News Archive - February, 2022
Ed Boon Teases Next Project Will 'Make Sense'
Confirms break in Injustice sequence.

Series co-creator Ed Boon has been honored for his historic pop culture and video game achievements at the DICE Awards, but it's the Hall of Famer's future work that has everybody talking after an interview with the NetherRealm Studios Chief Creative Officer. Read on for details:

Gameinformer conducted an interview prior to the induction in Las Vegas, revisiting Boon's storied career from programming pinball machines, to adapting the franchise he helped create to various blockbuster multimedia formats.

When asked what NetherRealm Studios is brewing next: Boon acknowledged a change of pace for the developer, who for the last decade has alternated between Mortal Kombat and Injustice games, but will eschew a third DC fighter in favour of something that will 'make a lot of sense'. Read the full response below:

I can say that for 10 years, we were releasing Mortal Kombat and Injustice, Mortal Kombat and Injustice. When we broke that pattern, there was a lot of speculation of what we would be doing next. I can tell you there was a reason for it, and when we announce our next game, it’ll make a lot more sense. At this point, I’ll get in a lot of trouble if I say anything more.

Rumors began circulating last August when Giant Bomb reported the developer would follow Mortal Kombat 11 with another installment in the long running franchise. Information accidentally made available to the public by the GeForce Now gaming service revealed placeholders for MK and Injustice both, including "Mortal Kombat XII".

NetherRealm announced a conclusion to MK11 post-release downloadable content last July, having released their next generation console focused capper: Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate. The title has ranked among the best selling sequels in the thirty-year history of the series.

That may be one reason for prioritizing a prospective Mortal Kombat sequel, but it would also "make a lot more sense" if it turns out the publisher is aiming to celebrate the upcoming 30th Anniversary of the first Mortal Kombat with a brand new entry.

[Related Article: MK30: The Creation of Scorpion's Mortal Kombat Spear]

Senior Production Manager Jonathan Andersen ignited a wildfire of speculation when he shared a photo of MK and Injustice concept art on his workdesk, but there has been little indication of a crossover between the developer's two fighting game series, with most eagle-eyed fans honing in on "MK12" teasers. Boon deemed an MK vs DC Universe sequel unlikely in 2016, and nixed fan speculation in the lead-up to MK11.

Characters from the respective games have made crossover appearances as downloadable content, with The Joker representing DC fighters in Mortal Kombat 11, and Sub-Zero and Raiden finding their way into Injustice 2.

An Injustice sequel seems to definitively be off the table. What do you think the next project will be? What do you hope to see? Tell us in the comments below and go deeper into speculation in the Future MK forum!

Editorial: Mortal Kombat and Teasing Sequels with DLC
Could MK borrow from Street Fighter 6?

Capcom has announced the impending arrival of Street Fighter 6 with a teaser trailer that quietly spotlights two main characters. One is an enduring icon and stalwart of the series, while the other represents a fighting game "first" that could prove to be a minor industry gamechanger. Lets take a look at what it could mean for Mortal Kombat:

Luke Sullivan is a former soldier turned MMA fighter who seems poised to be Street Fighter's newest protagonist, but Street Fighter 6 won't be his actual debut. That came four months ago, when Street Fighter V concluded its lengthy Champion Edition downloadable content cycle with the introduction of the final new fighter.

NetherRealm Studios has been at the forefront of providing additional downloadable characters to their fighting games ever since the first Season Pass was announced for the 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot.

From that modest four character expansion has grown a boutique industry, blossoming most recently into Mortal Kombat 11's thirteen DLC characters across four release waves, including pre-order incentive, and Ultimate next gen release. Despite an earlier than expected end - it remains the biggest offering from the developer to date.

Key to Mortal Kombat's success has been striking the right balance between a satisfying base game, and post-release content that feels substantial enough to meet varying degrees of fan interest, without appearing cravenly exploitative.

Franchise crossover characters have consistently rated among the highest sellers, seeing pop culture icons as unlikely as John Rambo and Leatherface find their way into the MK arena. Even NetherRealm's DC Comics inspired fighting series Injustice has found ways to incorporate guests from unrelated properties -- an increasingly popular business formula that leverages the novelty and built-in interest of existing brands.

Although Street Fighter has long been recruiting from in-universe sister franchises like Final Fight and Rival Schools, the series is yet to muddy the waters with outright guests away from its popular pioneering Versus titles. Instead, DLC seasons have strengthened the home brand by answering fan demand for popular characters, and experimenting with new creations.

On the face of things Luke seems like any ordinary new Street Fighter character, but the final SFV DLC announcement came with the added promise of a much-hyped future. Director Takayuki Nakayama remarked during the Capcom Summer Update reveal: "... he will be expanding the world of SF. Street Fighter 5 has been developed to pay homage to the past, but Luke will give us a glimpse into the future."

Although not explicitly stated as such, Luke became a playable teaser for the future of the franchise, hyping up what we now know to be the upcoming sequel, while also extending the playable lifespan of the 2016 game with its fifth season of DLC. Commerce with a grand transitional design and creative purpose.

To this end, Luke exists somewhere between Mortal Kombat's historic attempts to introduce a new lead protagonist, such as Shujinko or Taven, and story-driven cliffhangers like Deadly Alliance's Dragon King references, or the MK4 expectant Shinnok epilogue in the 2011 reboot. The latter being something fans could chew on between games, while the former was rejected in its presumptive abruptness.

Alternatively, we might look at Mortal Kombat's most esoteric DLC inclusions, 2011 newcomer Skarlet and the MKX revamped Tremor, and wonder what might've been possible had their inclusion led to something of consequence in a sequel -- or even just a follow-up appearance.

What if Geras could've been a mysterious parting shot in MKX DLC, or Cassie Cage a lingering flash forward to ponder once MK2011 wrapped its Komplete Edition? Perhaps both would've been elevated by the years fans spent expecting them and their veiled purpose in the overarching plot of the games that ultimately introduced them. Perhaps Cassie's defeat of Shinnok would've gone down better with a game under her belt.

Luke was profiled with Street Fighter V's character-specific story modes, fleshing out his backstory as a childhood survivor of a mall bombing who joined the military to fight terrorism, and honor his father's sacrifice. His connections with the universe were established, but his future as an MMA fighter in SF6 remains open-ended. A similar, introductory focus could be applied in MK.

A second story mode offered with MK11 Aftermath was itself a gamechanger for addressing experienced in-fiction context of DLC characters who otherwise had none, but as we await the next big project from NetherRealm Studios with little to guide us, we can see how DLC might become a creative and promotional bridge between future games, enhancing both in the process.

The potential for DLC continues to push fighting game development towards a more fluid state, flowing from one sequel to the next. The potential for the technology to be more than a medium for straight forward digital manufacturing and sales remains an interesting one, with many untapped applications.

In the last decade the wait between sequels hasn't been insigifnicant, with NetherRealm dividing their efforts between two franchises. Committing to a major protagonist so far in advance could be seen as creatively restrictive, but the benefit of planting that flag, apart from putting something substantial in the hands of players, is sculpting the speculative fan narrative towards something deliberate, and productive.

Rumors persist that NetherRealm's next project will be a Mortal Kombat sequel, which would be the exact conditions where one last MK11 character could be inserted with similar intent to the Capcom development.

Award winning story modes and successful DLC of recent Mortal Kombat games appeared to have some influence on the development of Street Fighter V. If the inclusion of Luke in Street Fighter 6 proves successful, particularly as a creative venture, then maybe MK will have something in turn to learn from its old arcade rival, as well.

[Related Article: Mortal Kombat 11 Crossover Rejected By Street Fighter Developer]

What do you think about Luke and the concept of DLC characters promoting a future sequel? Would you like to see more DLC and new characters in the next Mortal Kombat? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, and find & discuss more speculation in the Future MK forum!

User Poll
Top Kombatant for MultiVersus?
28.6%
Goro
23.2%
Scorpion
12.5%
Liu Kang
10.7%
Other
8.9%
Kitana
7.1%
Raiden
7.1%
Sub-Zero
1.8%
Shao Kahn