next side game?

EB - The next game is actually going to be called Shaolin Monkeys, and it's kind of like ...

JP - *monkey screech*

EB - ... exactly. It's going to be like, it's Mortal Kombat in a zoo. Two monkeys escape, and they have to have a... they have the same powers as Liu Kang and Kung Lao. We're just going to basically expand on that whole story. *pauses, then laughs*

SB - ... I had to ask. For Mortal Kombat Online, this is Scott Bishop...

John screeches like a monkey again, and all three crack up.

SB - ... having more fun than we are really allowed to have. Thank you, and good night.

    
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