News Archive - June, 2009
Michael Jackson and Mortal Kombat?

It seemed that Michael Jackson, like so many celebrities, was a gamer in his spare time. The untimely passing of the legendary King of Pop has sparked a great interest into his life and times, and among the revelations included was his love for video games, including Mortal Kombat:

Jackson: "It makes people do strange things. A lot of our famous luminaries become intoxicated because of it - they can't handle it. And your adrenaline is at the zenith of the universe after a concert - you can't sleep. It's maybe two in the morning and you're wide awake. After coming off stage, you're floating.''

Theroux: "How do you handle that?''

"I watch cartoons. I love cartoons. I play video games. Sometimes I read.''

"You mean you read books?''

"Yeah. I love to read short stories and everything.''

"Any in particular?''

"Somerset Maugham,'' he said quickly, and then, pausing at each name: "Whitman. Hemingway. Twain.''

"What about those video games?''

"I love X-Man. Pinball. Jurassic Park. The martial arts ones - Mortal Kombat.''

Jackson also apparently took some of his games on tour with him, by use of two cargo planes that always went with him. To read more about the story at Kotaku, click here.

Thanks to forum member for the lead on this story.

Warner Bros. Officially Wins Bid For Midway

Earlier today, multimedia conglomerate Warner Bros. emerged as the sole bidder on struggling video game developer and publisher Midway, therefore winning by default, LA Times reports:

After Warner Bros. lobbed its offer in May, Midway had hoped to spark a bidding war that would jack up the price. A Chicago investment group and several game publishers had been kicking the tires at Midway, according to a source familiar with the discussions. But none pulled the trigger on a deal.

"No other bids came in, so there's not going to be an auction," confirmed Midway's spokesman, Geoff Mogilner.

As reported earlier however, several complaints including one from Larry Kasanoff of Threshold Entertainment must be resolved before the sale is final. These hearings will begin on July 1st, 2009. Warner Bros. will then absorb many of Midway's assets, including the Mortal Kombat series and the Chicago studios which develop it.

To read the article in full, click here. We will keep you posted on the progress of this sale as the information becomes available early next month.

Mortal Kombat Film Producer Sues Over MK IP Rights

With Midway in the throes of Chapter 11 and a possible buyout from Warner Bros. looming, another player in the drama is making his voice heard. According to GamePolitics, Larry Kasanoff, the producer of the two Mortal Kombat films and owner of Threshold Entertainment, is suing Midway to preserve his IP rights, including copyrights to certain characters and the right to make derivative projects such as films and television series. From the news article:

Kasanoff claims that it was he who made Mortal Kombat more than just a video game:

In 1993, Kasanoff visited Midway... with an idea to launch the Mortal Kombat concept in a totally new direction. Specifically, Kasanoff proposed to develop... a full feature-length motion picture, a television series, and other productions. Midway was initially skeptical, as Kasanoff's idea was revolutionary at the time...

The Mortal Kombat series, as it stands today, is far more a creation of Threshold and Kasanoff than of Midway. Midway's creative input was almost entirely limited to the videogames. On their own, the videogames provided only minimal back-story and mythology, and only flat, "stock" characters... Kasanoff and Threshold were responsible for virtually all of the creative input that went into turning the videogame concept into a multimedia enterprise.

In his lawsuit, Kasanoff also claims credit for making MK characters like Liu Kang, Sonya Blade and Scorpion into recognizable names. The suit estimates that the franchise has grossed more than $4 billion over the years.

In petitioning the Bankruptcy Court, Kasanoff seeks to block the proposed sale of Mortal Kombat assets to Warner Bros.

It is unclear how Kasanoff arrived at his claim, however. Mortal Kombat was already a household name and the characters of Scorpion (with his "get over here!" catchphrase) were well known to the public. In addition, Midway themselves provided a great deal of backstory to the games in the form of comic books and in-game biographies. In fact, the only element from the movies and TV series to become part of the canon Mortal Kombat mythos is the character of Quan Chi, who premiered in the animated series Defenders of the Realm. Threshold itself has not been seen as a player in the Mortal Kombat franchise since 1999, when Mortal Kombat Conquest ended its run. While rumors of a third film have been floating around for years, nothing concrete has been seen, while several games from Midway have worked to expand the game mythos and history. In addition, with a couple of notable exceptions, the website run by Threshold has been virtually abandoned for years.

We'll be keeping an eye on this story; as we learn more, we'll be sure to report it here.

To read GamePolitics's story on this lawsuit (complete with Kasanoff's full complaint), click here.

Our thanks to forum/chat member for the heads-up about this news story!

Dan Forden Returns to Work on Mortal Kombat 9!

Once again, on Ed Boon's Twitter, Ed posted a new bit of information concerning the upcoming yet-to-be-named Mortal Kombat 9. In response to a user named TStockley, Ed revealed that Dan "Toasty" Forden would be returning to do the music for the latest MK installment. From their Twitters:

TStockley: @noobde What kind of soundtrack are you goin for this time? I'm kinda hoping for something with alot more guitar riffs ^_^

noobde: I'm psyched cuz Dan Forden is returning to do tunes for MK9.

For those who aren't aware, Dan Forden did the music for the first several Mortal Kombat games, and became famous for his cameos in the game, appearing at the corner of the screen and shouting "Toasty!" recognizing a well-placed attack. Around the time of Deadly Alliance, Dan became the head of Midway's audio department, and the game music was developed by multiple musicians. Dan's return to MK can be another sign, like the announcement of a desire for an M-rating, that the next game is a return to the series' roots.

To read Ed's Twitter, click here.

Our thanks to forum/chat member for the heads-up on this announcement!

Megan Fox: Badass at Mortal Kombat?

While this may not normally be considered big Mortal Kombat news, the site What They Play recently posted an interview with actress Megan Fox, best known as the character of Mikaela Barnes in both Transformers movies. In the interview, one of the first questions she is asked is what games she is good at, and surprisingly the first answer that comes to mind is Mortal Kombat! From the interview:

What videogames did you like playing growing up?

Megan Fox: My first gaming console was the Super Nintendo when I was about nine, and my first game was Aladdin. I remember playing that as a wee child. I've always really loved video games. Some of them, unfortunately, I'm not very good at playing, but some of them I'm kind of a badass at.

So which games are you badass at?

Megan Fox: Anything Mortal Kombat. I have that down and I don't cheat. That game just works well with my brain. The way my brain fires signals works well with how that game works. And I'm just really good.

And you memorized all the Fatality moves?

Megan Fox: Most of them. Not all of them. The Mortal Kombat that just came out (Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe), I hated playing as Superman. His combos were so weird. I don't know, I just thought it was lame.

So you're a big fan of the fighting games?

Megan Fox: Yeah.

What have you played recently?

Megan Fox: Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe. And I also like to go back to a game called Viva Pinata every once in a while, which is really embarrassing. But it's kind of addicting. You're nursing this garden of piƱatas and it's a lot of fun.

The interview also says that she plays online, when asking if she's ever played Shia LeBoeuf online, so who knows... the next stranger you fight online in MK may be her!

To read the interview with Megan Fox in its entirety, click here.

Our thanks to Dan Amrich of Official Xbox Magazine for the heads-up about this interview!

Ed Boons Twitter Hints at M-Rated Mortal Kombat?

Among the many people to have Twitter accounts is Mortal Kombat series co-creator and team lead Ed Boon. While Ed normally does not post much work-related on his Twitter account, today he posted some information indicating they were working on the next Mortal Kombat game, specifically, working on motion-capture, especially where fatalities were concerned. More, Ed specifically stated that they would be pushing for an M rating for this game. From his Twitter account:

  • Motion capturing special moves & fatalities today....they are kind of sick !!
  • Carlos & Rick O. doin some kool fatalities. I hope we aren't taking these too far. :(
  • @McCarron U r absolutely right. People want an M-rated MK....dammit we will give them an M-rated MK.
  • still...they are sick. :\

Meanwhile, Midway is still staying somewhat quiet about the game itself; this is normal, however, as Midway typically does not announce details of new MK games until the spring before the game's release. As we learn more, we'll be sure to post it here.

To see Ed's Twitter feed, click here.

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