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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.

In Konversation: Josh Tsui - Mortal Kombat & Insert Coin

If you don't know the name - you know the face. Former Midway Games developer Josh Tsui gave the second Sub-Zero identity in one of the series' earliest bombshell twists - his Mortal Kombat II arcade ending. Tsui later provided the basis for Mortal Kombat 4 Liu Kang, and has worked on the development of games including Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero and the ill fated 2000 third-person shooter: Mortal Kombat: Special Forces.

There was more than one version of the troubled Special Forces spin-off a limited few fans played at the turn of the millennium -- just one of the memories Tsui discussed with Mortal Kombat Online during a recent interview.

The retrospective is inspired by Insert Coin - a documentary project dedicated to the bustling arcade boom of Midway in the early nineties. Recently featured on MK Online, Tsui is seeking Kickstarter crowd funding for the project, which promises to unearth untold tales of Midway Games from the mouths of those who made them. Learn more about Insert Coin and consider joining Mortal Kombat Online in helping make it become a reality.

Kommunity: Full Mortal Kombat HD Q&A with Bleed

To users on Mortal Kombat Online he's known as Bleed: A long time contributor with a talent for developing characters in 3D models & 2D sprites [gallery].

To date; Gabriel "Bleed" Melendez has been noted as one of the driving forces behind a much discussed fan-made Mortal Kombat (1992) HD remake. His talents as a character artist have been exemplary, producing a professional level of content that has had fans salivating, and license owners justifiably concerned.

In the wake of Warner Brothers' intervention in "Mortal Kombat HD: Kommunity Edition" -- Melendez has become the voice of fate. A conduit through which a major corporation has made its presence known. When news of the shutdown spread, we talked to Bleed about what went down, and his general feelings about the project. You've read excerpts in the Saga of Mortal Kombat HD feature. Here is the unedited Q&A:

In Konversation: Mortal Kombat Online versus Matt Mullins!

It was the toke heard around the world, and for some, it immediately ingrained Matt Mullins as one of the best new finds for the Mortal Kombat movie universe.

His take was different, but that was true of the entire presentation in the short film called Mortal Kombat: Rebirth. It captured the imaginations of a vast many and led Mullins and his director to Mortal Kombat: Legacy -- a ten-part live-action series comissioned by WB for digital release.

When a second series of Legacy began filming at the end of 2012, we were surprised to learn Mullins would not be a part of it [original story]. Amidst the chaos of a new year and a filming schedule, we talked briefly with Mullins about his shock departure, Cage recasting, and his plans for the future. [Don't forget to watch Matt Mullins as Cage in Legacy Episode 3]

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.

Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A With Darren Shahlavi

Darren Shahlavi is Kano!With a career-defining role as British boxer "Twister" in the 2010 Hong Kong hit, Ip Man 2, Darren Shahlavi confirmed his status as the ultimate martial arts baddie you'll love to hate! A familiar face of film and television, the breakout fighting role made him a natural choice when Kevin Tancharoen was given license to bring MK back to live-action with the anthology webseries, Mortal Kombat: Legacy.

Appearing in three of the nine episodes; Darren Shahlavi will be remembered by Mortal Kombat fans as Kano -- the Black Dragon crook famous for killing Sonya Blade's partner and igniting one of the series' longest running blood feuds. Starring opposite Jeri Ryan (Sonya) and Michael Jai White (Jax); Shahlavi plays key to bringing the classic plot to life, injecting MK's original rogue with a fresh brand of delicious contemptibility.

The role proved to be Shahlavi's second brush with MK, one of the interesting facts he shared in this special interview with Mortal Kombat Online. With a Blu-Ray release coming November, MKO probed the actor for further insight into the role, the work, his history, the future, and which character he'd love to beat the snot out of.


[MKO]: How did you get involved with MK Legacy?
[Darren Shahlavi]: I got a message from Larnell Stoval, the fight choreographer, a few months earlier, saying he may want to get me in on something. Later, I heard they were doing Mortal Kombat as a web series, I asked my agent to look out for it, I also contacted Larnell, who knew about me. Kevin [Tancharoen; series Director] had seen Ip Man 2, where I play a rather brash British boxer, and they both thought I'd fit as Kano.

What is your background in martial arts and acting?
I started Judo when I was seven years old, and once I saw Bruce Lee, I was hooked on martial arts and films. I trained in everything and studied all the movies, too. I was most impressed with the Hong Kong films and when I was a teenager I took part in film fighting seminars, including one that [Ip Man star] Donnie Yen was doing in London, England. That gave me the confidence I could work in Asia as a bad guy, and by the time I was twenty, I was out there, working in film.

What was your impression of Mortal Kombat before Legacy?
I was very familiar with MK, mainly the movie and the soundtrack. I loved it. I trained to the music all the time. I didn't play the game much at all.

The first movie I ever did was a Hong Kong movie that starred Robin Shou a few years before he was Liu Kang. We met each other again in Hong Kong in a bar and he told me all about the filming of Mortal Kombat and showed me pics from the shoot in Thailand. I also visited him on the set of Annihilation in London. He said he could get me a small part in it, but at the time I'd just got a lead role in a martial arts movie called Bloodmoon, where I fought Hakim Alston, the guy who Robin fights with bo staff in MK1.

Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Shane Jones!

Programmed to Fight -- Cyrax as he appears in Mortal Kombat: Legacy!Comic-Con International 2011 runs July 20-24 and it's there that -- after a month a half's wait -- fans will finally get their chance to glimpse the long awaited ninth episode of Mortal Kombat: Legacy!

Featuring a surprise spotlight on Cyrax [pictured right] and Sektor; the episode will tell the tale of Lin Kuei warriors fated to become unfeeling, mechanized weapons. With a design borrowed from the latest Mortal Kombat video game, the episode speaks directly to fans, spotlighting the MK3 additions in a curious close to a series that featured mainstream icons like; Sonya (Jeri Ryan), Jax (Michael Jai White), Scorpion (Ian Anthony Dale), Raiden (Ryan Robbins), and more.

The unexpected delay in schedule already has many speculating about what lies ahead at Comic-Con, which has become one of the most reported launching pads for new and existing projects. With an uncensored BluRay release already on the cards, possibilities of a television expansion, or feature film, remain open.

In anticipation of the episode and the series' conclusion, Mortal Kombat Online took the opportunity to talk to Shane Warren Jones before he officially becomes a cyborg assassin. The actor stars in dual roles as both Cyrax and lesser known Malibu Comics creation, Hydro. MKO probed him for more on that surprising twist, as well as his experiences with the series and hopes for the future.

[MKO]: How did you first get involved with MK Legacy?
[Shane Warren Jones]: Well, I first heard about it when a couple friends of mine had worked on the MK: Rebirth pitch. I literally got an audition a week before shooting started and flew out the following weekend for a fitting and two days later we began shooting.

It seems to be a role that demands a lot of physicality. What kind of background do you have?
The physical background I have is in dance and martial arts. I've studied kung-hu for a few years and dance all through high school/college. I started training at a gym called White Lotus Martial Arts in Los Angeles about three years ago, and have been studying a sport called Tricking ever since. It's a good work out.

As an actor/martial artist, which skills have been most stretched by MK Legacy?
Definitely the martial arts aspect.

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