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In Konversation: Mortal Kombat Online vs John Tobias - Part 2

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.

In Konversation: Mortal Kombat Online vs John Tobias - Part 1

According to the traditions of the Chinese calendar, 2012 is determined the current Year of the Dragon. If impressions are anything to go by, it was purely serendipity that made this the perfect date for the twentieth anniversary of a series so widely identified by its iconic Dragon Logo.

The origin of the Dragon Logo symbol was just one of the topics covered when Mortal Kombat Online entered in to a conversation with a man whose legacy now far exceeds his time with the Mortal Kombat franchise.

It has become tradition for Mortal Kombat Online interviews to begin with the simple question of, in their own words, who the subject is. In the case of John Tobias, introductions are hardly needed. Together with Ed Boon, Tobias is credited as being the co-creator of Mortal Kombat -- a video game dynasty that dominated arcades until their eventual demise at the turn of the millenium, and continues to rule on home consoles.

As the man responsible for creating the original characters (and premise) that have populated Mortal Kombat in its every iteration, the influence of John Tobias is felt throughout the series -- even in the latest game, which set out to reboot the franchise by rewriting its history.

Join us in returning to the original source as John Tobias discusses Mortal Kombat's origins. In Part 1, we review how the series got its start, the names and faces that nearly led it down a different path, and the impact and legacy the original games have had.

From Sprite to Screen: The Making of a Shokan Prince

When Mortal Kombat began the journey from sprites to silver screen, production faced a slew of challenges at every conceivable level. As documented by the book Generation Xbox: How Video Games Invaded Hollywood, the obstacles began with the mere idea of a Mortal Kombat movie [full story]. Once greenlit; the realization of iconic, fantastical creatures and abilities from the games would push the makers to devise practical solutions.

Shogun Gamer Interviews Vincent Proce
It looks like Ian Fisher over at Shogun Gamer has conducted an exclusive interview with Vincent Proce, former Midway employee and the artistic genius behind the MK reboot art showed in an earlier update. A selection of questions from the interview:
Ian Fisher: What was the main inspiration behind the MK reboot concept art you did? Was there anything in particular like a film or comic that inspired you to take that direction or was it all natural and pure brilliance on your end?

Vincent Proce: Mortal Kombat is a part of history. The MK team is a pretty tight knit group and they have been very successful doing what they do with the MK franchise. I didn’t want to mess with that machine even if I could. Besides, there really wasn’t any opportunity to innovate within that group. So in my pitch I figured I would just take a completely new perspective on the game as a whole.

I had a burning desire to redesign the characters for a long time and finally, I just did it. I looked at it as an alternate view of the same universe, sort of like what the Marvels Ultimate Universe is within Marvels multiverse. I also wanted to reinvent the fighting game genre to possibly expand the MK fan base. I took the characters the way they originally appeared in MK 1. Their color, silhouette and weapons are essentially the same (with a few more deadly weapons added of course) and just redrew them the way I saw them in my head.

Ian Fisher: If Midway were to develop a new Mortal Kombat game, what would you focus on or change from previous installments?

Vincent Proce: I would make a spin off universe that reboots the entire franchise into a different branch. Everything would be rethought and adjusted, from how the arenas are laid out to how the fight mechanic works in relation to the controllers, to the back story of all the characters.
To read the interview in its entirety, click here.
Ed Boon On Twitter!

Recently, Mortal Kombat series co-creator and project lead Ed Boon has been bitten by the Twitter bug. Due to Ed's plentiful updates with Mortal Kombat information as well as images, this thread is being created to house all the material in one, convenient location for the fans to easily access. With each new image added, this topic will be edited accordingly. When new additions are made to this news lead, it will be moved to the top of the thread listings. The most recent change will be listed first, while older material will be categorized by type and date originally released. Also, be sure to follow Ed Boon on Twitter yourself!

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