Later this year Mortal Kombat will celebrate its 30th Anniversary and series co-creator Ed Boon is dipping into his personal archive to share incredible moments from the 1991 development of the original game. This time he reveals a crucial moment in the creation of Sub-Zero. Watch:
The latest "fly on the wall" clip shows live-action actor Daniel Pesina receiving direction from Boon & Tobias as they search for a stance that will distinguish Sub-Zero from his arch-rival Scorpion. The process, which used palette swapping to convert the yellow ninja costume to blue, sees the team experiment with several positions before settling upon Sub-Zero's open handed approach.
Palette swapping sprites famously allowed the developers to economically generate two characters, with the unique fighting stance creating the impression of a distinct second character for the price of just 7 frames of animation. In finding the right pose, they needed to make sure it would work with the same punches & kicks used by Scorpion.
Since we thought of the idea during the shoot, the next step was to come up with a unique fighting stance for each ninja. They had to be different (to stand apart) but still work with all the attacks (punches and kicks) the two ninjas shared.— Ed Boon (@noobde) March 10, 2022
The improvisational element of designing the finished sprites was evident in previous footage that showed the creation of Scorpion's iconic spear, and Boon notes "... how spontaneous our decisions had to be, based on what we were seeing right at that moment. John suggesting that Scorpion spin his fists. Me suggesting Sub-zero tuck his hand to his chest and sway back & forth."
The footage shows several fight poses not used and the AIAS Hall of Famer has teased reveal more from the 1991 cutting room floor. What would you like to see from the making of the first game? Share your thoughts in the comments below and find & discuss more in the 2D Kombat Klassics forum.