News Archive - October, 2012
Injustice: Gods Among Us Box Art Revealed
Joker and Green Lantern Join the Fray

Netherrealm Studios has revealed the official cover art for Injustice: Gods Among Us!

The cover features Batman and Superman duking it out over an incapacitated Green Arrow, who was revealed earlier this week in Entertainment Weekly [Full story]. The image also marks the first official reveal of MKvsDCU alumni Green Lantern and The Joker, following creative director Ed Boon's not-so-subtle hints of two new character reveals the day before. Boon also shared the first screenshot of the two in action:

Green Lantern vs The Joker

Share your thoughts and discuss further Injustice reveals on the DC Universe Injustice Forum.

Green Arrow Joins Gods Among Us Cast in EW Exclusive
Entertainment Weekly Post Exclusive First-Look at Green Arrow in time for TV Launch!

DC Comics' emerald archer has joined the growing list of superheroes (and villains) coming to Injustice: Gods Among Us! In an exclusive first look, Entertainment Weekly revealed Green Arrow with one of the games' first character render images of the promotion [below].

Click For Full-Size Render Image

Green Arrow (aka; Oliver Queen) made his first appearance as a fresh-faced crime fighter in More Fun Comics#73 (1941). One of the many characters to spring up during the pre-war "Golden Age" of superhero comics, Green Arrow was essentially an archery themed Batman knock-off. With the Silver Age revamp of the fifties and sixties, Green Arrow became the first new addition to the classic Justice League of America line-up [in issue #4], complimenting the growth of a character coming into his own.

In creating Green Arrow for their 2013 fighting game, NetherRealm Studios appear to have stayed close to the nigh definitive Silver Age vision. This era saw the character grow a goatee and social awareness through classic stories by Denny O'Neil which tackled moral and ethical issues. These same changes led to an increasingly politicized character, whose left-wing leanings have at times complimented the convention of internal superhero friction!

As an expert archer and hand-to-hand combatant, Green Arrow's fighting game credentials are pretty self-explanatory. He was among the small handful of characters to appear in 1995's Justice League Task Force fighter, and is on the cusp of returning to television in the all new live-action series, Arrow (airing October 10). also feature a fresh gameplay trailer, showcasing some of GA's arrow slinging skills. Injustice: Gods Among Us arrives on home consoles April 2013.

Green Arrow was one of the most unanimously anticipated characters we ranked amongst our Top 10 Heroes We Want Among Us. Discuss the coming attractions and already confirmed details on the DC Universe Injustice forum.

Kommunity: MK Meets Miller in Classic Comic Book Mash-Up
Rusty Collins 1UP Games as Comics Art Features MK as Miller in Prints for Sale!

The collision of comic books and Mortal Kombat is pretty much par for the course, at this point! The heroes and villains of Mortal Kombat have battled their counterparts from the DC Universe; had their developers usurped by the same collective; and enjoy a long history of comic book references and appearances.

Comics had their place in the inspiration for the games, lending Mortal Kombat naturally to printed appearances in three official game tie-in books, and multiple series published by the now defunct Malibu Comics. Being acquired by the parent company of DC Comics hasn't brought MK back to the four-color medium just yet, but thanks to 1UP and Rusty Shackles, you can still buy yourself some comic-inspired MK artwork.

Part of 1UP's July Cover Story; Games as the Comics That Inspired Them realized video game icons as comic book superheroes, standing in for some of the biggest names in the most memorable covers of all-time.

While it's not necessarily true to say it was a literal inspiration, the martial-mania of Frank Miller's ninja-packed work on Daredevil is a fair analogy for Mortal Kombat's famous fighters! Hence the battle between Kitana and Mileena, taking the place of Marvel's Bullseye and Elektra in a recreation of 1982's Daredevil #181 [that's the one where a certain femme fatale gets impaled by a certain crackshot - Mick].

Rusty Shackles -- the artist responsible -- is now selling 12x18 poster-stock prints of the image for $15 (plus $5 postage). All of the mock covers created are available, but obviously our hearts lie with the DD/MK mash-up. Orders are only open to paypal purchases, additional information is available on Rusty's Tumblr.

Polygon's Michael McWhertor spotted an unknown Japanese artist's take on Quan Chi during a trip through Akihabra [full story]. Find more Mortal Kombat creations by the MKOmmunity-at-large by hitting up the Fan Submission forum!

In Konversation: Mortal Kombat Online vs John Tobias - Part 2
Mortal Kombat Co-Creator Discusses MK in other Media and the Second Half of his MK mythology!

By his own admission, the John Tobias of twenty years ago had no idea he was creating one of the most successful franchises to come out of American gaming. As a young artist in Chicago, Tobias had big ideas, envisioning a fiction that endures to this day (in some shape or form), but the journey to 1992's breakout hit -- Mortal Kombat -- would take more than ideas.

Together with Ed Boon, Tobias holds the credit of co-creator of Mortal Kombat -- an acknowledgment that goes beyond the arcade and home consoles, to result in a massive multi-media phenomenon spawned from ideas and characters!

In Part 1 of our conversation with John Tobias, he took us through some of the early influences that helped shape the series to follow. From abandoned name choices, props and influences, to movie references and guest stars, the games origins are there to scrutinize.

In this second part of our twentieth anniversary retrospective, we continue the conversation, entering the explosion of Mortal Kombat into other mediums, and addressing the final chapter of Tobias' time with the series before his departure in 1999.

Modern Prometheus: John Tobias confronts Goro - brought to life for the 1995 film.

[Mortal Kombat Online]: At this point, MK is in every conceivable realm of media -- including movies. What were your feelings toward the series leaving your hands and being reinterpreted for Hollywood?
[John Tobias]: We were always focused on the games so we missed some of that excitement. We got mostly good vibes from the folks working on the first film. We had to kind of keep faith in what they were doing, especially after the Street Fighter movie debacle.

I thought the first film did a lot of things right in capturing the mood of our games. I think that because of the way we told our story in the game, we created a real hunger in the player to see that story told in an expositional way and the best medium to do that is film. It was then, and it still is today. Nowadays, games choose to do that stuff in cutscene exposition and so I feel it kind of makes film adaptation redundant.

MK's relationship with media proved mixed after the first film. What did you make of the alternate version that permeated throughout Threshold Entertainment's use of the license?
I did follow and participate in the development of some of those things.

We tried to have a positive influence where we could, but ultimately we didn't own the direction of the finished products. It was fine when it worked and frustrating beyond comprehension when it did not.

With director Kevin Tancharoen, the movie version of the series took another harsh left turn. Did you see his "Rebirth" short and Legacy series? What did you think of it?
I thought that Rebirth was riveting as its own piece and appealed to a certain segment of MK's demographic, but in the end didn't feel like MK to me. Much of Legacy hit the mark much closer.

It's exciting to see what comes of it and how a future film develops. Ed tells me that Kevin is a true fan of the series and so I wish him the best of luck. It's an exciting time to be an MK fan.

"... Rebirth was riveting as its own piece and appealed to a certain segment of MK's demographic, but in the end didn't feel like MK to me."

Yet another version of MK was realised through Malibu comics, tangential to the comic book work you did. How do you think the comic book versions stacked up?
I honestly don't remember much about Malibu's comic series, except that I thought some of Patrick Rolo's cover work was outstanding.

Your official comic book tie-ins lasted until MK4. How important did you feel they were to expanding the mythology?
I think for a while they were the only place that a player could go to fill their need to learn more about the story from an expositional standpoint. The first comic was the springboard for the first film's story, so I think it played an important role. The comics gave me an outlet to tell story in a different way than we did in game.

Between the comic, MK4 and Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, the story was starting to become much more spread out, if not elaborate. What prompted the expansion and how far was it intended to go?
Looking back, I actually think I lost my way a bit in that era. I remember thinking that while I was writing the story for the MK4 comic. I had all of these ideas for the story I should've done for MK4 and thought I'd have an opportunity to tell them in some future iteration. Sadly that never happened and that story sits in my cobwebbed noggin.

A player in this era of MK was Quan Chi -- a character who has arguably proved the last to reach the status of the original cast. How was the character created?
Quan Chi was meant to fill a void vacated by Shang Tsung, and so I think he worked initially because he had that purpose in relation to the other characters in the story. But he was also a visual departure as well. I think I was listening to a lot of Nine Inch Nails when I drew him.

We all saw Quan Chi as a great character to cross promote between media.

In many ways, MK4 proved to be the end of an era. It was shortly after this you left. Over time, your departure has been painted as much less salacious than rumor would have it. What were the circumstances of your leaving MK and do you think it was the right move?
I was looking for the right opportunity to start a studio and the beginning of next generation console development looked like the best time to do that.

The industry environment was very different back then and it was the right move for me at the time, although in hindsight I would have handled the transition differently. Of course, I do miss playing with my box of toys.

Before your departure, you were attached to the second and most infamous spin-off, Mortal Kombat: Special Forces. How did that project come about and how deep into the process did you get before leaving?
The Sub-Zero game performed well enough that another spinoff made sense. Our difficulties in development had a lot to do with our ability to make the transition from coin-op to console development.

I don't remember too much about it, but I know the game needed a lot more work, and pushing its release back would've jeopardized our ability to hit the sweet spot for a next gen development deal. That created a difficult situation.

I'm not familiar with the finished product, so I don't know which characters were used and which weren't. I think the genre and style of what we were initially trying to do was done later in the Shaolin Monks game. It was great to finally see it done well

Tremor returned on PlayStation Vita earlier this year. [read more]

A Black Dragon member called Tremor appeared as a musclebound boss in MKSF. Can you tell us what the true origins of the character were?
I do remember having big plans for Tremor, but when I conceived him, he wasn't a member of the Black Dragon. He was a Lin Kuei hired as muscle by a mad man who was trying to open a gateway between Earth and Outworld.

Between MK3, MK4 and MKSF, your last contributions were all seemingly directed toward new areas of the fiction. Where do you think the series might have gone had it remained under your pen?
I knew exactly what I was going to do with a future story.
A few years ago I began studying film and story and began cranking out screenplays for practice and one of them was a sort of sequel to the first MK film and an advancement to the game's mythological roots. The goal was to not runaway from what came before with a retelling, but to move the themes forward. I did it for fun as an exercise in screenwriting, but it felt good to get that out of my system.

Have there been any elements since your departure that really stand-out to you?
I'm only vaguely familiar with the MK games of the last decade with the exception of the last two. I really like the revisiting of our old palette swapped characters like Ermac and Noob Saibot. It's great to see them get proper treatment.

Time travel, or something like it, officially entered the MK canon with the most recent game. If you could send a message to yourself twenty years ago, what would it be? Buy Apple stock.

Thank you very much for your time and your role in creating the twenty year legacy of Mortal Kombat.
You're welcome and thanks for the interview.

Thus concludes our conversation with John Tobias. We had hoped to spend more time talking to John, but as you'll know, news recently broke of his recruitment as Creative Director for Zynga San Diego [full story]. We will look forward to seeing what comes from Tobias in the future as he gets busy back in the development game! You can still read and comment on In Konversation Part 1, where we discussed the classics in greater detail.

Mortal Kombat Online must of course thank John Tobias for his time and insight. Share your nostalgia for the early days of MK in the Year of the Dragon MKOmmunity thread. Stay tuned to additional updates from around the web by following @MK_Online and liking us on Facebook.

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