Recent News
Evo Online Cancelled Amid Misconduct Controversy
Publisher withdrawls lead to cancellation.

Just days before the start of the first Evo Online open championship; the tournament series has been cancelled amid allegations of past sexual misconduct by Evo President Joey "Mr Wizard" Cuellar. Over 1,350 players had registered to participate in the Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath tournaments, scheduled to take place late in July.

NetherRealm Studios was among the first publishers to announce their withdrawal of support for the organization via Twitter, declaring intentions to have Mortal Kombat 11 pulled from the Evo Online schedule. Evo mainstay Capcom posted a similar statement in solidarity for persons affected, with Namco Bandai, and Them's Fightin' Herds developer Mane6, echoing the decision.

Evo announced it had placed Cuellar on administrative leave on July 2nd after accusations began to circulate of past sexual misconduct. An unspecified third party investigation was also promised.

With the withdrawal of support from major backers and participants, including 2020 Evo Mortal Kombat Champion Sonic Fox, the organization announced Cuellars complete extrication from Evo the next day, and the cancellation of the event. Tony Cannon has been appointed acting CEO, with a commitment to refund players, and pledge to uphold their donations to Project HOPE: a humanitarian charity already set to receive proceeds from the event. The statement is included below:

Among the allegations are stories of ritual hazing at the Southern Hills Golfland arcade in the late 1990s. These alleged incidents include paying young male patrons gaming tokens to dive into miniature golf hazard pools, in their underwear, for prolonged periods. One particular claim alleges Cuellar, in his twenties, paid a 17 year old boy $20 to arouse and expose himself in the privacy of a toilet stall. The legal age of consent in California is 18.

Joey Cuellar has not publicly responded to specific claims, but did issue an apology for his past behavior, via Twitter. He accepted responsibility while attributing past actions to youth: "I'm sorry. I never meant to hurt anyone. I was young and reckless and did things I'm not proud of. I have been growing and maturing over the past 20 years, but that doesn't excuse anything. All I have been trying to do is become a better person. Once again, I'm truly sorry."

It was a tumultuous path for Mortal Kombat 11 to this year's Evo. In February it was a surprise omission from the tournament lineup, before the global spread of COVID-19 forced the annual Las Vegas event to cancel. MK11 was reinstated in May as one of four Evo Online open events - a testament to the use of GGPO rollback in online play since 2016.

Warner Brothers and NetherRealm Studios, like other corporations, have invested significant resources into rapidly developing new and existing infrastructure for organized competitive gaming based around their titles. Despite a push towards a model loosely based on professional sport, with increasing stakes of prize money and mainstream broadcasting; relatively little attention appears to be given to industry regulation or external review.

Events like Evo have grown out of grassroots arcade scenes and continue to attract participation from a vulnerable teen and young adult demographic not dissimilar to the aging organizers who came before them. The potential for corruption within the culture has been self-evident. In July 2015, Turtle Entertainment took a revolutionary step toward professionalism by introducing drug testing to reform the Electronic Sports League.

The Evo World Championship has been an industry leader, creating one of the largest single gatherings for players, and a mainstream lightning rod for fighting game's so-called eSports. As gaming and other industries confront the skeletons in their closet, including other reports of sexual abuse, it remains to be seen if Evo will be able to bounce back in 2021.

Mortal Kombat Mobile Mileena Proof of Concept Artwork
Artist shares behind-the-scenes design art!

When Mortal Kombat Mobile first launched in 2015, it was an extension of the then-current action found in Mortal Kombat X. In the five years since, NetherRealm has continued to expand the free-to-play lineup with unlockable characters ripped right out of the latest game. One of the artists who worked on the relaunch has revealed a proof of concept image that helped develop a new style for in-game cards. Take a look:

The dramatic digital painting shows Mileena in her main Mortal Kombat X design. It was posted to Twitter by WB Games & NetherRealm Studios artist Jaki Martinez, who explained: "This is an old proof of concept I did (last year I think? Maybe longer.) for Mortal Kombat Mobile when we were exploring a direction for the kards in the game. This was the style we went with."

MK Mobile introduced a new painterly sensibility to its character cards with the 2019 introduction of MK11 versions of Scorpion, Raiden, and Jade. The non-specific 2.0 rebranding was successfully launched last March.

Mileena did not return as part of the playable roster of Mortal Kombat 11, but it seems her image had some small impact on the design of MK Mobile. You can see more of her unique unmasked design in Mortal Kombat X Concept Art and learn about her role in the MK Mobile Mileena Breakdown. Find and discuss additional MK Mobile topics in the Mortal Kombat 11 forum.

McFarlane Toys Solicit Mortal Kombat 11 Kitana & Baraka
Wave 3 action figures!

McFarlane Toys has officially solicited Wave 3 of the Mortal Kombat 11 series of action figures. Kitana and Baraka will join the iconic lineup later this year as the sixth and seventh characters. Take a closer look in new photos:

Toyark shared the glamour shots, reporting expectations for pre-orders coming soon. The typically articulated toys will retail at an expected $19.99 for release some time in September.

Both figures were shown in the earlier prototype stage at February's New York Toy fair. McFarlane Toys released images from the display booth, which you can see by clicking the thumbnails above for a closer look. Waves 1 & 2 also included Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Raiden, Johnny Cage, and the previously previewed MK11 Spawn.

Do the new Kitana and Baraka measure up? Share your thoughts in the comments and tell us who you you'd like to see next! Find more toy news on the Media & Merchandise forum and discuss the latest game on the Mortal Kombat 11 forum!

Injustice: Gods Among Us Free to Download
Injustice for all!

It's been seven years since Injustice: Gods Among Us launched the heroes & villains of DC Comics into a new fighting game franchise. If you never got around to trying it out, or didn't upgrade, now is the perfect time: it's available to download for free on relevant platforms!

That's right! You can download the complete Ultimate Edition right now for no cost from PlayStation Store, Xbox One, and Steam with a 100% discount! Ultimate Edition includes all of the season pass downloadable content, including additional characters: Lobo, Batgirl, General Zod, Martian Manhunter, Zatanna, and Mortal Kombat's Scorpion! This offer will last until June 25th.

Earlier this month WB Games listed a technical role for development of next generation Injustice and Mortal Kombat at NetherRealm studios. At this date there is no confirmation of a prospective Injustice sequel. It's currently unknown if there will be any Injustice announcement made during the 24-hour DC FanDome virtual convention on August 22nd.

What do you think about free games? Let us know if you took advantage of the deal in the comments below. Find and discuss more from the world of DC Comics by diving in to the DC Universe Injustice forum!

NetherRealm Studios Lists Next Gen MK & Injustice Job
Who's next?

A new generation of console gaming looms on the horizon and NetherRealm Studios is apparently gearing up to take Mortal Kombat and Injustice into the next frontier. A WB Games job listing has revealed intentions to develop for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Read on for details:

A listing posted to WB Games Careers on June 4th is searching for a Principal Software Engineer to work on developing next generation graphics for NetherRealm Studios. The listing specifically cites both the Mortal Kombat and Injustice franchises, which have maintained a steady presence at the developer with alternating releases approximately every two years.

NetherRealm, a division of WB Games Inc., seeks a Principal Software Engineer – Graphics to drive the next generation console graphics vision for the Mortal Kombat™ and Injustice™ franchises. As a Principal Graphics Engineer you will work closely with the Lead Engineer and the rest of your peers to develop state-of-the-art graphics technology for the PS5, and XBOX Series X. Your domain will span the entire rendering pipeline and your responsibilities will include optimization, design, and implementation of pivotal new graphics technology.

First reported by The Game Post; the listing has naturally sparked speculation concerning upcoming sequels, with strong potential for a next generation complete edition of Mortal Kombat 11 also likely.

Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath has been given a limited disc release in North & South America. Additional downloadable content expansions are still expected, enhancing the value of any future re-release on new consoles. The studio last dealt with transitioning to new hardware in 2013, when Injustice: Gods Among Us was reissued with an Ultimate Edition port for the newly released PlayStation 4.

[Related Article: Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath Launch Trailer]

The news comes as speculation mounts over the reported potential sale of WB Games. The listing at least shows development continues in the short term, even if the future course for NetherRealm Studios remains slightly uncertain.

What do you think we'll see? Share your thoughts & desires in the comments below and indulge the deepest speculation in the Future Games forum. Find and discuss more from both franchises in the Mortal Kombat 11 and DC Universe Injustice forums.