Content tagged Brian Chard
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In Konversation: Brian Chard - Sound Designer & Writer

Way back in July, we learned resident Sound Designer Brian Chard would be parting ways with NetherRealm Studios.

For more than a decade, Chard has helped shape the worlds of Mortal Kombat through sound and spoken word. Since MK: Deception, he's been responsible for directing some of fandoms most combed moments. From Konquest Mode dialogues, to profound Mortal Kombat X Story Mode and Fight Intros -- Chard has helped give once silent arcade kombatants a voice.

Some months ago, Mortal Kombat Online contacted Mr. Chard to discuss Mortal Kombat X, his career at Midway and NetherRealm, and his recent departure from the developer. We're now pleased to present the complete conversation, which illuminates the development process, and Chard's candid thoughts on a variety of topics.

Speculation: Future of Non-Playable Characters In Doubt?

The future of non-playable character cameos in the Mortal Kombat series may be in doubt as the impact of persistent fan outcry within NetherRealm Studios comes to light.

Mortal Kombat X Sound Designer Brian Chard has been sharing his unique perspective with inquisitive fans, revealing aggressive interest in inaccessible fighters may have had a negative effect on the powers that be: "... [You] should know that those who complained about NPCs pretty much convinced Ed not to have em in future games."

When asked to clarify which types of NPC he believed are in danger, Chard pointed to in-game opponents and story mode cut scene cameos: "The impression I got was both, when it comes to potential roster chars (i.e., Outworld Soldier #2 is still safe)."

Both types of non-playable character drew significant attention from fans who've been trained to expect post-release additions through downloadable content channels. Remarkably, decisions relating to DLC have been largely disconnected from in-game appearances - an otherwise natural method for building anticipation for subsequent releases. Of the eight DLC characters, only one of each NPC type was included: Tanya, who appeared as an NPC opponent, and Bo' Rai Cho - a minor player in story FMVs.

Far from condemning his colleagues, Chard questions the quality of discourse from fans quick to attack the developer studio: "I think it's stupider of people who complained about them not being playable and called us lazy." With regards to characters who appear in NPC fights, he explains: "Just so everyone understands: It's a long way from fightable to playable." Characters who appear as NPCs may otherwise have missed out all together. On fan desire, Chard adds: "... it shows us how well received the original game was, which is nice."

"Lazy" has become an unfairly frequent catchall phrase for fans dissatisfied with perceived inconsistencies in the NetherRealm and Warner Brothers' approach. The substitution of personal preference in place of legitimate critique often downplays the work of artists and developers contributing to the marathon of a finished product. Malicious attacks and demands through social media - among the most egregious examples of fan ignorance.

Of course, no game is immune from criticism, and NPC kombatants have played an awkward role in the life of Mortal Kombat X. Invasion Mode appeared to suffer for the absence of existing and new character assets [read more]. Expectations for a character like Fujin: as much a consequence of the decision to reboot the series in 2011, as his consolation appearance in story mode sequences. Mortal Kombat X draws considerable inspiration from 1997's Mortal Kombat 4 - which introduced the character in a playable capacity.

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